Opinion column: Unanswered questions lead to uncertainty, stress


The unknown can be scary.

And that’s the most frustrating thing about trying to figure out this coronavirus.

We keep getting mixed message … from the president, from his staff, from health care ‘experts’, from the media and those who say they are members of the media.

Is the death rate 2 percent, 5 percent or .5 percent.

Am I more at-risk than the average 60-year-old overweight Ohioan.

Or not?

I don’t know. I’m uncertain about a lot of things these days.

I already don’t like crowds. I like them less and less as I get older. And I’m beginning to loathe the thought of big crowds even more as discussions ramp up about cancelling professional sporting events and concerts in the wake of the coronavirus.

Now there is a recommendation that senior citizens don’t fly. Or is there? I’ve heard conflicting reports on that seemingly simple warning while watching and reading and listening to the news.

It’s all very confusing.

I saw an online headline that said “All military banned from flying.” I thought ‘that’s pretty serious.’ Then the subhead beneath and in smaller print said that only the Korean peninsula is off limits to flying military personnel.

As of yet, I’ve not changed my life one bit based on COVID-19, although I do find myself counting to 20 each time I was my hands.

Bit I do get a little more perturbed when I go to Meijer or Kroger or WalMart and there are no wipes to cleanse my cart before I walk through the aisles … filled with other shoppers I scan for signs of sickness. You know — red eyes; red, runny noses; coughing; sweat pouring off over-heated foreheads — the usual stuff I look for when I’m out among the folk who live in Galion and beyond.

There are lots of unanswered questions.

My left hand is a pretty sore. I can’t make a fist. Is that arthritis? Did I hurt it cleaning out an over-loaded box of cat litter? Did I rely on that hand too much to help me stand up after I screwed up my back last week?

Or is a sore left hand another sign of this virus, that has not yet been announced?

I don’t know the answer. And that’s kind of scary.

A couple years ago I purchased a quart bottle of sanitizer and put it in my truck. I checked for it yesterday. It’s still there … under the passenger seat of my truck, where it got wedged a few days after I bought it. If things get any more frightening, I’ll have to find a crowbar and try to retrieve that bottle.

Does sanitizer become less effect with age?

Answer that for me CBS News.

They still had plenty of sanitizer at Meijer last week. There has been a bit of a run on facial tissues. I discovered that fact while doing a little shopping for dad. However, I, like most people I know, use a roll of toilet paper to blow and wipe my nose. It’s more economical, even if you buy the really soft stuff.

For now, I’ve not heard of any TP runs.

Senior citizens are more susceptible to this coronavirus.

I just turned 60? I’m in OK health. But, am I a senior citizen. I am a proud holder of a Golden Buckeye Card, or whatever that’s called now. And AARP has been sending me junk mail for what seems like 15 years.

Meanwhile, at some golf courses, I’m not a senior citizen until I hit 65. Those gold-colored tee markers are still just a fantasy for me.

So, am I a senior citizen?

I don’t know that answer, either. And it frightens me.

I don’t know whether to be worried or more cautious about going out.

Should I become a shut-in? Should I go ahead and get tickets for the big country jam at Ohio State this summer? I’ve been putting off seeing Crystal Bowersox. Is she safe to see?

I understand this virus doesn’t stand up well to alcohol.

Does that mean bars and taverns are OK to visit?

Another unanswered question.

What about movie theaters or a Cleveland Indians game? They still have pretty good crowds in Cleveland now and then. Don’t they?

I recently joined the world of Internet TV. I’ve become one of the uninformed millions who binge-watch new shows or spend hours watching reruns of “Green Acres” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

So …. when are they going to launch reruns of Gilligan’s Island?

Another unanswered question.

But this one worries me nightly as I try to sleep.

I need to watch more news shows. But you have to make an effort to search for news these days. I typically listen to sports radio. But I find myself hunting for news more often.

It’s not as easy as you’d think.

I get CBS News on my TV, but at certain times of the day even it is airing reruns. If I’m in front of the TV, I try to tune in on the big hours: 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. I also work for a news organization, so I see a lot of news reports on the screen of my laptop. I get hourly updates about the coronavirus in my inbox.

On a daily basis I search out what is being reported on cnn.com, msnbc.com and foxnews.com. After hearing the gloom and doom report on those three networks, I try to average it all out in my head to come up with something close to the truth.

I guess accuracy is what I’m after when it comes to COVID-19.

Accuracy is good. Consistency is good.

Unknown and inconsistent are not helpful.

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Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com