Column by Russ Kent: Sadly, we still need protection from ourselves


I hope the predictions are wrong, but I have a feeling this pandemic will be much worse in Ohio than is expected.

There will be more illness and more death that the experts think, but hopefully not in Ohio.

So many unknowns to make predictions anything but unreliable.

Thus far, the predictions have been much worse than any of the experts expected.

What I do know is that the number of people affected by this virus can be lessened — it already has been reduced in Ohio — if we do what we’re told.

Perhaps the severity of symptoms for specific patients won’t decrease, but I’m certain the numbers of those affected can be lessened even if we follow the restrictions put in place by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Health Director Amy Acton.

That’s a big if.

I applaud DeWine and Acton for their roles in getting so many Ohioans to stay at home.

What frightens is that not all states have made put in place similar orders.

And not all Ohioans see the need for the stay-at-home orders, or the serious of COVID-19.

Weeks ago, I applauded NBA commissioner Adam Silver for shutting down play in that league immediately after its first player received a positive coronavirus diagnosis. Someone had to be first. Silver took steps immediately, despite the money it is going to cost his league.

He set the bar extremely high.

And others soon followed. The NCAA canceled the rest of season. There was no champion crowned Monday night. Soccer, Major League Baseball, hockey, the PGA and the USGA, and even the NFL have pretty much shut down until this crisis passes. Wimbledon was cancelled for 2020 and the 2020 Olympics are — for now — postponed until 2020,

Sadly, state politics don’t work as well as politics in professional sports.

DeWine was way ahead of the game in shutting down Ohio. And for that reason, many lives in Ohio are going to be saved.

Still, as I look back, Ohioans didn’t react well enough.

While most did as instructed, many didn’t, despite the fact the first order was not that painless or that hard to adjust to.

Still, that stay-at-home order has caused a lot hurt.

School districts are still figuring how to proceed.

Small businesses are struggling.

Large businesses are hurting.

But it could be worse.

Ohioans are not struggling as much as others across of the nation.

We’re better off than many, because Ohio leaders recognized the seriousness of this coronavirus.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t shut down anything in his city until too late. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also was late to the game. Now, thousands are dead in New York, New Jersey is doing its best to catch up. Could de Blasio and Cuomo have been more decisive earlier, certainly. But they did not. And they share a big part of the blame for what’s going on in that part of the nation.

But they blame the U.S. government for everything that has gone wrong.

Among other things, those in charge in Florida refused to cancel spring break. Tens of thousands of fool-hardy — perhaps ignorant — college students descended on Florida beaches. And now … weeks too late … Florida is trying to keep others out of the Sunshine State.

Louisiana failed to shut down Mardi Gras celebrations. That choice has a lot to do with why Louisiana natives are dying in such great numbers.

Who knows how bad it will get in California. I fear it won’t be pretty.

The Ohio Legislature and the U.S. Congress are taking steps to lessen the effects of this crisis by making money available to keep workers on he payroll and stop small businesses from folding.

Will it be enough? Probably not. But it’s better than nothing.

It is not the government’s job to provide every American with 100 percent relief from a catastrophe.

That’s not possible.

The government’s job is to lend us a helping hand when needed.

But we have to make the effort to take care of ourselves.

We all share some responsibility for not doing more to prepare for this kind of crisis.

Too many of us live paycheck to paycheck.

We don’t save enough.

Many have become used to being baled out.

we don’t save because we can’t afford to save.

We don’t save enough because we don’t want to.

Or we think we don’t have to.

We all are spoiled, too used to not having to provide for ourselves when times are bad.

The fact the first that disappeared from store shelves was toilet paper says a lot about how well we live.

It wasn’t milk, or bread, or medicine and first-aid supplies that ran out.

We bought and horded every roll of toilet paper in the nation.

It would be laughable if is wasn’t so sad.

We’re convinced we’re smarter than all the experts who study flu for a living.

As recently as Tuesday, on social media, I have see seemingly bright people, who I know and love and respect, re-tweeting and sharing and re-posting comments that imply this virus crisis is no worse than the flu we see each every year.

Some think media and the government are making too much of this global pandemic.

I’m thankful DeWine and Acton stepped up to the plate so early and made the decision to shut down classroom learning in Ohio schools and colleges. I’m glad they closed non-essential businesses as early as they did. I’m glad there are more strict rules and regulations in place as of Monday in Ohio.

They did what they had to do. Because we’re often not smart enough to take care of ourselves.

Thankfully, someone else was.

And that’s why Ohio is doing much better than a lot of states.

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Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com

Email Russ Kent at rkent@aimmediamidwest.com