COVID fears bring out the worst in US


When word of the arrival of Covid-19 was made public, many pepple went into hoard mode and emptied store shelves of toilet paper and other essentials.

Ramzee Parten

Right at this very moment the world is under a crisis, and it has a horrible name – COVID-19, the coronavirus. This virus is affecting everything and everyone. When it first started, many doubted it would ever reach American shores, but then people started getting sick fast and dying. That’s when people started to get scared and go into panic mode. And that’s when people began to get ugly.

So what is COVID-19? It’s a disease caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019. It is a novel coronavirus. “Novel” means new, and “corona” means halo, which is what you see when you look at the virus under a microscope.

According to, COVID-19 symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath, muscle aches, sore throat, unexplained loss of taste or smell, diarrhea and headache. COVID-19 can be severe and can cause death, especially in the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. There is currently no vaccine available for this virus.

As the virus began to spread across the country, people started to panic. Even before there was a reported case in Wyoming, people started stocking up on food and toilet paper. Local stores were unprepared for the panic, and store shelves were quickly stripped bare. Hand sanitizer, paper towels, toilet paper, disinfectant and cleaning supplies disappeared overnight. A quick search of the internet found a case of toilet paper going for $300-$400. Sanitizing wipes were completely unavailable.

Wandering into the stores, it wasn’t hard to realize older people would be the ones to suffer. Not only are they more vulnerable to the virus, but they seemed to be the least prepared. While the general public quickly donned facemasks to protect themselves, the elderly continued to walk around with no protection. Many of them were frightened because they didn’t really know what was going on.

I was at Walmart one day when things first started getting bad. I was in line, waiting for toilet paper, and a man in front of me kept looking around at all the people entering the line, and his phone kept ringing. I thought he didn’t hear it, so I gently patted him on the shoulder told him his phone was ringing. He turned to me and said, “Yeah, I know. They’re text messages. I’m part of a biker organization, and we met with this family at 10:00 this morning and they’re in need of food and supplies.” After the man told me his story, he started to get emotional and choked up. This brief meeting said all that is right, and wrong, with humankind. While many of us do all we can to help those in need, others are busy buying 500 rolls of toilet paper.

Change is a big thing during this virus. Social distancing keeps us suspicious of everyone. Nurses and doctors, the very people in charge of our health, are finding themselves with 104-degree temperatures, and some are finding themselves facing death. Students are forced to work from home, as mom and dad lose their jobs to a crashing economy. Even high school seniors can’t escape the grief as school districts cancel proms and, likely, graduation ceremonies.

So, how do we respond? That’s the biggest question. If we’re to overcome this virus, and keep our sanity during the battle, we must work together, stay together, and help one another. There are commercials on TV everyday about how we should come together and love one another. It’s true. It’s not enough to just social distance. We also need to find ways to come together. We need to cheer on the grade school car parades, take a moment for those video chats, and build compassion and understanding for our friends, family and community. We are all humans going through the same situation, and we need to reach out with hearts and hands to others. After all, we’re all in this together. We’re #alonetogether.