Waiting for the coronavirus to reach Idaho

Steve Lyon
State health officials haven’t put
out a whole lot of information for
the public on the coronavirus yet.
The Idaho Department of Health and
Welfare has some details on its website,
if you go looking for it. Maybe they
don’t want to appear to be alarmist in
the face of a potential pandemic.
The media can be sensational
in reporting the outbreak.
At times like these we
need the calm reassurance of
medical professionals.
On Monday, the virus allegedly
was 200 miles away
in Oregon. The Associated
Press and numerous news
outlets reported the Wildhorse
Casino in Pendleton,
Ore., closed after a worker
tested presumptive positive
for the coronavirus.
It was the first time the tribal casino
closed in 25 years. The action was taken
out of “an abundance of caution,” state
health and tribal officials said. The casino
was expected to reopen after the
premises were disinfected.
The employee suspected of having
the virus is at a hospital in nearby Walla
Walla, Wash.
As of Tuesday morning, no case had
yet turned up in Idaho, thankfully. Anybody
with older parents, myself included,
has to be concerned.
The flu shot we all got back in October
doesn’t cover the
coronavirus. It’s a novel virus,
which means it is new.
There is no vaccine yet.
The flu vaccine developed
for this flu season covered
type A and B, and one
medical provider told me it
didn’t do that great of job
with type B. There were a
lot of flu cases in late December
and early January.
It’s true that some people
will get the coronavirus and
won’t suffer serious effects.
Others, especially those
with underlying medical issues, could
suffer complications.
I asked a Weiser friend in his 70s if he
was concerned about the virus. He offered
a realistic appraisal in response. If
he gets sick, he’ll take care of himself.
If he gets really sick, he said he’ll go to
the hospital.
The State Department of Education
did issue a news release to share coronavirus
resources with school districts
and the public.
There were links to the CDC and
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Much of the information on how
to avoid the coronavirus is what you
already do to prevent the “regular” flu.
The Federal Reserve was worried
enough about the worldwide economic
impact from the virus, both known and
unknown, that it boldly cut interest rates
on Tuesday.
The obvious industries to take a hit
from the virus scare include tourism and
hospitality. Airplanes flying to Asia are
empty. Hotel bookings are way down.
In countries where the virus continues
to spread, people are avoiding crowds.
Nobody is going to restaurants or movie
theaters – anyplace where people congregate.
Let’s hope the virus can be contained
and a vaccine developed soon. Until
then, I’ll be concerned but calm.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


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