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US is taking COVID-19 seriously

This week the nation showed how seriously it is taking the coronavirus outbreak. The NBA postponed its season Wednesday after one of the players on the Utah Jazz tested positive for the disease. The NHL quickly followed suit on Thursday, and Major League Baseball announced it is cancelling its spring training games and putting off the start of the season.

Then the NCAA, which had announced it would hold its men’s and women’s basketball tournament games but not let spectators in, announced it was cancelling its spring tournaments all together.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered all schools in the state closed for three weeks beginning Monday, one of many states curtailing classes. Connecticut has a new law forbidding gatherings of more than 250 people. Across the country, states are closing down the high school tournaments that abound at this time of year.

The University of Minnesota has extended its spring break, and will only conduct online classes when the break is over.

We are dealing with the unknown here. COVID-19 is a new virus. There is no vaccine for it yet, and it may be a year before it is available. We do know it spreads easily through person-to-person contact. Health officials are hoping to slow the spread of the disease as much as possible, to prevent overloading hospitals and emergency rooms.

So the wise thing to do is proceed with caution — not panic — in the months ahead. Until we know better how to deal with the disease, let’s take all the normal precautions.

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