Commentary: The coronavirus has made America hit the pause button

Commentary: The coronavirus has made America hit the pause button
March 19
00:10 2020

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

I am in the 4th quarter of my life, like some of you. As a result, I have witnessed a lot of things in my life. Having a man on the moon, the Civil Rights Movement, 9\11, and electing our first African American president are just a few of the milestones.

When you observe these events happening, you realize they are defining moments in your lifetime. We re-live these and other events with our family and friends. Our history books are filled with an unending series of significant and noteworthy events in our nation’s history.

Over time, these historical events have brought cheers, fears and tears. You can probably recall where you were when 9\11 happened. I couldn’t believe it, even as I saw it unfolding on television. It was so tragic and painful that we commemorate 9\11 each year.

Some weeks ago, a virus started in a foreign country and is now in our country. Quite honestly, when the coronavirus began in Wuhan, China, I didn’t pay much attention to it. I thought, like most of you, that the virus would stay in that region. How could a virus start in one country and literally travel all over the world? This is what this illness has done. It has medical experts in a healthcare frenzy.

According to the latest reports, there are 148,838 presumptive cases worldwide of the coronavirus. A little over 5,000 people worldwide have passed away from this virus. European countries like Italy are seeing dramatic increases in coronavirus casualties. These numbers are staggering and alarming. Each day the news starts with the coronavirus as its lead story. It seems, at least at this moment, that other news stories have been temporarily put aside. 

There isn’t a walk of life that hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. Everyday essentials such as milk and tissue are being scooped up by the caseload. Stores like Walmart have empty shelves on almost every aisle. Just days ago, they issued a statement saying that effective immediately, their stores will open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. Stores under reduced hours will keep those hours. Walmart is the nation’s largest retailer, so this announcement tells us the seriousness of this medical emergency.

Sports organizations have succumbed to the coronavirus. Every major sport has either cancelled or suspended their season. March is usually when the NCAA presents “March Madness.” Last week, the NCAA announced that all NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have been cancelled. So, for basketball fans like me, it was an uppercut, but the right decision. So now fans can give their passionate orations about who would have been crowned the champions.

If you are New Orleans Pelicans fans like us, you won’t be seeing Zion Williamson anytime soon. Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, says the league might be playing in the summer. We will have to wait and see what happens.

All the states have been affected by COVID-19. In the city of New Orleans, there are presently 53 presumptive cases of the coronavirus. In nearby Mississippi, there are 10 reported cases. Unfortunately, there will be other cases to follow.

Places of worship have also had to either cancel or modify their services. Fred Luter Jr, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, held an on-line service. His sermon title was “Trusting God During Difficult Times.” He used Isaiah 41, verse 10, as the spiritual foundation for his message. He said to his Internet listeners: God is still in control; do not allow your faith to be replaced by fear. In his message, he gave illustrations of God’s presence, God’s power, and God’s promise.

Now is the time to be strong together and to stay together. These are tough times and in the short term may get even tougher. However, we must have both the physical resolve and the mental capacity to persevere.

My Bible tells me that this too, shall pass.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at

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