After a pandemic, can we ever return to normal?

Music on Locust Street in downtown Floyd on a Friday night.

In the United States, more than 61,000 have died and 1,054,172 are ill at the count posted at 7:12 a.m. Thursday for the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic that has also killed more than 228,000 around the world and infected more than 3.2 million.

Unemployment claims in America are expected to rise by more than 3 million this week, adding to the record amounts already on file.

Federal guidelines for “social distancing” and “stay at home” expire at midnight Thursday, the end of April, but most states — including Virginia — have their own rules that will stay in place for May.

Here in Floyd County, which has only two infections of the virus as of the report on Wednesday, the same rules apply as they do for Fairfax County, which has 3,448 cases. 124 deaths, and 585 hospitalized.

Should the same rules apply? Most medical experts say yes. Most Floyd Countians who work do so in places like Roanoke city and county, which had 104 infections on Wednesday, or Montgomery County with 55 cases and 1 death.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says his stay at home order remains in place through at least the first week in June.

Other governors did not move as quickly, especially the Southern ones like Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who refused to shut down the spring break college partiers who went home with rapidly-developing virus infections.

Same for Mississippi, where Gov. Tate Reeves delcared his state would “never going to be China,” but had to finally issue stay-at-home orders when the virus cases skyrocketed.

Reeves is now allowing the retail establishment to open — with occupancy limits cut in half — along with beaches but restaurants and entertainment venues stay closed.

In Florida, Gov. DeSantis is allowing retail and restaurants to open at 25 percent capacity. Personal services establishments like hair salons remain closed and the relaxed restrictions do not go into effect in higher population centers like Miami-Dade, Broward, or Palm Beach Counties.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey says:

Let me be abundantly clear: The threat of COVID-19 is not over. We are still seeing the virus spread, and all of our people are susceptible to infection. The greatest disservice the people … may do is think by me lifting the comprehensive restrictions, that this is a sign that there is no longer a threat from COVID-19.

In Virginia, restaurants remain closed for inside dining but can have carryout with drive-tough pickup. Slaughters and Food Lion supermarkets report an increase in curbside pickups for groceries.

Floyd’s famous Friday Night Jamboree has been closed now for more than a month. Same for other music venues.

Talk is increases on ways to “return to normal.”

Perhaps, but what is normal after what we have seen these last two months?

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