There is no escaping the perils of the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. This mysterious illness that originated in Wuhan, China has turned into a world-wide pandemic. It dominates the news on television 24/7. Folks with symptoms of a common cold have died at an alarming rate, particularly the elderly. What’s more, it is highly contagious. The entire country of Italy is on lockdown. Here in the United States we are all spooked, and people are reluctant to hug, kiss or even shake hands. Our professional sports teams, including basketball, baseball and even golf tournaments have been postponed or suspended. Broadway productions in New York City are now dark. Even Disneyland has closed up, at least for the month of March. And most schools nationwide, from kindergarten to college, will be closed until April 6th.
Thus far at least, countries in Latin America have escaped the blunt of this dreaded “plague.” As of this posting, there has been approximately 150 cases of the coronavirus and only two deaths. That should be of some comfort to Latinos living in the States who have relatives in the region. But those numbers could be deceiving because like everywhere else, it is unknown how many people are actually carrying the virus. Costa Rica is the only country that has developed a testing kit to detect a positive reading, and there’s not enough to go around. Brazil leads the way with about 40 cases, followed by Chile and El Salvador. Guatemala has closed its border with Honduras out of concern that neighbor residents could spread the virus. And famed Mexican journalist Jorge Ramos will not help monitor the Biden-Sanders presidential debate in Washington D.C. Why? Ramos is ill and under self quarantine out of fear he has been infected by COVID-19.
What we do know is that this virus isn’t immune to the rich and famous or important world leaders. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson both came down with the virus while shooting a film in Australia. Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tested positive this week, although her husband has yet to be infected. Athletes from NBA basketball stars to English Premier League soccer players have tested positive, causing a complete shutdown of sports teams world wide until April.
Miami’s mayor Francis Suarez recently tested positive for the coronavirus after meeting Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro and his aids. Later, the group attended a dinner at Mar A Lago hosted by president Donald Trump, not knowing that Bolsonaro’s press secretary Fabio Wajingarten was carrying the virus. The result? After much suspense, the 73 year old Trump has agreed to be tested. It’s the right thing to do.
Here’s an interesting fact…Americans from all walks of life, creed, color and origin spend 14 billion dollars every month on various forms of public entertainment. That is now a wash, so prepare to spend more time at home playing video games, reading a good book and enjoying some quality family time.