This coronavirus stuff is fascinating. Sadly, and quite jadedly, my first direct experience with it was to pad my IRA portfolio with some Apple stock.

I know, I know, I know, it’s horrible! But I mean it dropped 20% based on fear. That’s some pretty good market correction, and I had cash sitting there making nothing.

So that’s what I did. And it’s up — for the moment.

Of course, that probably won’t continue. Stock market-wise, once the world’s biggest economy really sees the full impact of Covid-19’s fear-induced sell-offs, things could get quite cheap.

But as I horribly digress from the real story, this crazy virus, the key word is fear.

Look, I’m not one to agree with President Donald Trump. I personally think he’s the dumbest rich guy since — well, ever.

But when he talks about people needing to calm down, he’s correct. We all need to be more pragmatic in our reaction to this situation.

You don’t hear Trump using the word pragmatic, because it’s too big for his baby brain to understand.

Sorry, that was an insult to babies — my bad, babies, my bad. Good news later for you babies. Stay tuned.

But seriously, making pragmatic decisions hopefully will help us dodge the full effect of this outbreak.

For instance, it’s very possible that being in a small rural town will help us. How many times do we get to say that?

But think about it, coastal cities have naturally been the first to be hit, followed by large metropolitan areas. So, for once, living in a small, isolated town has its advantages.

Even Tennessee’s metropolitan areas have not seen a large diagnosis of cases.

Hopefully, that is because of pragmatic people being careful and not because our state’s public health community hasn’t been proactive enough.

(AsI write this Tuesday, we’ve got four cases statewide.) We’ll see.

If you look at the statistics, of course, Tennessee, like every other state starting out with a handful of cases, can certainly expect a big jump in cases, basically any day.

I wouldn’t be surprised if by this time next week, we had 20 cases.

And truthfully, it would follow world and national trends for that number to be more than 1,000 by the end of March. If we can dodge that number, then signs are looking up.

But all that, while frightening, is still normal. And it’s predictable. And when you have normal and predictable, you should certainly continue your day-in, day-out life in a pragmatic way.

Of particular concern throughout this entire pandemic is our seniors. Seniors over age 80 are at the most risk of having a severe reaction to this virus.

Seniors 70-79 follow closely behind, and then it quickly tapers off accordingly, with absolutely zero fatalities for children 9 and under.

Now this is not to say we all aren’t in risk. We certainly are. And we all should take pragmatic precautions.

But overwhelmingly, people over 65 should take the most precaution, as the death rate from this type of virus is significantly higher for you than the normal influenza.

That may mean, at some point, isolating yourself from the rest of your family, even if it’s your sweet 9-year-old grandbaby.

That’s because, due to the mild nature of the virus in children, that little, cute, germ-infested turkey could be quietly spreading the virus to you.

Yes, I know, you don’t want to live in a cave away from your family. But again, let’s be pragmatic.

If you have a fever, call your boss. Make a decision on whether you should stay home. Maybe it’s only a sinus infection, or something else common.

But still, staying at home a day or two would be pragmatic regarding your other workers and/or customers.

If we get to the point where Covid-19 has been identified here locally, then that fever takes on a definite seriousness. You must consider whether you’ve had contact with those infected.

At that point it’s time to get real and have a conversation with the health department — by phone.

The pragmatic thing is not to show up to a clinic or emergency room, but to call first. And above all, avoid contact with people, especially the most vulnerable.

The worst-case scenario, and exactly what we’ve seen in Washington State, is a nursing home of already ill elderly patients being infected.

This is absolutely what we want to most avoid happening here. Be pragmatic. Think of others. Less contact is good!

But in the meanwhile, until definite signs point in our direction, relax, attend meetings, see your friends, your family and go to work. Everything should work out fine.

 

DAN JACKSON is a self-employed Paris businessman. His email address is danjackson@alittleoff.net.

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