Who would have believed at this time last year that in less than six months, a flu-like disease dubbed COVID-19 would turn the world upside down and cause more than 130,000 deaths in the United States alone?
While the coronavirus pandemic has peaked and leveled off in the U. S., its presence continues to be a major factor in making daily life unpredictable and challenging for American families.
Hope for a return to normal depends on the development of a vaccine that will prevent its transmission from person to person. Communicable disease experts believe that could happen as early as 2021.
The virus made its debut in New York City from China in late December, after which President Trump banned travel from China and other foreign countries. Its spread to other parts of the country triggered repercussions: Intercollegiate and professional athletic events, including the NCAA national basketball tournament, were cancelled. Baseball and softball seasons ended, and other spring sports were cancelled. Schools followed by closing their doors and implementing distance learning.
All non-essential businesses – such as sit-down restaurants, beauty and barber shops and clothing stores – were ordered closed by state governors.
Residents were urged to stay inside their homes, practice safe distancing and visit essential businesses only when necessary.
Businesses in most states were later allowed to open under limited conditions. They were asked to impose 6-foot spacing between customers, require employees to wear facemasks and limit the number of customers to 50 percent of capacity.
Later, customers were required to wear facemasks.
Some relief appears to be in the making, in regards to high school sports. Football and volleyball teams are practicing and are scheduled to open their seasons next week; however, some opening games have already been delayed or cancelled because of the virus, and safe distancing will be required in the stands.
Fall sports for colleges are a mixed bag. Some conferences have cancelled the entire season, while others have cut back on the number of games they will play.
Currently, Alabama and Auburn and other SEC teams plan to play a 10-game all-conference schedule.