The word of the day perhaps should be “uncertainty.”

Whatever else might be sold out or in short supply, we know there’s plenty of that to go around.

President Donald Trump on Monday urged people not to gather in groups larger than 10 and urged Americans to avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts for at least the next 15 days. He urged against shopping trips and making social visits, visiting nursing homes and retirement or long-term care facilities.

The president acknowledged that coronavirus is not under control, that restrictions, closures and cancellations meant to blunt the virus’ spread might need to remain until August and warned the country might be headed into an economic recession.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a measure of economic health based on 30 leading U.S. stocks, plunged again, this time to a low not seen for more than 30 years.

The city of Galveston declared a state of disaster. Other cities were almost certainly destined to do the same sooner or later.

Although only one person residing in the county had been diagnosed as infected with the virus, it was beyond rational hope that would remain the case for long. The question was, is, not if but when and how many.

Parents were wondering how to manage their work and family commitments with schools closed for at least another week.

Monday must have been a very uncertain day for restaurant operators, many of whom survive on thin margins and constant cash flow even in the best of times.

Employers in every other sector of the economy were wondering how to keep operating without endangering their workers and customers, and workers — that is virtually all of us — were wondering how long they might have jobs to worry about.

Among the few things we all can count on is that life will be different for the foreseeable future and that although we can look to rational sources for guidance, nobody’s going to have a template suitable for solving everybody’s problems.

To greater or lesser degrees, we all are making this up as we go along.

Among the things we should remember is that we’ve been here before. We individuals might not remember, but as a society, we have been here before with small pox, yellow and scarlet fever, with polio and HIV. We have been here before with flu outbreaks that killed thousands and changed the lives of many more.

We’ve been here before in other challenging ways.

In 2008, after Hurricane Ike had laid waste to a large part of this county and before the flood waters had fully subsided, the U.S. economy tanked. We survived and prospered.

We should not forget how during Hurricane Harvey in 2017 we pulled together, pulled our neighbors to safety and ourselves out of the mud and carried on.

The word of the day might be uncertainty, but that will become less and less the case as time passes.

The words for days ahead will be “help,” “cooperate,” “adapt,” “improvise,” “overcome.”

We can do that. We’ve done it before.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;

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(7) comments

Lisa Blair

🙌.yes we can!

Bailey Jones

Kudos to the president, and his advocates on Fox, for finally getting with the program and acknowledging the unprecedented crisis that we are in. Kudos as well to all the state and local governments who have tried to get out ahead of the federal government with their own proactive measures.

This plague will pass - they all pass - but it is serious and needs to be treated as such. We will all need to sacrifice and remember that many will be sacrificing much more than us. Those who can help should help, and those who need help should not be ashamed to ask for it. Empathy, charity, and patience are the path forward.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, I was gladdened to see you give kudos to the president but you reverted to typical politics by posting: "for finally getting with the program". Trump's initial actions in January of a travel ban to and from China and quarantine of returning Americans prevented a widespread outbreak. Canada just stopped those flights from China yesterday to their country. Trump's initial actions were met with derision from Joe Biden (February 1) who labeled it xenophobic.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia, hysterical xenophobia, to uh, and fear mongering,” Biden said at a campaign rally. Maybe it's time for the presumptive Democratic candidate to get with the program.

Bailey Jones

I'll make you the same deal I made Charles. No partisan blame game until this is over. Let's all just be Americans for a while. Hannity approved.

Charles Douglas

Mr. PONCE, ..this is the REAL Mr. JONES that I have observed from JUMP STREET! I knew he was in there somewhere. Sometimes a sculpturer need to keep chiseling until he gets to the right see! L ololo. However I think the deal I have with my friend Mr. Jones is good until we WHUP this silly virus, .....then ....then...the amnesty is over. Which means Crooked, and Old Joe are fair game again.[beam]

Carlos Ponce

Bailey I'll believe you when you follow through. No more comments like are on this thread.

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] It's a deal, Charles!

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