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The Scoop - A virus is not political
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Just a few short days ago, the coronavirus was a left-wing political stunt, for some at least, aimed at taking down President Trump.

Now the NBA has suspended its season, travel has been halted from Europe to the U.S., and actor Tom Hanks has announced he and his wife have tested positive for coronavirus.

I guess the 127,000 people infected worldwide and more than 4,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University, aren't some crazy political stunt after all. This illustrates probably the greatest problem with today's toxic political climate where people put party over well-being. It can have crippling effects.

Global warming is a Chinese hoax. Coronavirus is being overblown by the media. These are foolish words.

It seems everything can be turned into a partisan circus. Take for example the U.S. Census. Conducted every 10 years, the Census is a simple count of every person in the country. It's mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

But the simple act of counting -- something most of us learned by first grade -- has become a political dogfight because of self-serving arguments there are some people who shouldn't be counted.

The object of the Census is to count everyone. So count everyone. End of story.

A much more life-threatening issue is the spread of coronavirus. In response, UT campuses, MTSU and Vanderbilt are among the schools which have suspended classes.

Director of Schools Bobby Cox says the Warren County School System is getting regular guidance from the Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC about whether classes should be suspended locally.

In a stern warning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told the White House, "We would like the country to realize that, as a nation, we can't be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago."

Coronavirus has been compared to the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 which infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide, about one-third of the population, and killed at least 20 million, according to History.com.

The point is not to assign blame. The point is to say we better start acting in the best interest of Americans and stop the nonsense of claiming a deadly virus is just a  conspiracy being nutured by the media. There were 196 people who died from coronavirus in Italy on Wednesday. I guess they've really gone all in on this conspiracy theory.

The initial U.S. response to the coronavirus could best be described as a very large shrug that was followed by wrongheaded claims the illness would never spread here.

Mandatory quarantines may be in store for America like those enacted elsewhere. Who knows what the future may hold. The only thing that's a certainty is coronavirus is not a political hoax.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.