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Taking Home More than Souvenirs

When this blog was written Thusday night, at 8:30 p.m. est

and posted, we still didn't know everything we know now. In fact, some of the information was already outdated-BEFORE it was posted.

I'd been monitoring and posting international, national, local and cheer industry news all day.

People with any association with cheer-be it athlete, parent, coach or gym owner, are a passionate lot and their reactions followed suit.

I've read about and listened to the honest fears, opinions and disappointments of parents should the cheer season be over amid arguments about why it shouldn't. Their seniors deprived of their last or only visit to Worlds. The hard work and practices that everyone has engaged in shouldn't go for not. The money spent or deposited on airfare, hotel and car reservations lost.

"Let the kids cheer, everyone is over-reacting" or "do the right thing and cancel, there's more important things than cheer."

Closer to home, three unconfirmed cases in my public schools are being tested.

No spring sports until March 30.

UPDATE: Massachusetts, where I live, has declared a state of emergency like many states. Our school system is closed until at least April 6.

In my own home, I was afraid I was in the center of an outbreak.

My boyfriend flew home from Florida on Monday March 2. Orlando International Airport is always bustling so he made sure he was at his gate early. For six hours of delay after delay, six hours of sitting in the crowded terminal as passengers embarked and disembarked from all over the world, he sat.

Five days-later, the time-frame given to become Coronavirus symptomatic, he started shivering in the middle of the night and awoke with chills that two blankets couldn't contain. When trying to get up, his joints were so achy he needed assistance. He was exhausted and had a cough but we weren't sure it was THE cough. My standard way of checking on fevers-a kiss on the forehead-was shocking, his head was so hot. Confirmation with a real thermometer showed he had a 103 degrees fever.

I called his doctor's office, who called the infectious disease department, who called Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (more commonly known as the CDC). We were told that only people hospitalized with symptoms were being tested. But he should self-isolate. He should rest, drink plenty of liquids, alternate taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen every four hours and voluntarily stay home.

Convinced he had the Coronavirus, the next day I spent nearly $200 on sanitizers in all its shapes and forms- hand/surface/floor and disinfectants that spray, wipe and wash. And yes, hearing rumors that the country's paper-mill capitol was under quarantine (it isn't), I bought more than my average share of toilet paper. His fever was still high and on the fourth day we were talking about going to urgent care. Then this morning the fever was gone. He's still tired but it's a relief. It was scary.

We gave away front row seats to RAIN: A Tribute to The Beatles, a show we were really looking forward to and bought tickets for last fall. I've been taking vitamins and Airborne. My daughter and I are supposed to fly to Orlando next week for a family celebration and I was planning on going to visit my mom in South Florida.

But now I don't know about that. (UPDATE: We cancelled)

The arguments against cancelling competitions and events is varied. Honestly, I didn't think my boyfriend was going to die, although a couple of times he did look like pretty bad. I certainly didn't want to get sick and was super vigilant to keep away from others. As I cared for him, I felt like I was fighting something, and kept thinking "I have too much to do to get sick!"

Keeping things in perspective, a sick population isn't as bad as a dying one certainly, but it sure will slow things down as we see prices escalate and products from China diminish.

Here's what I do know:

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 4,500 people worldwide. More widely known as Coronavirus, it has spread to nearly all states, and the case count is now more than 1,300. Deaths in the United States climbed to 37 this afternoon.

Large gatherings are being canceled all over the country. I'm trying to find the report made by the CDC or World Health Organization advising no group larger than 30 people should gather in one place. Last night, the Coachella festival was officially postponed until October. Chicago was the latest city to cancel its St. Patrick's Day parade. D.C. declared a state of emergency hours after urging large events be canceled, and there's at least one member of the Tokyo 2020 board that thinks the summer Olympics should be postponed. The NCAA basketball tournaments are now canceled, and Disneyland is closing Saturday. The National Hockey League and Major League Soccer suspended their seasons, following the National Basketball Association's lead after multiple players tested positive. Major League Baseball canceled the rest of spring training and postponed Opening Day by at least two weeks.

Ohio is closing all of its schools, including K-12, for at least three weeks. The “extended spring break” will begin on Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said. Around 100,000 Ohioans likely have the virus but don't know it, the Ohio Health Department estimates, based on a 1 percent infection rate.

Last night (March 11, 2020) address, President Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from most of Europe. The details of his travel restrictions — to not include the United Kingdom, were announced immediately after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic.

Disease experts use the term “pandemic” to describe when an epidemic has become rampant in multiple countries and continents simultaneously. (The term comes from the Greek word “pan,” meaning “all,” and “demos,” meaning “people.”)

While the word may evoke fear, it describes how widespread an outbreak may be, not its deadliness.

“I think one of the things people misunderstand when it comes to pandemics is it’s not about how severe it is or how many cases there are or even how worried we need to be. It’s about literal geography,” said Caitlin Rivers, epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

This morning the cheer world awoke to make its o