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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Memphis is still a city with a heart

Local 24 News political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shares his point of view on how Mid-Southerners are stepping up amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the novel coronavirus continues to spread misery, the search for positive developments continues as well. And I must say, it's tough to find a lot of positives. What with the steady rise in cases and the death toll, the financial hardships and isolation, this outbreak gets worse by the day. Plus, the President continues to make it all about him. But there is some encouraging news.

The best local example of it is the YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South stepping up to take over feeding Shelby County Schools’ students - while schools are shut down. The district was forced to suspend its lunch program at 62 sites after one nutrition services employee tested positive for the virus. The announcement only made a terrible situation worse - because thousands of SCS students depend on the district for weekday meals during the school year - and in the summer.

Thankfully, the public response was immediate. And now, the YMCA will take over the sites at area churches, libraries, and community centers - feeding students under 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Mid-South Food Bank, local restaurants, and others are also lending a hand - to make sure needy children don't go hungry - or uncared for.

These are a few examples of the positive spirit we're seeing - as this virus disrupts our lives. They remind us that Memphis is still a city - with a heart. And that's my point of view.

RELATED: Towns and cities in Shelby County implement Safer at Home orders starting Tuesday night

RELATED: Shelby County Schools students receive meals and lesson guides while schools are closed due to coronavirus pandemic

RELATED: YMCA steps up to provide planned lunch meals after brief suspension of the program

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Coronavirus in Context: 

The symptoms of coronavirus are similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80-percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.