If you’re anything like me, it’s getting to the point where the terms novel coronavirus and COVID-19 are becoming complete anathema.

Cable news networks are running the “Coronavirus Pandemic” 24/7 on every channel. It’s practically the majority of every newspaper, even my own. And it’s getting ever more difficult to find my cat memes on social media in between all the posts on the virus and what the government is doing about it.

Many businesses have been asked to close. Hours of operation for grocery stores are being curtailed. No dining in at restaurants.

Most of the local cities in the area have issued shelter-at-home orders until further notice for non-essential jobs. Everyone should keep at least 6 feet distance between others and spend as much time as possible at home unless conducting critical errands like getting food.

Sadly, all the pandemic panic seems to be ripping our civil society apart at the seams. Essential items such as food, water, cleaning supplies and soap fly off the shelves as fast as they can be stocked — which means those of us who still have to work end up finding empty shelves at the store when we’re finally able to get to one.

Major grocery chains have had to literally set up a special hour of shopping for senior citizens before opening to the public, just so our most vulnerable have a chance to get what they need before some jerk runs in and buys it all.

I know, I’m being nice by using the word “jerk.” Panic buying all the sanitizing wipes and Lysol, for example, means many other people don’t have those products available to keep their own homes and areas clean and free of the virus.

And buying all the food? I don’t even want to know how you’d feel if your neighbors began dying of starvation because they could never find basic necessities on the shelves.

What really gets me, though, is the sheer political hostility. People on both sides of the aisle are literally hoping those on the other side get this virus and die. I mean, seriously? That is the most un-American thing I have ever heard.

I have brother and sister veterans who are Democrat, Republican and Independent. Yet, so many of them on social media are also hoping those they disagree with politically catch the virus and die. Apparently, our military family no longer exists when a pandemic comes along.

To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement. If we have each others’ six when the bullets are flying downrange, you would think we would still be looking out for each other when the enemy is an invisible virus.

We are better than this. It’s time to start acting like it.

David A. BRYANT is an Army retiree and a military journalist for the Killeen Daily Herald. You can reach him at dbryant@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7554.

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