Typically, we don’t talk about a lot of non-gaming topics in these announcements. This is not done in an effort to ignore the outside world but rather to avoid contentious subjects and to keep from appearing to advocate for a particular viewpoint. Every so often, however, something comes up that requires a brief and minor bending of that unofficial policy approach.
Recent days have brought us more and more news regarding the spread of COVID-19 and the wide range of governmental responses and societal reactions to it across the globe. So far, our immediate area seems to be free of this contagion but there are a couple of cases in a neighboring county which brings the increased possibility of cases here at home. Caution and proper hygiene are called for but so are calmness and logic.
Given the highly communicable nature of this virus, transmission between people in large public events is a potential risk. A large music festival in Miami, Florida, and the venerable South-By-Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, have been cancelled. No word has come regarding the upcoming MegaCon in Orlando, Florida, in the middle of April or Gen Con 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana, in August. Given the number of people attending both events and the far distances from which they come, organizers and authorities likely are watching developments very closely. And even everyday gatherings at workplaces, restaurants and shopping centers call for everyone to keep their hands clean and, at minimum, respect each others spheres of personal space.
But all of this caution brings us to the issue of logic. In no way should COVID-19 be taken for granted nor should its seriousness be discounted but consider a few facts. This virus is a strain (technically two strains, the “L-type” and the “S-type” but let’s not get too far into the deep science) of the common coronovirus. Yes, nearly all reports only refer to it as that and not as the more specific COVID-19 but these viruses are structurally different. Remember that the base coronovirus is a general virus responsible for the common cold and several forms of upper and lower respiratory infections. What sets COVID-19 apart from its viral parent is its easier transmission and more serious effects on those with weakened immune systems. This is a concern to be sure but it is not cause for panic. Also remember that so far this year, more people have died of the flu in America alone than have contracted COVID-19 worldwide — and that numerical difference is very, very big at that.
So, yes, by all means be aware of the developments regarding COVID-19’s progress. Be cognizant of the health and well-being of the young and elderly in your social circles. Get rest and pursue good nutrition in order to keep yourself healthy. Probably even stay home if you feel as though you are coming down with something (even if for no other reason than to not cause co-workers to panic and overreact). And wash your hands! But do not give in to panic and do not be swayed by misinformation. Much like SARS and MERS of earlier years, COVID-19 will be held at bay and ultimately have less of an effect than the uproar surrounding it.
And, what the heck, as long as I’m bending LRPG policy a little bit with this public service announcement & opinion piece, let me add one more topic to the column.
2020 is a presidential election year and primary season is upon us. Early voting is underway in Florida and the official primary election day is March 17. Get out there and cast your ballot. Get ready for the main election in November (which will include city, county, state and other federal races plus some number of ordinances and amendments) by investigating what is going on in the world around you. While the presidential race is important, we are more affected by those races closer to home. “All politics is local” as the old saying goes and if you see what is happening in Bartow and Tallahassee you know this to be true. Be a citizen, get informed and vote!
Now, on to talking about what the LRPG is established to do … play games! We will be holding our next Guild Game Night (with clean hands!) on Friday March 13. There will be five game tables available using three of the leading rule systems in our hobby and it will be a great night of fun. We also will be having our Mid-Year Meeting wherein will be reviewing our current status and all the great things we’ve done so far while also looking ahead to the next six months and beyond. We hope to see you all there … and bring a friend!
PS — We have a Guild Convention Road Trip coming up soon. Recon 2020, hosted by our friends with HMGS-South, will be held at the end of April in Kissimmee. Stay tuned for more details!