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COVID-19: The new norm

New practices such as increased hand washing and wearing facemasks could be essential in reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  File photo

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

It would be an understatement to say things have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic took root. The way people work, interact, and travel has been up in the air. Experts believe the pandemic will be around for a while. Johnson County residents and people in every other part of the world are trying to adjust to the new normal. 

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, Johnson County has had 44 confirmed cases, and approximately 14 are active. Renowned expert and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Anthony Fauci expressed concern about the G4 Virus, which is a new flu found in pigs that specialists say is comparable to the 2009 swine flu. The public reportedly panicked about facing a possible stacked pandemic, but Fauci said it is “not an immediate threat.”

While another pandemic would be the last thing anyone would want, it seems people are more prepared thanks to new habits and hobbies.  New practices such as increased hand washing and wearing facemasks could be essential in reducing the spread, while hobbies keep people entertained now that activities are limited. Several Johnson County residents have reported working on home improvements, recreational art, and sewing projects. Some have even started making facemasks. 

“Personally being cooped up was a nice break from the constant hustle and bustle of adult life,” said Johnson County graduate Jessica Dickens. “I spent time trying new recipes, reading books I hadn’t had time for, and painting. The experience was a great way to recharge.”

Both individuals and retailers have taken precautions to increase safety. Stores are requiring personnel to wear masks along with following other safety precautions such as social distancing and minimizing possible exposure opportunities. Events such as the recent Doggy “Do” Arts to the Rescue fundraiser and upcoming Sunflower Festival rely on open-air venues and personal safety precautions. Local meetings have gone digital, offer digital options, or are enforcing social distancing protocols. Certain businesses and groups have closed, closed to the public, or allowed employees to work from home at some point during this pandemic.

“People have trouble realizing that we’re still here,” UT Extension Office member Sarah Ransom explained about groups working out of the office. “Even if we work from home, we’re still working.”

For more information on COVID-19, visit the Tennessee Department of Health website (, The CDC website (, or contact your local health department.