We’re coming back to print next week with our June 4 edition, and I don’t know how many people will be out on the streets to pick it up. I don’t know which of our usual drop spots will be open, and I don’t know, as of right now, how many pages of newsprint that advertising will support.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to find toilet paper when I go to the grocery store — no luck at Food Lion in months — and I don’t know if these low gas prices will last. I do know when my two oldest children will be starting their college semester, but I don’t know when my youngest will begin her sophomore year of high school.
I don’t know how long the threat of coronavirus will last. I don’t know if it will ever go away. I don’t know what the next few years will look like, let alone the next few months, and I don’t know how this will affect the election in November. And I don’t know when I’ll next be able to get out of town for a few days.
Everyone I’ve been talking to — business owners, service-industry workers, cops, event planners, elected officials, artists, parents, students and anyone else I can find to chat up — will, at some point in the conversation, let loose a deep sigh and say a variation of those words: I don’t know.
Sometimes, “I don’t know” is the smartest thing you can say, especially when you genuinely don’t know. And the thing about it is: No one knows. The novel coronavirus is, by definition, something new — it hasn’t even existed for a year yet. There’s more that we don’t know about it than we do.
So, I don’t know if there’s an effective treatment, and I don’t know if I’d want to take it if there were terrible side effects. I don’t know what my odds of catching it are, because I don’t know how many people are abiding by safety guidelines. I don’t know if we’ll have to go on lockdown again if our cases start to spike — though I wouldn’t bet against it. And I don’t know when I’ll be seeing you again, because I am not messing around with the coronavirus. I’m maintaining a low profile until I know something more.