By Del Duduit
Terry Johnson is a medical doctor, a veteran of combat, and a lawmaker in Ohio.
He is a Colonel (ret) Senior Flight Surgeon in the Ohio Army National Guard. Johnson served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Kuwait, and he seen the ravages of war up close.
The McDermott, Ohio native has served on medical and humanitarian missions in Panama and Ecuador, and on military and diplomatic missions in Serbia.
He is Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine of nearly 30 years and now serves the people of the 14th district in the Ohio Senate. He has witnessed many historic events throughout his years of service, but even he admits he has never seen anything like the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid 19 virus is a pandemic taking lives all over the world and shutting down economies.
“These are extraordinary days,” he said. “This is something people may never see again for the next 100 years.”
Quick action by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his team might have saved many lives when this ordeal is over and after statistics roll in to be counted.
DeWine was one of the first governors to close restaurants and other businesses across his state to slow the spread of the virus, and he urged social distancing. His decisions are now being applauded, while some were skeptical at first.
“I despise armchair quarterbacks who criticize decisions people make, especially our leaders,” Johnson said. “The governor is setting the tone for Ohio, and he has a good heart and a genuine concern for people.”
The decisions were part of a strategy geared toward keeping the virus from spreading until there is a vaccine, or when it tampers down.
Unlike the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus in 2003 and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in 2014, this Covid 19 acts different.
“This got out of hand in China and spread fast,” Johnson said. “And now it has spread all over the world and came into the United States, and into Ohio.”
The Coronavirus is highly mobile, according to Johnson, and cannot travel unless the host is also mobile.
“It goes nowhere if we go nowhere,” he added. “That is why leaders encourage us to stay put for a while in our homes. Isolation is good from a healthcare standpoint, but there is a huge price to pay economically, but that is secondary when it comes to our health. This is unlike anything I’ve seen before.”
As a past state representative and now senator, Johnson is aware of the financial toll shutting down government might have on the residents of Ohio.
“It’s a risk/benefit thing we have here,” he said. “We have to keep people alive first – that is the main goal. But Ohio does not print money, and we have to watch the budget closely because you cannot stop this economy and expect us to continue.”
The next several days will be key, Johnson said, and he receives daily updates and pays attention to what DeWine and President Trump have to say.
“We could come out of this quickly,” he said. “We don’t know if this virus will continue as we approach summer when most influenza tampers down. There is a lot of uncertainty right now. But Americans are resilient, and I believe this economy is spring-loaded to roar back.”
Johnson noted that while Ohioans and Americans are home, now is a wonderful opportunity to examine oneself because time is available.
“What a great time to sit with your family and talk to them or sit with your pet that misses you all day when you go to work,” he said. “It’s a great time to recharge spiritually and read the Bible like I do as a Christian.”
He added that the primary defense the human body has against diseases is its own immune system.
“What a great time to start thinking about not smoking because smokers are at a greater risk of most diseases,” he said. “What a great time to shift from carbonated beverages to good clean water. And what a great time to eat better and think about planting a garden.”
He added that people can take advantage of time at home to get out in the yard and exercise or try to slip away from pharmaceuticals that assist with sleeping.
“This is the perfect time to examine yourself and think about getting well spiritually, respect yourself, forgive yourself and others, and the perfect time to reach out and help a neighbor,” he said.
Johnson also urged people to call the local board of elections. request an absentee ballot, and vote before April 28. The Ohio primary was shut down because of the pandemic, but residents who are registered can still vote.
There will be no in-person voting this primary, so the only way to vote will be via absentee.
“This is our greatest right and privilege we have as Americans, and we need to take advantage of this opportunity to vote,” he added. “Ohio and America will come through this battle, and we will be stronger than ever.”
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.