Here are my thoughts on a variety of topics using the brand-new Worry Scale. A rating of 1 means everything’s wonderful, while a 10 means the end is near.

“The Virus Is Here!” Panic: Much better than I expected, coming in at about a 5, especially after the announcement Thursday of the first Pike County coronavirus case.

I was worried there would be gas lines and all the other behavior we’ve seen after some of the bad hurricanes. So far, there have been reports of arguments from shoppers battling to get food and other supplies at grocery stores, and some empty shelves, but most people seem to be handling the news fairly well.

Maybe everybody expected it already? That’s about the only way I can figure it. And it is probable that there will be more local cases.

It takes a week or more for symptoms to appear, and a lot of people were out of town for spring break last week. That increases the possibility that somebody brought the virus back home with them.

The Commerce Effect: This is in the 7 or 8 range, and there’s no way to object to the steps businesses have taken to restrict contact.

A number of stores have cut back their hours or closed for the time being. The McComb city board declared a state of emergency this week and asked restaurants to provide drive-thru service only.

If I had to guess, the commercial cutbacks will expand as long as the number of virus cases grows in the state. It’s easy to second guess or criticize this, but until a treatment is found, the only way to beat this thing is to prevent people from giving it to each other. Keeping your distance is the best way to do this.

The risk, of course, is that the longer this goes on, some business owners may decide not to reopen. Which is not what McComb or any other small town needs.

The Extended Spring Break Effect: There are three ratings for this. For kids, it’s probably a very positive 2, because they haven’t had school for two weeks, although that is supposed to change with online classes being set up.

For many parents, especially those who need child care, this extended spring break probably has been a 6 or 7. And then you factor in that we just don’t know whether certain events like graduation ceremonies will be held. The unknowns are maddening.

The effect on teachers has to be an 8. If my wife is any barometer, teachers must be climbing the walls of their homes, again because of all the uncertainty. Will classes resume this spring? How will the online stuff go? Many educators are creatures of habit, and their habits have been seriously disrupted.

There may be one bright spot for teachers: By the time this is finished, a lot of parents will wind up appreciating what teachers put up with. One joke on the internet said parents are about to find out that what teachers have told them about their kids is true.

The Medical Effect: So far, this is a solid 2 rating, although I’ll bet at lot of medical workers are straining to keep up with new demands.

If enough people stick to the distancing and isolation guidelines, it will make life in the medical field so much more tolerable.

My Missing Dog: It’s not related to the virus, but it makes a nice ending to the column.

This is about a 9, meaning that after nearly four weeks I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that Little Miss Sunshine is gone for good. It’s my fault for letting her get away without wearing a collar.

I’ve driven many streets in and around McComb looking for her. Last Sunday, I aired up the tires in my son’s bicycle and rode around for two hours, calling and whistling for her.

I traveled all streets between Bendat and 11th Street, and from Park Drive to 26th Street. The idea was if she heard or saw me, she’d come running.

Alas, no Sunshine. However, the ride did lead to several nice conversations with people who were enjoying a pleasant spring afternoon, and that was really enjoyable.

I would give my bicycle trip a high rating, but I discovered it’s no longer easy to mount a bike at age 58. Also, this bike has the most uncomfortable seat ever designed.

My other dog Stewie gets a 2 rating. Found after five days missing, he had surgery for a dislocated hip and is recovering. The virus doesn’t worry him, so he is one lucky dog!

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