Nebraska among states least affected by coronavirus

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Tom Osborne was famous for his slow and steady demeanor, doing his best to help his players level the emotional highs and lows that hurt their performance on the field.

We remember our first trip into the cornbelt of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, amazed at the crops that could be produced on rainfall alone.

“How do you water your garden?” we asked a relative in Chicago, noticing no apparent irrigation system. Adequate rainfall made that unnecessary, was the answer.

Back in Nebraska, irrigation is a way of life, farmers growing crops dry years and wet, enjoying dryland yields in good years, but not counting on them, pouring water on irrigated fields most years as needed.

When the rest of the cornbelt is decimated by drought, we still produce a crop, thanks to irrigation.

The same goes for our economy, according to personal-finance website WalletHub.

Nebraska is well adapted to dealing with adversity. We may never have the booming economy other states enjoy, or attract tourists like Colorado or Hawaii, but our slow-and-steady pace serves us well in challenging times like these.

According to a WalletHub study Nebraska is among the least affected states when it comes to six key metrics regarding changes in visits related to the coronavirus.

As it applies to mobility changes as a result of COVID-19, we’re 44th in retail and recreation, 49th in grocery and pharmacy, 43 in parks mobility, 49th in transit stations, 46th in workplace and 38th in residential.

To be fair, we’ve one of the latter states to be affected, so our status is likely to climb as other state begin to return to normal.

And, as our beloved and maligned tourism slogan reflects, honestly, Nebraska isn’t for everyone.

According to WalletHub, we’re in the lower half of states when it comes to COVID-19’s effects on tourism.

We’re 26th in share of travel and tourism industry generated GDP, 38th in travel and tourism-related industries, 25th in employment in travel and tourism-related industries, 35th in default probability on loans of businesses in travel and tourism industry, 30th in travel and tourism consumer spending, 41st in travel spending per travel employee and 39th in the share of consumer expenditures on travel.

This is not to say we should accept adversity with resignation when it arrives -- our territory was settled by pioneers whose determination to survive was passed on to their children in the Great Depression and their great-great grandchildren today.

That slow, steady determination served past generations well and continues to serve us today.

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