As many have noted, our country is in an unprecedented situation as a result of being confronted with the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, that causes the disease COVID-19.
For those trying to figure out how to respond, there is one overwhelmingly reliable rule to follow: Use reason.
There are two sides to that recommendation.
First, take this situation seriously. We know what the coronavirus has already done elsewhere, such as China and Italy. Given the infection rate and the mortality rate, a million Americans—largely the elderly and those with underlying conditions—could die if we do nothing. And our health system could be overwhelmed.
The good news is that there is still time to limit the spread of the virus. The situation will definitely get worse before it gets better, but we still have the chance to keep it from becoming horribly worse. In fact, according to experts, the steps being taken to limit the transmission of the virus is already bearing some fruit.
By adopting the recommendations of scientists and health professionals, as reported by reputable and established sources, we have a reasonable chance of keeping a bad situation from getting much worse. And being more careful about germs in general is probably a good idea anyway.
Some of the recommendations, including the social distancing and the cancellation of large public gatherings, will be inconvenient and economically damaging in the short term. They remain obviously preferable, though, to the alternative.
In being reasonable, though, we should also remember not to panic. There is no need to buy all of the toilet paper at the store, for example, and leaving supplies we clearly don’t need will be helpful to the next person.
Indeed, one of the best ways to handle this crisis is to remember that we are all in this fight together. Though we may have to limit contact, we can still help each other. And we should try to sympathize with those who are trying to make good decisions in difficult times.
By the same token, we should have little patience for those who would sow ignorance to serve their own ends. And anyone who would try to profiteer from the situation should probably be put under the jail.
To help people deal with their legitimate concerns constructively, The Press-Sentinel is including a questionnaire from Wayne Memorial Hospital on page 7A. We encourage anyone wondering about their risk factors to look at it.
And finally, we commend the school system—which has prudently shut down for at least the next four weeks—for providing meals not only for local children but also for those with special needs. For more information read the story “Schools here to be closed for four weeks” beginning on page 1A.
The Press-Sentinel will continue to try to keep people well-informed about the coronavirus in coming days. In the meantime, let’s remember what Wayne County Board of Commissioners Herschell Hires says in his guest column on page 5A: “We are all In this together, and we will come through together, stronger and more humble.”