Editorial: Staying calm in the pandemic

Editorial: Staying calm  in the pandemic

Two weeks ago, I refused to write about the corona virus that has circled the globe. I read reports from local and national news outlets, scientists, and more only to decide for our newspaper that I didn’t want to fuel panic. Besides, everyone was saying that washing your hands and staying away from sick people would keep this virus at bay. Let’s be honest. This time of year, we’re pretty good about doing that anyway. 

Then the local nursing homes shut down visitation hours, and sporting events were cancelled. Then schools made decisions to close this week. President Donald Trump made recommendations during a press conference, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey shut down schools quicker than originally decided. Now, here I am writing about it. 

In the last few days, we have seen people panic-buying toilet paper, milk, hand sanitizer, baby items—probably more than they need. On my Facebook news feed, friends are asking about stores and which ones have basic supplies so they can continue to just feed their babies. There are group messages of wonderful people updating friends while they’re shopping and offering to pick up what’s needed from the group. I’ve seen the best and worst of people in the last week. 

I’ll admit that one reason why I didn’t want to write about the global pandemic is because I get very anxious about things like this. It wasn’t yet a local issue, but everyone was still panicked. Now, it’s local, and it’s affecting literally everyone around us. 

As I read posts on social media, I feel like the biggest misconception is that people think they’ll be fine if they catch this virus. Likely, you will be. But the worker next to you may have a heart condition or a grandparent they take care of. Those two may not have mild symptoms, and the virus could be fatal. Since the U.S. and the world is still trying to figure out exactly what this COVID-19 is, the goal is to “flatten the curve” of people who catch the virus at the same time. The hospital can’t handle an influx of sick patients who all need ventilators. There’s just not the equipment to handle it. 

I’m trying to stay calm as the country deals with this pandemic, and I’m also going to enjoy the time staying at home after work. I hope you’re finding something productive to also do with your family as this quarantine continues.