Be a part of the solution


(Terre Haute) Tribune-Star

If you’re feeling overwhelmed today with the barrage of developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, rest assured you’re not alone. It seems with every passing day we’re seeing more major disruptions in the way we live our lives.

Not only do we have to worry about the possibility that we or our loved ones might be exposed to a potentially dangerous virus that continues to spread around the globe, we’re being told by public officials to limit exposure to large crowds, to refrain from traveling by air or sea and to be vigilant in our personal health care.

Meanwhile, our favorite spectator pastimes have been suspended or canceled. No pro basketball, hockey or baseball. The NCAA men’s hoops tournament has been called off. Talk about March Madness!

To add insult to injury, you may even find your nearest general store is out of toilet paper.

While the pitched reaction of the new coronavirus threat may seem overblown and ridiculous to some, it’s important to acknowledge that this situation may actually get worse before it gets better. We all hope not, of course. The impact on public life has been cascading across communities for days, and it’s unrealistic to think that we’ve reached the end of the road.

Feelings of desperation are understandable. But there is something very constructive that people can do to help their communities get through this.

It’s called citizenship. And being a good citizen sometimes means sacrificing for the good of the whole.

State and local public health officials are doing a superb job under tremendous pressure to help their communities navigate this situation. Together with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health agencies are providing factual and up-to-date information to help keep us informed.

Which brings us to another important way to be good citizens. Stay informed. Seek out reliable information. It’s out there. The media for the most part is providing an excellent service in its coverage of this story. Don’t succumb to the lazy urge to point fingers and blame the “media” for “hyping” the situation or “stoking fear.”

It’s not fair, and it’s not true.

Health officials are doing their best to explain that the practice of “social distancing” is a critical component of slowing the spread of communicable diseases such as COVID-19. Closing schools, canceling public events and other forms of social distancing can go a long way toward mitigating the impact of a pandemic.

What citizens are asked to do is cooperate.

Take care of yourself and be respectful of others. We all share responsibility for keeping our communities safe. Don’t hoard commercial products. There will be plenty of toilet paper to go around.

Stay informed. Be patient. Seek out facts.

Be a good citizen.

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