Well, it looks like just when we started to have some nice weather, we’re going to be confined inside our homes.
The coronavirus has finally hit Alabama. Man, we just have to be last in everything, don’t we? OK, besides football, I know — don’t hurt me, Alabama fans.
While I find it easier to get through life by finding humor in things, I do have to say this whole coronavirus situation is far from funny.
As of Friday night, there were two confirmed cases in Alabama and four presumptive positive cases elsewhere in the state — including one right up the road in Elmore County, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
This is certainly time for deep concern. What it’s not time for is a great panic.
Simply going to pick something up at the store reminds us our neighbors are in a frenzy because all the toilet paper is gone. Come on, folks. That’s what you’re worried about purchasing? I get it, but at the same time, there are more important things I’d stock up on — if I had the time.
However, I’ve been hard at work with my team here at the newspaper trying to figure out the best way to inform y’all on this pandemic.
Today’s paper is full of information on the coronavirus and I hope you find it useful. From how to make hand sanitizer to knowing what’s to come such as schools closing after Wednesday, I feel like we’ve given you a little bit of what you need to know this weekend at least.
However, we’ve scratched only the surface of this thing. We’re going to have stories for another week, two weeks or maybe more on this situation. I hate to say this, but I do believe there are likely some cases in Tallapoosa County and it’s only a matter of time before those people are tested and confirmed.
Stick with us through this process as we work to inform you in the best way possible. We’ll be looking for the right stories to tell and will continue to be a trusted news source for our readers through this. We will never forget our sacred duty here and that’s to be loyal informers of the facts to all of you who depend on us to do so. We don’t take that duty lightly and in a situation like this, we rise to the challenge and work even harder to do our best work for you.
I know this is a scary ordeal, and being an anxiety-filled gal, I do understand the panic. But it’s important to remain calm and rational during this situation.
One thing that’s unfortunately doing more harm than it is good right now is social media. Social media is a useful tool and has certainly become a crucial part of the newspaper business. It has its benefits elsewhere, too.
But one downside is in a situation like this, people tend to spread misinformation and it’s all from social media. Earlier this week I read something along the lines of, “Bobby’s cousin’s half-removed sister said she saw a post from her Mawmaw that said Jean Marie was already showing signs of the virus,” and next thing you know everybody’s saying there are cases left and right in Alabama when there weren’t even any confirmed cases until Friday morning.
I urge you to be wary of what you read on social media. Sure, there’s weight to some of it; some of it could be true. But a lot of it isn’t and you can’t live life trusting things that aren’t factual. Plus, that misinformation and its rapid spread contributes to the panic.
That’s what this newspaper is here for — to give you the facts and give them to you straight, no in between.
As a community, we’re all still figuring this out together. Of course Russell Medical has a plan in place; the city has already started making recommendations to citizens; schools are suspended for the time being; and who knows what will happen in the coming days and weeks.
But for now, I hope to see the panic subside and hope readers will continue to read trusted sources such as The Outlook, the CDC website as well as ADPH’s site.
I do worry about this virus and the effects it could have on so many people. I do still have unanswered questions but will be working to find the answers to those and inform you of everything I do know.
Ultimately, I think we have to take each day as it comes. All we can do is follow the guidelines, such as washing our hands and doing it correctly, and remain calm.
Santana Wood is the managing editor of The Outlook. She can be reached at email@example.com