Editorial roundup: Coronavirus — Transparency, calm, reason should all be in order

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, March 12, 2020

Two things will get us through the coronavirus pandemic: Transparency from government and health care officials and reasonableness, caution and good hygiene from everyone else.

That’s really what it comes down to. Let’s not forget, the “death rate” at 3 to 4% is “estimated” and this point and while some see it as cause for alarm as it appears to be worse than the flu, health experts note the death rate could be far lower because we do not know of all the undiagnosed or untested cases, some of which, patients may have not even known of their infection.

The vast majority of people face little risk of death or even severe sickness. Young people, in particular, can recover quite well and at very high rates. And the cure is not complicated. It involves staying home for two weeks, so as not to infect others. By that time, symptoms should have passed.

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We must be reasonable, however, in dealing with at risk populations, mainly the elderly or people with underlying health conditions that might put them at risk.

The symptoms again are fever, severe coughing and difficult breathing. If you’re worried you may be sick, the best thing to do first is call your health care provider to get advice. The worst thing to do is go to the emergency room with only cold-like symptoms. Again, your health care provider will know best.

And while sports fans may grouse about the games of their favorite teams being canceled, those measures are a small price to pay to contain the spread of a virus that seems to spread more easily than others. There’s always TV or livestream for your favorite teams.

Health-care providers must give updates on the situation early and often. Daily updates should be the norm. They need to employ teams of knowledgeable spokespeople to answer media questions.

Media, too, have a role. It should avoid sensational summary headlines that are misleading. It’s important to use terminology that has nuances if the health issue at hand has nuances.

And finally, have faith in your fellow American citizens and citizens around the world to do what’s necessary to take care of each other. We’ve been through these kind of things before and have been resilient and recovered.


— Mankato Free Press, March 12


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Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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