FLOYD INGRAM: Is coronavirus big news or not?By FLOYD INGRAM / THE PRESS REGISTER,
Is the coronavirus news?
Your Clarksdale Press Register had a story in last week’s paper about proper flu hygiene and how people need to take care of themselves and prepare for this illness.
We carried news and information on the number of people who had been infected by the disease in the U.S., how many had died, where in the U.S. the illness had been confirmed and that no cases had been reported in Mississippi or Clarksdale.
Do you expect us to do anything less?
Covering the news
I have repeatedly been amazed at the people who say, “The media is fostering this hysteria about coronavirus!”
As if the media didn’t report about it, it would somehow go away.
Well, as a reporter of more than 25-years, let me assure you people are talking about this disease. They are talking about it at the coffee shop, Rotary Club, city board meetings, church and the check-out line at Walmart.
You see, it is a topic of conversation anywhere people gather. And coronavirus spreads anywhere people gather.
Other than this column, we do not have a coronavirus story in today’s paper.
But we are watching you, we are listening to you and there will be future stories in Clarksdale’s premier news source about this disease.
The first case reported in Clarksdale will be reported in this paper.
If this disease affects tourism and planned events for this spring, it will be discussed in this newspaper.
How schools prepare for this, how public buildings and offices are dealing with this threat and what people can do to combat this disease will also be stories in the future.
And yes, if we have somebody’s grandmother, parent or child die from this disease in Clarksdale, we will discretely and professionally notify this community that this illness has touched Clarksdale.
It is your Press Register’s duty and obligation to tell you these things.
News you can use
Does a facemask stop coronavirus? No. There is no iron-clad way to guarantee you won’t get this disease. A facemask can help, but so can washing your hands.
Who has this disease? This disease can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity. People of Asian or Chinese descent are not more like to have or spread this disease than any other American.
How do I tell if I have the disease? There is a kit that doctors use to determine if you have coronavirus. If you think you have the virus, the flu or even just a temperature and sore muscles, go to your doctor and get a test.
Who is at higher risk of suffering from this disease? Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes, older adults and people with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.
How serious is this?
No one really knows.
At an early age my mother told me the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.
I’ve seen her smile as she talked about the cancer in her body. I’ve seen her smile as she looked at my dead father – her husband of 50 years – and a tear crept down her cheek. I’ve seen her smile and tell her oldest son, it’s going to be Ok and I can dream up worse situations than will probably actually happen.
But my Momma is also 86, she hugs people, she goes to the grocery store and she could easily catch this disease and be gone.
How serious do I take this threat? The cost could be very high, so I take it very seriously and plan accordingly.
So maybe I don’t shake your hand this spring. Maybe I don’t hug your neck at church on Sunday. Maybe I’ll call my Momma more often and check up on her just a little more.
Oh, and I will make sure your Clarksdale Press Register has the perfect amount of balanced news and accurate information so you can assess the threat and respond accordingly.
Floyd Ingram is the Editor of the Clarksdale Press Register. He is busy covering the coronavirus and urges you to call your mother instead of him this week.