EDITORIAL: Coronavirus is here. What happens next is up to us.

There’s no doubt about it now. Everywhere you look, COVID-19 is making its impact on daily life. It is no longer a faraway problem. You name a public event and it’s probably been cancelled.

There are still relatively few diagnosed cases in Canada, but the worry is how it may be spread by those who don’t even know they’re carrying it.

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A quarter of all cases in B.C. are connected to the North Shore and two care homes here, which is a particularly troubling reminder that even if you are pink-lunged and unlikely to lose your life to COVID-19, there will be elderly or immuno-compromised people in your circle who aren’t so lucky.

It has generated no small amount of fear, which we understand. Fear can motivate us to make more cautious decisions, like avoiding unnecessary travel and practising impeccable hygiene, which is what we need. What we don’t want to see is panic, which can be counterproductive – hoarding toilet paper or stockpiling the supplies that are needed for use by our medical professionals.

As always, we implore everyone to look to the proper authorities like Vancouver Coastal Health, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and the Public Health Agency of Canada for their information.

There will be inconveniences, even hardships and economic setbacks, but any doctor will tell you that a virus must run its course. What is important now is the necessary sacrifices we must make and how we support those most affected.

There is nothing like a pandemic to remind us that truly, we are all in this together.

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