EDITORIAL – Keeping our heads is easier said than done on new coronavirus

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I SAW A SIGN in a local drug store this week that made me realize no matter how much authorities reassure us, the coronavirus scare is everywhere.

The sign said simply that there are no masks available.

They aren’t available because we worry, so we go looking for masks, any kind of masks — surgical masks, N95 respirator masks, whatever.

Experts caution that some masks are OK for stopping you from spreading the virus if you have it but much less effective at stopping you from getting it from someone else. The run on masks probably comes from the photos of people around the world wearing them.

We hear the calming words from Canadian healthcare providers but the images and stories from elsewhere seem to tell a different story.

So far, there have been a handful of coronavirus cases in Canada with no deaths. But the virus has spread to two dozen countries and infected thousands around the world. In China, where it originated, thousands have been sickened and hundreds have died.

We send airplanes to China to bring people home and try to contain it but there are still a lot of unanswered questions. We don’t know exactly how the virus works, how deadly it is, or how best to quarantine against it.

Experience already shows someone who’s infected can develop symptoms days after arriving back in the country.

Meanwhile, the economy suffers as well. Until a vaccine is developed, the best weapon we have is good information.

It’s impossible not to worry and it’s not easy sorting out the facts as they’re made available to us. The secret is to not underestimate the risk, stay calm, be vigilant and ignore the fake news.

Easier said than done.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8171 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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