PANIC, PRECAUTION, AND BEING FLEXIBLE #J4450

What am I going to do now?

That’s the question that’s been running through my head the last two days.

COVID-19 is changing things. It’s dominating the news on all levels, and cities and states all over the map are trying to deal with a new threat to the public health. And it’s hitting close to home too.

The Missourian is staffed by reporters that are Mizzou students, and we take this as a class. Mizzou has moved to an all-online platform for the next week as a precautionary measure. That means big changes for our newsroom, as we are moving to a mostly remote working-style.

I can’t lie, I am a little overwhelmed. I get a news alert every 15 minutes about how the situation is changing, and it is very nervewracking to be so far away from my family at this time of uncertainty. But I saw a tweet yesterday that made me think about this situation in a different way.

Schools are closing, sporting events are being canceled, and flights and travel are being suspended. And naturally, we are covering it. This is huge news, there is no other way around it. And it is so overwhelming. The public is, well, freaking out. Everyone doesn’t know what to expect next, but I think there is a lot of hope in this situation that is going unseen.

These changes, although they can seem overdramatic, are a form of national solidarity. We are taking preventative measures to combat this situation escalating, and I think that is pretty great even if it is tough in the short term. People are saying that the media is making it seem more intense, but that is not “the media’s” intention (I could write a whole other blog on that phrase but that’s for a later date). We are covering this to keep people informed, give them the best medically-backed advice we can, and explaining how these actions, although scary, are for a common good to “flatten the curve”.

I want to end this post by saying one last thing. Staying informed is important, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say that staying informed on such a scary topic has effects on your mental health. A lot of my friends are nervous and I don’t blame them. Sometimes you need to mute your notifications, step away from the screen and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. Stay up to date, but don’t forget to surround yourself with things that make you feel good.

Take care of yourself, mentally and physically. We will get through this together!

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