How Decaturish plans to cover coronavirus and how you can help us
From the editor and publisher:
By the time you finish reading this (and by the time I finish writing and editing this), there will likely be several new articles published regarding the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
The story changes on an hourly basis and the pandemic has already begun to shape the contours of our public and civic life. Schools are canceling field trips and schools in Fulton County have shut their doors, at least temporarily. Our local officials are considering ways to hold meetings remotely and local businesses have been encouraging workers to stay home if they can. People have been stocking up on medicines, nonperishable foods and hand sanitizer. (There’s still plenty of soap on the shelves, though. Soap is important, too.)
While this is no time to be alarmist, it’s not a time to downplay the significance of what is happening. Yes, the flu causes deaths each year, but there’s an important difference: there’s a vaccine for the flu. There’s no vaccine for the coronavirus and that lack of communal immunity will put lives — particularly those of the elderly and people with underlying health conditions — at risk.
As a reporter and publisher, covering this story poses some unique challenges.
The Centers for Disease Control is in my back yard and many of its employees are our readers. I’m writing these stories knowing that the people reading it are infinitely more knowledgeable about the topic than I am. It’s a tall order, but thankfully the CDC has been doing a first-rate job of keeping us apprised of what’s happening.
There’s a lack of message coordination among our local elected officials. While the city of Atlanta is testing virtual meetings and issuing orders to halt water service disconnections, DeKalb County and its cities have taken a mostly wait-and-see approach. I am not in a position to judge whether Atlanta’s aggressive approach is better than DeKalb’s restrained approach. But the lack of message coordination among our local government entities creates confusion, which leads to uncertainty. And when people are uncertain, it creates fear and fear causes people to do irrational things.
It also makes it harder for me to keep my readers informed.
Decaturish.com is working to keep your community informed about coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. All of our coverage on this topic can be found at Decaturishscrubs.com. If you appreciate our work on this story, please become a paying supporter. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us keep you in the loop about what your community is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19. To become a supporter, click here.
Then there’s the absolute glut of information I’m receiving, some of it redundant, some of it frivolous and some of it chilling. With all due respect to Gov. Brian Kemp, if you’re going to set up a special quarantine zone for COVID-19 patients, could you do it someplace that isn’t named Hard Labor Creek State Park? Or could you at least change the name to something less dystopian, like Happy Camp State Park?
School closures can be scary, too. There’s probably nothing more chilling to parents than the possibility of being trapped inside your homes with your kids for two weeks while you’re trying to work and no one can leave the house. After a week of that, parents might welcome a quiet quarantined vacation at Hard Labor Creek State Park.
Kidding aside, COVID-19 will test all of us. It will test our mindfulness and our patience. It will test the strength of our institutions. It will test the trust we place in each other.
It will test my ability to bring you the news. My focus will be local, first and foremost, but this is a global story and we will have to view it through that lens as well. I want to focus on the response of our local governments to this situation. I want to tell the stories of local people affected by this virus, whether they are patients, family members or businesses.
There are going to be days when it seems like coronavirus is the only thing that’s happening around here because there will be days where that is literally the case.
Here are ways you can help me help you stay informed as we move forward with our coverage:
– It will be critically important that readers act as my eyes and ears on this story and other local stories going on during this global event. Many of you already are passing along any information and tips that you have. For those wondering how to get tips to me, the best email address is email@example.com. That is the fastest way to reach me and it helps me keep track of the tips I receive.
– If you have any non-coronavirus story ideas, send those our way, too. If we’re all trapped indoors for a few weeks, we’ll need something to read.
– Given the pace and scope of this story, there will be mistakes in my coverage. I will strive to make zero factual mistakes (I have a rigorous fact-checking process), but unfortunately with the speed information is coming in and the conflicting information I am receiving, some errors will occur. I will correct them as quickly as possible. If you see any, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ditto for grammatical mistakes. I have a spelling and grammar checker — despite what some anonymous commenters will tell you — but they won’t catch everything. If you see something that doesn’t look quite right, please let me know at email@example.com so I can fix it.
– If you aren’t already a Decaturish supporter, now is a good time to start. Your support will help us continue to bring you information about this important story.
To chip in $3 a month, click here.
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To make a one-time, non-recurring contribution click here.
Some other resources for you:
– To help you keep track of the news on this story, I’ve created a separate URL for all of our COVID-19 coverage: Decaturishscrubs.com. All of our coronavirus stories will be found at this URL.
– If you’re looking for more info, the CDC is, as always, an invaluable source of information. For their webpage on coronavirus, click here.
– For a map of COVID-19 cases around the world, check out this map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
Please remember to support local businesses whenever you can. As a local business owner, I can tell you that the economic news doesn’t look good. If you’re feeling healthy and have the means, please give your business to our local job creators.
Above all, be kind and patient with each other. There’s going to be a lot of stress and anxiety in our community. Remember that you are not the only one dealing with it. And multiply that by 1,000 for our first responders, healthcare workers and neighbors working at the Health Department and CDC. They have their hands full. When you have a chance, buy them a cup of coffee and thank them for being here for this community when we need it.
I personally look forward to the day when this thing blows over and I can spend my time on more important matters, like making fun of the planters on West Howard Avenue.
If you value having local news that isn’t behind a paywall, consider becoming a supporter of Decaturish. Your support keeps the news free for everyone. For as little as $3 a month, you can help us tell the story of your community. To learn more, click here.
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