Photo: RNZ - AFP / Anadolu Agency

Keep calm and corona on

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With Covid-19 fears spreading throughout the region, Weekly editor Charles Anderson calls for some calm, care and perspective on the global saga.

Uncertainty breeds anxiety.

We have seen that these past weeks as the Covid-19 pandemic escalates around the world and is starting to feel closer and closer to home.

Despite that, there are some that would suggest to carry on our lives as normal.

But listen to any experts and they will say – more measures are better than none and acting quickly and decisively is the only way to get ahead of such an exponentially growing spread.

There are no perfect decisions in this game, only decisions.

While news of events being cancelled will disappoint, it is undoubtedly the right thing to do.

Even if such measures prove to be an overreaction, they will have been the right measures.

Because no one wants to push ‘business as usual’ and then be responsible for something going wrong.

However, there is a difference between decisiveness and panic.

One is based on the best available information from experts. This includes washing your hands, not shaking hands, using hand sanitizer, avoiding large gatherings of people and having plans in place for business disruption or working from home.

The other is based off raw emotion and hysteria – acting irrationally because you see someone else doing it, therefore you feel like you need to follow the crowd.

This includes buying up dozens of packs of toilet paper and hand sanitiser even when supermarkets have said there will be no supply issues on these products.

Supply issues, in this case, are caused when people panic buy, not because supply chains are interrupted.

People, not pandemics, can be the cause of more, unneeded, issues.

So, what can we do?

It is likely that this situation will not be resolved soon. Listen to experts and we are likely talking at least several months, if not longer.

Because uncertainty breeds anxiety, make sure you are looking out for one another. Make sure people don’t feel alone, even if they have to self-isolate. Take breaks from social media.

The cancellations of large gatherings, like Walk for Life and the Nelson Market, will likely be the beginning of further recommendations to social distance.

But while we may have to work from home, we may have to have our kids home from school, and we may need to adapt quickly to a new lifestyle, we can still help each other.

We can still support local enterprises – buy from locally-owned shops and businesses where you can.

Many will still sell their products online, even if they can’t hold stalls at the Nelson Market, for example.

When things start to settle down, because they will, maybe we should be spending our recreational dollar on companies that can offer experiences around our own region, rather than jetting off around the country or even the world.

Most of all, if you are unwell do not go out and they do not put others at risk.

Start pretending that you have the illness and imagine what measures you would take to stop infecting others.

This whole saga will require us to rethink our business as normal lives.

We will all get through this. We don’t need to panic, but we do need to act.