I honestly cannot wrap my head around what is happening right now.

I am not sure anyone can.

In an effort to not panic or have an all-out massive anxiety attack, I have tried to keep my outlook on this whole coronavirus pandemic lighthearted. That is not to say I am not taking it seriously, I am. As an asthmatic, trust me, I am taking it very seriously.

But for my own sanity, I need to not get caught up in all the fear and hype. My mental well-being can’t take it.

And as much as I am trying not to panic, I have had my moments.

One minute, I feel calm and at ease. And then, BAM!, my heart starts rapidly beating, my palms start sweating, my breaths become shallow and my head feels dizzy like it’s going to explode. My mind races a mile a minute and my body feels like I am trying to run a marathon with an Olympic runner but I can’t quite keep that pace.

Trying to keep up with this ever-changing monster is hard and stressful.

In one breath, as a reporter, I want to make sure our readers know what is going on locally, and then in another, I don’t want to be a reason somebody else panics.

I know we need to get accurate information out there, but everything is changing so quickly. I don’t want readers to place us in the “fake news” category or lump us together with the untrusted “media” category.

I want people to know they can look to the Echo Press for up-to-date, accurate information. We are a trusted news source for our community and I, along with the rest of the Echo Press staff, want to keep it that way. We have amazing local sources who we can trust to get us the information we need to inform the public.

But as this monster called the coronavirus keeps changing so gosh darn quickly, it is just so hard for everyone at this moment.

On Tuesday afternoon, I was deemed the “purveyor of cancellations, postponements and closings.” This means trying to make sure our website is updated with the latest news from our community partners and businesses.

My email notifications were off the charts. There are so many entities being impacted by the coronavirus. I feel so sorry for all those affected. The headaches and worry and stress it is causing is unfathomable.

The phrase I keep hearing from so many right now is, “We are in uncharted waters,” and I couldn’t agree more. No one has been through this before. We are all just doing the best we can. Although I do have to admit stocking up on toilet paper is a little out there for me. But I guess if that is what people feel they need to do, so be it. I am not here to judge. I don’t think anyone really knows how to act in a situation like this.

This is hard on everyone. I truly don’t think for a second there isn’t one person who hasn’t been impacted by the news of the coronavirus in some way, shape or form. But the thing we need to do, myself included, is to try and remain as calm as possible. Don’t panic. Just take some deep breaths. It is all going to work out – or at least that is my hope and plan.

We can all get through this. We just need to practice patience. We need to be kind to one another. We shouldn’t be placing blame on anyone. And please, please only share accurate information. Don’t give in to the rumors.

And lastly, if you have information to share, feel free to reach out to me – not literally, though. You know, it’s that whole social distancing thing and all.

OK, in all seriousness, you truly can contact me. Send an email to me at cedenloff@echopress.com.

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