While there are no official reports of the coronavirus yet in Galveston County, like it or not, the effect of the crisis is rippling across the public psyche and grocery store aisles like roiling waves arriving hours ahead of an offshore storm.

Those of us who have lived along the coast for any period know approaching storms are a part of life. We also understand that how we prepare ourselves and act during an event is the most potent predictor of the outcome. In that, we should take comfort.

The coronavirus is real and, for many, extremely dangerous. According to The Wall Street Journal, the most significant risks are the higher rate of pass-along infection, the fact that the strain is new and most people do not have a built-up immunity to it, and the death rate appears to be significantly higher than seasonal flu and similar virus strains that have appeared before.

Health authorities don’t know with certainty what the mortality rate really is, however, because they don’t have a good handle on the infection rate. The mortality rate might ultimately turn out to be far lower than it appears to be now.

It’s also important to remember that medical experts say most healthy people can manage the virus successfully. The risk, medical officials point out, is to those with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems.

So, knowing this, what does this mean for us here in Galveston County?

This is the time for calm and responsible behavior. Just as residents here are known for their incredibly strong internal courage in the face of unknown outcomes or natural disasters, this is one of those moments.

Life can go on as usual, medical experts advise, with a few suggested precautions to protect ourselves and others. Wash your hands regularly, cover your cough, and if you feel poorly, be considerate and don’t risk spreading any type of cold. Pretty much what your mother always said.

There is most likely more ahead of us than behind us at this point. And officials are probably going to make decisions — and rightly so — based on an abundance of caution. The important thing is for us to listen for quality information and avoid spreading speculation and reckless what-ifs. I can assure you The Daily News will work with you to support this important principle.

Our community is known for grace under pressure — as Hurricane Harvey reaffirmed. People didn’t panic, pulled together to watch out for one another, and the best of our character rose to the surface. While it was one of our worst days, it was also one of our finest.

Let’s make sure we do not fall short of this well-earned reputation.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

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(3) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] And don't forget to support your local restaurants and businesses who may be stressed by travel restrictions. Check and see if your workplace allows you to gift spare sick days to the few who will really need them.

Tony Brown

If I understand it correctly, the current actions are designed to "stagger" exposure, so that health care providers/facilities are not overwhelmed if everyone is infected at once. Assuming that's correct - will the "dead stop" in staying home from work, school, sports, etc. cause everyone to become infected at once, at a later date, when everyone returns to work, school, etc.?

Bailey Jones

That's a question I have as well. China is about to conduct that experiment. Their case rate has leveled off and schools and businesses are reopening.

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