Common sense, not panic, needed

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“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

- Ben Franklin

Amen, Ben.

The last few days have been surreal.

Unprecedented precautionary moves locally, regionally and nationally could be considered “knee-jerk” reactions as awareness heightens about the COVID-19 pandemic.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper directed that all K-12 public schools across the state close their doors until March 30 due to the coronavirus. He issued an executive order to stop mass gatherings of more than 100 people.

Cooper’s decision came days after local officials in Wayne County canceled the 34th N.C. Pickle Festival and the Daffodil Festival. University of Mount Olive extended its spring break and moved its student-seated courses to an online format.

It’s understandable these officials are taking seriously the health and well-being of people within their respective communities.

There has been one presumptive case of COVID-19 in Wayne County. That resident is quarantined and has displayed mild symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not confirmed the test results.

North Carolina has more than 30 confirmed cases.

COVID-19 could be fatal to those who have compromised immune systems, particularly the elderly. The virus includes symptoms comparable to a cold, but also induces shortness of breath, which usually indicates pneumonia.

In social settings, we are asked to stay six feet away from other people whenever possible. We need to wash our hands with soap and water, use hand sanitizer and practice proper etiquette ­— cough or sneeze into our elbow.

The CDC says to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

If you show any signs of illness, stay home.

In other words, use common sense.

There’s no need to raid either grocery stores or your local Walmart of hand sanitizers, bottled water and brawl over the last roll of toilet paper.

Make sure you stock up on compassion, instead.

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