Keep calm, take a breath and wash your hands.

The ongoing spread of the coronavirus has heads spinning, markets plunging, countries shutting down and cities calling in the National Guard. COVID-19 is scary and needs to be taken seriously. But hysteria and panic are not necessary.

Coronaviruses are common throughout the world. This new one that surfaced in late 2019 has spread to what some are calling pandemic level. Yet, the risk is still relatively low for the majority of the population.

Panic won’t help, nor will it change the spread of

COVID-19. While San Bernardino County, including Big Bear, has not had any reported cases as of this writing, that could change by the time you read this editorial. That doesn’t mean you need to isolate yourself, wrap your children in a bubble or consider building a bunker and hide away from the world.

Take the disease seriously. Use precautions, all of which you should have been doing anyway. Wash your hands, avoid people who are ill, stay home when sick, avoid touching your face and eyes, which we agree is hard to do. Just be sensible.

Wipe down surfaces as you normally would do with disinfectant wipes. Cough or sneeze into your elbow. Consider waves, yoga bows or a curtsey instead of handshakes. Rethink travel plans that involve large crowds, airplanes and definitely cruise ships for now.

While the need to self-quarantine may appear at some point in your life, we don’t appear headed for the apocalypse. The need to stock up on toilet paper seems a little far fetched. If you want to become a prepper overnight, do your homework before raiding the market shelves for supplies you may never need but someone else does.

If you have questions, ask the experts. There are countless areas where solid information can be found, including the San Bernardino County Public Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

Links to all these organizations can be found on our website, the city of Big Bear Lake and the Bear Valley Unified School District websites, along with many more.

Use common sense and wash your hands.

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