From Wuhan to Milan to Qom to Seattle, coronavirus has arrived. As of March 9, 34 states and the District of Columbia have already reported cases of the virus, and 19 people in the U.S. have died from the disease. Though officials are still working to determine exactly how the disease spreads, they are certain that it is very contagious. These facts are daunting, but besides washing your hands, the staff at the Kaimin encourages you not to panic.

Eight pages in this week’s issue will provide the naked data and necessary information about the most internationally taxing disease since the Ebola outbreak of 2014. The stories also reveal the work that’s been done to ensure that when the disease reaches Missoula (and that is a when), weeks of preparation from administrators, doctors, professors and students will soften the blow.

Since the World Health Organization recognized COVID-19 as a potential worldwide threat in January, UM has not been idle.

A campus task force has been mobilized to keep campus leaders in touch with state and local experts tracking the disease. Contingency plans have been administered in case classes and some trips abroad are canceled. Meanwhile, concerts have still sold out, movie theaters remain open and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around Missoula will still be held over spring break. 

Reporting on the coronavirus is the obligation of any paper, and it isn’t for clicks. Nothing contained here has been sensationalized. Accurate and timely reporting, combined with prompt responses from the administration will have the manifold effect of telling this campus what its leaders have been doing with their time for the past three months and combating readers’ impulses to panic.

That panic can translate to spreading gossip just as contagious as a virus. It leads to the compulsive and unnecessary stockpiling of toilet paper and even indulging in xenophobic impulses to associate certain countries with certain diseases. We’ve got the cure for that contained here. 

Again, wash your hands, and read on.