These obviously aren’t normal times. The economy is teetering, election systems are straining, and hospitals are preparing for a deluge of cases. Many parts of society are shutting down, and many people are laid off or working from home, while others–like medical and delivery workers–are laboring in overdrive.
These drastic measures are necessary to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which has already claimed 66 lives and counting in Washington and threatens to spiral out of control without robust preventative measures.
Journalism plays critical role in the response. The Seattle Times has been a leader, making their online coronavirus coverage free to all regardless of whether they subscribe. Journalists have kept pumping out stories even as they work remotely to do their part to limit transmission of the virus through social distancing. It’s quite the service they’re doing and definitely a recommended resource in these trying times.
The Urbanist has also tried to play our part. We canceled our monthly meetup in March and will cancel our April meetup too the way things are going. We’ve had some stories about how coronavirus is affecting transit service and plans.
That said, we run on volunteer writers, so we want to be respectful of the fact that dealing with this crisis is draining and completing articles may slip on the list of priorities. Being productive amidst a pandemic is not easy, and we’ve advised our contributors they should take the time they need to process everything and relax and not feel pressure to write.
Given that reality, we wanted to advise our readers that our output may not be as steady as it traditionally has been. But we’re going to keep publishing stories as we’re able, and we want those stories to be high quality and engaging. The extra time should help.
As we discussed the issue internally, we also acknowledged that having something to think about and read about besides disease and governmental paralysis can be useful. We’ll try to line up some stories that may serve as a happy diversion or a comforting plan. But bear with us if the flow of articles is a bit erratic.
And most importantly of all, stay safe and do your part to limit transmission of the virus. You might expect to survive a coronavirus infection just fine, but our healthcare system is going to be stretched to its limit, so anything you can do to avoid acquiring or transmitting the virus will help us avoid overloading the system and causing people to miss the care they sorely need. People without symptoms can still spread the coronavirus.
Stay home as much as possible and within your six-foot personal bubble when in public. Wash your hands like it’s your job. We can overcome this challenge together.
Doug Trumm is the executive director of The Urbanist. An Urbanist writer since 2015, he dreams of pedestrianizing streets, blanketing the city in bus lanes, and unleashing a mass timber building spree to end the affordable housing shortage and avert our coming climate catastrophe. He graduated from the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington. He lives in East Fremont and loves to explore the city on his bike.