Texans, don’t cower over coronavirus. Be patient and generous, and help the vulnerable.

It would be easy to already be cynical about the coronavirus, the government response and the closures and cancellations that seem to come minute by minute. We’ve seen failures and slow responses at all levels of government.

But it was still extraordinary to see, over the course of just a few hours, officials at the federal, state and local levels declare broad emergencies or disasters.

After several days of surreal developments, the scope of what may lie ahead is setting in. As a nation and in our communities, we face weeks, if not months, of uncertainty and fear. We could be in for significant economic disruption. At a minimum, we’re all bound to develop severe cases of cabin fever.

In times like this, we think first of ourselves and our families. That’s natural and appropriate. But this moment calls for each of us to be bigger and more generous than usual. We must rally in particular to protect the most vulnerable: the elderly, the isolated, the lonely.

Gov. Greg Abbott and other state officials leading the virus response outlined this effectively Friday. Issuing a statewide declaration of disaster, Abbott asked for “all Texans to do their part to help the state respond to this situation.”

What he could have said is simply: “Don’t be selfish.”

STOP HOARDING SUPPLIES

Take, for instance, the frenzied buying of supplies we’ve seen. There’s no reason to think we won’t be able to get toilet paper, bottled water or food in the next few weeks. But news cameras and social media have captured people loading as if a hurricane were coming.

“Hoarding is neither necessary or productive,” Abbott said.

Tip restaurant workers as generously as you can, because the volume of their business will surely be down. If you can, give to museums, theater groups and other local arts institutions that will be hurt if they have to close.

And if you can help parents of school-age children, do so. Some may need a hand with child care and, if they face lost wages, putting food on the table. They’re facing weeks without school, with limited options to entertain the kids. Even libraries will be closed, so acute boredom will set in soon.

We’re all in this together. In one way or another, we’re all going to suffer. Even those who don’t get sick are going to go a little stir crazy. The loss of sports and spring festivals — and the monotony of spending day after day mostly stuck in the house — are going to give many of us short fuses.

Resolve now to try to be patient and to help others who need it most.

—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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