It was an international story at first — an Associated Press headline in January about a virus in China, a spike in infections, and the effect on the world’s second-largest economy. Within a couple of weeks there were five cases in the United States. While none was confirmed in Massachusetts, health officials were on watch for people with symptoms.

It all seems so distant now, especially those assurances that we were at “low risk” for contracting the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. How naive we were, a little more than a month ago, to the reach this disease would have and the local story it would become.

Since the second week of March, we’ve focused our reporting efforts on the local impact of COVID-19. Day after day, we have published countless stories and photos about this virus and its effect on the North Shore.

Most of our families and friends have been isolated as a precaution, with schools, workplaces and businesses closed to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread. Our staff has stayed on the job, though, even if removed from our newsrooms. We have not strayed from our commitment to report the news accurately, send it to your devices and desktops, and deliver it to your doorsteps.

The governor rightfully deemed our media business “essential” when forcing others to close. Indeed, we know the news we provide — be it a City Hall announcement or hospital update — is essential to the community.

Our committed journalists are reporting the crisis from all aspects, from Julie Manganis’ account of the virus spreading through group homes for the disabled; to Ethan Forman’s story on school nurses tracking cases throughout Peabody; to Paul Leighton’s report of synagogues and churches canceling Passover and Easter services and, in some cases, planning virtual celebrations.

All of us are invested at all levels of our operation — from the reporter who makes the initial phone call, to the pressman who prints the newspaper, to the carrier who delivers the The Salem News at your door.

Certainly our business is affected by this emergency, as so many others are. And that is why we’ve asked — and are asking again — that those reading who are not subscribers to please sign up at www.salemnews.com/subscriptions or call (800) 836-7800.

And to our loyal subscribers, a sincere thank you for sticking with us during these tough times.

We thank you for reading us, and for supporting us, as we stay focused on reporting vital, verified details about how this massive global story is affecting our communities and our region.

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