Washington Post

Letter from the editor

(Photo by Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post)
Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this story for free so that all readers have access to this important information about the coronavirus. For more free stories, sign up for our daily Coronavirus Updates newsletter.

Dear reader,

On January 8 this year, Washington Post reporters Gerry Shih and Lena Sun reported an outbreak of an “unidentified and possibly new viral disease in central China” that was sending alarms across Asia in advance of the Lunar New Year travel season.

Already, Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines were contemplating quarantine zones and scanning travelers from China for “signs of fever or other pneumonia-like symptoms that may indicate a new disease possibly linked to a wild animal market in Wuhan.”

Gerry is a correspondent for us in China, with extensive journalistic experience in the country. Lena, a former Beijing bureau chief for The Post, is a veteran national reporter covering health, with a particular focus on public health and infectious diseases. Both are fluent in Mandarin.

These two reporters launched our coverage of the coronavirus and the disease Covid-19, declared this month to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Lena and Gerry are emblematic of the highly skilled journalists The Washington Post has deployed to cover this complex, ever-expanding and profoundly serious story.

We have drawn on our entire staff – throughout the world and in the United States – to bring you essential health information and the latest news while also digging into the reasons for the rapid spread of this disease, the sometimes chaotic and counterproductive decision-making by governments and the impact on citizens and medical systems. Hundreds of our journalists have been enlisted in this effort, and they are working tirelessly around the clock.

As the spread of coronavirus has touched our beloved schools, our favorite sports teams, our places of work and prayer, our entertainment venues and our family incomes and investments – just about every aspect of our daily lives – we at The Post fully understand our responsibility to keep you informed. We also aim to keep close watch on what public officials, private companies, health providers and others are doing – or failing to do – to respond to a crisis of sprawling, unprecedented proportions.

I’m proud of the dedication and talent my colleagues have brought to this important story. They need stamina, too, and they have plenty of it. We’re prepared to cover every aspect of this story for a long period, with the clarity and command of the subject that is required.

Marty Baron, Washington Post executive editor. (Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post)

We are deeply grateful to our subscribers for making this coverage possible. The journalistic resources necessary are immense and growing, and we could not do our work without subscriber support. Because the health crisis is so urgent and is likely to spare no one, we have made a substantial portion of our coverage free to all. That includes our stories about core news developments as well as stories that communicate critical health information. We also offer a free newsletter with links to stories for which there is no charge. You can get that newsletter by signing up here.

News continues on many other fronts as well. There is a lot to cover, particularly in the midst of a presidential campaign and persistent foreign conflicts. We will stay on top of those stories with expertise and vigor.

For those of you who have yet to subscribe to The Post, I want to make you aware of our current introductory annual rate. At the price of eight cents a day, or $29 per year, you can have full access to our coverage of every subject.

I hope you’ll agree that a first-year subscription at that price is a bargain for journalism that is at the heart of our democracy and that is, especially now, vital to public health. You can subscribe here.

Thank you again for reading The Washington Post, and please stay safe and healthy during a period unlike any of us has ever seen before.

Sincerely,

Martin Baron, executive editor

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