The flu is remarkably bad this year.

I know that’s an understatement and no surprise to anyone who has been paying even a little bit of attention, but I felt stating it directly was the best way to start this column.

We’ve run numerous stories on how it’s impacting the local communities, what people need to know about the virus and tips for how to get through it. But it’s running wild throughout the area and doesn’t look likely to slow down anytime soon.

When the Gunter Independent School District and Bonham Independent School District cancelled classes earlier this month for about a week to give students and faculty a chance to recuperate and clean the schools, I was shocked. I hadn’t heard of schools doing that before and I knew this was no laughing matter.

I got my flu shot at the beginning of the season, but I worried about my health as I kept hearing about people getting sick despite getting the shot. I figured it was only a matter of time before someone infected me since I work with a group of reporters who regularly go to schools and public meetings, and my wife is a teacher with very young students.

I asked whether we could close down for a week, or at least work from home, but ws given “no” responses to both questions as news never stops and most meetings are really hard to cover without actually being in the room.

I read the other day that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the flu is widespread in 46 of the country’s 50 states and more than 100 people have already died from the disease, so this is not a topic that’s going away anytime soon.

Most everyone in the newsroom has fought illnesses over the past few months and we’re all doing OK, but if one of us does catch it, hopefully we can knock it out early and not let it spread any further.

Happy birthday Tuesday to Bryan Armstrong of Pottsboro; and Kenneth Farrington of Gainsville.