I guess it could be my age showing here but… many of us believe that, despite the current virus raging through the world, the Coronavirus is still FAR from the world’s most lethal pandemic. It just seems that way because there is a 24/7 frenzy about it.
Yes, people are taking enormous precautions — and that is good — but the breathless panic does seem a bit overblown to many.
As those of us who were born in the early sixties remember, we grew up as mankind’s ancient scourge of polio was just beginning to be wiped off the face of the earth, and we lived through the SARS, MERS, Swine flu and bird flu epidemics/pandemics — among others. We feel fairly sure that we, and the rest of the vast majority of people today, will survive just fine through all this.
Although the virulence of this new virus is worse than the usual wintertime flu, the actual numbers of dead from the annual flu dwarf those who have succumbed to Covid-19; and what’s more, we believe this will continue to be true.
Is this pandemic dangerous? Of course it is. Is it going to affect the economy? It is. But this is not the end of the world as we know it.
For a little historical perspective, the SARS virus had a fatality rate of 9.63% and the MERS virus had one of 34.45%. The Swine flu caused 12,469 deaths in the US and a total of 575,400 worldwide. And the bottom of the world’s economy did not fall out during those times.
Let’s all just take a breath and step back a bit from the 24/7 media frenzy. It is a part of human nature to want to be part of the herd, to not be left behind. But remember, this herd mentality can lead us off a cliff too.
The world faces similar emergencies pretty much every 5-10 years due to the constant mutation of viruses. In our opinion, there is no need to exaggerate the threat quite as much as is being done today.
Yes, it now appears to be true that the virus can live in aerosol form in the air for three hours and on surfaces for three days. That is cause for some major, and ongoing, disinfection and spring cleaning in our homes and public places.
And because the virus is especially dangerous to the elderly, without question, they must be protected.
One of our writers remembers the 2003 SARS outbreak very well, actually being diagnosed with that flu himself. Schools had closed for a month back then in Greece (15 days + 15 days off for Easter); that situation was very similar to what we face today. Who on earth remembers this now? No one. That’s why we think we need to put everything into perspective.
Yes, of course we need to be extremely careful, and not spread it to the elderly. And this virus does seem to be more easily spread due to its aerosolization and ability to live on surfaces. But the virulence of the coronavirus is so much less than some of these other pandemic viruses that we have lived through before.
As to the reasons exactly why so many are losing their minds – here are a few, gleaned from some astute observers of society today.
Twenty-four hour, mega-hyped Coronavirus headlines with bright red graphics and banners.
So-called news outlets designing and building Coronavirus sets and backdrops to get people to watch.
Scrolling headlines identifying the latest cases and deaths.
Nonstop discussions with experts with differing opinions.
The media focusing on the deaths — and never mentioning the recoveries.
This is fear-mongering on a billion-dollar budget.
Like it or not, the media, especially television, is the real controlling force in our world today, and the coronavirus seems to be a very lucrative disease for the networks.
Watching these nonstop, breathless warnings and dire predictions can lead to being excessively focused on oneself and one’s own family, to the detriment of others — the same mentality of feeling that it is justified to hoard everything within sight. This is a danger to ourselves and to the fabric of our society.
Ultimately, obsessively trying to kill every single germ that is in our vicinity is a game we cannot win, because no matter how many precautions we take, how many surfaces we disinfect — we simply cannot control everything.
Wash your hands, wipe down doorknobs and handles, cover your coughs and sneezes and stay home if you are sick or have been around someone that is sick. Social distancing, staying a meter away from others while we are in public, is a great idea right now.
And by all means, obey any and all travel restrictions that have been put in place for the good of everyone.
But there is no need for blind, apocalyptic panic — or mindless hoarding — whatsoever.
We must try to keep our economies going as much as we possibly can, through whatever means we can, while still obeying all the restrictions placed on us.
The world is not coming to an end, we will get through this — and we will learn a great deal in the process.