Seriously. I have no idea what to think about all of this panic over this new corona virus. I say new, because, well, as I have been informed recently, what we refer to as the common cold is a form of corona virus. No, oi’m not a medical practitioner and I don’t pretend to know what the possible consequences of this virus may become in the future. But the amount of panic that seems to be around tells me one of two things: We’re either being lied to by representatives of the government (CDC, NIH) or it’s as they say; an unknown right now that will probably end up affecting a lot of people in the US that many will not know that they’ve had the virus at all.
I recently watched a documentary on probably the worst pandemic in modern history: The Spanish Flu. this was a virus that infected (in 1918) as many as 500 million people worldwide and is estimated, on the low end, to have killed 20 million people (50 million on the upper end. No one knows for sure). World population in 1918? 1.8 billion. Of course, medicine has come a long way in the past century and just the fact they we can all be instantly notified of a new virus spreading and receive information about it on a daily basis is good news. That governments, worldwide are taking this seriously is also good, but if we can believe anything of what we’re told, it doesn’t appear that we’re going to experience anything like 1918. It’s early though (see what I did there?) and I’m not suggesting that people not take steps to prevent being infected, just not to panic.
already, events have been cancelled. The SXSW conference that happens every year in Austin, Texas? Cancelled. Some 400,000 people visit Austin during this event. Imagine the impact to the local economy. I heard where the NCAA is considering what do do about the big tournament known as March Madness. In some countries in Europe, during football (soccer) season, I’ve heard reports of not cancelling games, but playing them in closed stadiums. No fans. Is all of this an over reaction? It seems to be to me but people are afraid of this new unknown and no pne wants to see mass casualties in any of their cities. How this shakes out won’t be known for a while but watching this dominate every news cycle recently is worrisome. We, in the US at least, don’t have numbers of people hospitalized and the deaths attributed to this virus, tragic as it is, has been small.
We have, yearly, a larger threat to life. Yes, it’s the seasonal flu virus. I caught this from this CDC site:
CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths from flu. Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza.
Anyone panicked over that? Of course, we have treatments and every year there’s a new vaccine produced to help fight it and still, a lot of hospitalizations and way too many deaths. But mainly, I believe, due to the knowledge that at minimum, we can go to the drug store and get an over the counter flu medication is why people go about their lives during flu season. Right now, with what is being referred to as COVID-19? Well, yes, information is out there but are there more specific treatments beyond using our regular cold/fl treatments? As far as can be determined, to date, that’s the indications we will have.
What bothers me about all of this is the way it’s being presented in the media. There are at least 2 news channels that are reporting with a degree of glee: not over the deaths, but over the fact that this virus may push the US – actually the world – into an economic recession thereby ensuring Trump’s non-reelection. No, seriously, I’ve actually seen some on these channels actually rooting for a serious economic downturn to affect an election. What this means is actually cheering for misery for people around the world. It’s pathetic and despicable.
It’s okay to be concerned because we still don’t know everything about this virus, but if it’s true that most people will be none to mildly affected, after contracting it, why are events being cancelled, companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, are telling their workers to work from home In one case, an entire church (some 500 people) were placed under quarantine due to the priest having contracted the virus. A lot to learn, but I still believe there’s no reason, at least now, to panic. Take precautions? Yes. I dislike becoming even mildly ill as I’m sure most people do and it only makes sense to be cautious. That doesn’t mean we all should isolate ourselves from one another in our individual homes. Just as anyone during a seasonal flu outbreak, we should act accordingly.