Just when you thought the world had enough to worry about with climate change, income inequality, and corruption, coronavirus dropped a whole new set of problems on our doorstep. There have been more than 395,000 confirmed cases and over 17,800 deaths thus far. To make matters worse, many experts believe that these numbers drastically underestimate the spread of coronavirus.
According to preliminary estimates, the death rate of coronavirus appears to be somewhere between 1-3%, which is significantly higher than the death rate of influenza (0.1%). With these frightening statistics in mind, one important question remains: should we be panicking about coronavirus?
Should we panic about coronavirus?
The answer to this question is complicated. There’s no doubt that the coronavirus is a serious epidemic that will have far-reaching effects. So, as a society, we should absolutely worry about coronavirus.
Without a global initiative to prevent the spread of coronavirus, tens of thousands of people could die. Governments must work together to limit exposure through regulated travel, quarantine, and human coronavirus vaccine research. Coronavirus transmission has already happened quickly, with cases appearing in most major countries. At this point, preventing further cases is the number one priority.
While a global response is necessary, panic about the coronavirus could cause unnecessary harm. For example, many Asian citizens around the world have already faced harsh discrimination in the wake of the coronavirus. Additionally, travel bans could prevent unaffected individuals from escaping high-risk areas. As a result, any plan for dealing with the coronavirus must be reasoned and well-researched.
Should YOU panic about coronavirus?
While governments and health organizations must worry about the coronavirus, individuals should be a little more measured in their response. After all, there are about 7.7 billion people on the planet and just 95,000 confirmed cases so far. This means that your chances of catching coronavirus are about 1 in 80,000. However, your risk of catching the virus could either go up or down depending on where you live, how much you travel, and certain sanitary considerations (washing hands, practicing respiratory hygiene, etc).
Moreover, even if you were to catch the coronavirus, your chances of recovering are very high, especially if you have access to proper medical treatment. That said, there are certain factors that can cause the coronavirus to become fatal. For example, if you live in a remote region with unsanitary conditions or inadequate medical access, your chances of survival will greatly decrease. Additionally, the elderly and people with weak immune systems are considered “high-risk” patients.
So, this still begs the question: should YOU panic about the coronavirus? To summarize, you should really only worry about the coronavirus if you or a loved one fit into two or more of the following categories:
- Elderly (65 or older)
- Weak immune system
- Inadequate access to healthcare
- Proximity to high-risk regions or communities
- Frequent exposure to sick individuals
- Inability to access clean water or engage in good sanitary practices
If you or a loved one do NOT fall into two or more of the categories above, you really shouldn’t panic about the coronavirus. It is a serious medical condition that requires a serious response, but sitting around worrying about your personal safety is unnecessary if the chances of catching coronavirus are very, very small.
If you’d like to learn more about coronavirus treatment, preventative measures, and the ongoing global response, consult the World Health Organization Coronavirus Info Page.