Spoiler alert: I’m not freaking out about the Coronavirus. I refuse to give into the hysteria that has led to hand sanitizer shortages and price gouging. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s important to alert the public about the virus and to minimize its spread. That’s right, I said minimize its spread. I fully accept the Coronavirus will spread. I’m not going to panic though.
Why not? Panicking ALWAYS makes things worse. Case in point…the stock market is crashing and just saw its greatest weekly loss since the 2008 financial crisis because people are envisioning Coronavirus doomsday scenarios. Coronavirus isn’t new, albeit the current strain of it is. I get it. Thousands of people have died and the virus has spread from China to countries on most continents. The Washington Post recently reported China just had its lowest monthly manufacturing numbers on record. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Americans are going to have a harder time finding the products we usually buy and American companies with factories in China will see a drop in sales. That doesn’t fully explain the stock market plummeting though. People panicking does.
When it comes to Coronavirus, this mama bear just needs to know that her kids will be okay. That’s the bottom line. If the reported Coronavirus numbers are accurate, there is a ridiculously good chance my kids are going to be fine even if they contract the Coronavirus. So will the rest of us. To date, the death rate that keeps being floated for COVID-19 (the disease Coronavirus causes) is about 2%. That’s not great, but it’s hardly horrible. Here’s the good news—that stat includes people with the most severe cases that died in the Hubei province of China. The New York Times reports the death rate of COVID-19 outside of the Hubei province is 0.4%, noting the death rate from the flu is 0.1%. So our chances of dying from COVID-19 aren’t much higher than our chances of dying from the flu?
And what public health advice have we received about Coronavirus? Wash our hands and stay home if we are sick. THAT’S IT? Aren’t we supposed to do that when we are sick anyway? Wait, who am I kidding? That’s not going to happen. In fact, that has been my parent pipedream since my kids started school years ago and regularly contracted the viruses of the kids that go to school snotty-nosed, constantly coughing, and fever-ridden. Shout out to all the parents who send their sick kids to school, by the way. SERIOUSLY, YOU ROCK! (I apologize for the unnecessary salty snark, but I happen to be writing this as I nurse my youngest son back to health from his second virus in three weeks.) If past behavior is a predictor of future behavior, people will continue to go to work sick and they will send their kids to school sick. If they have the Coronavirus, there is a good chance some of us are going to get it. We will likely have mild to moderate cases and most of us will be fine. Hopefully a vaccine will be developed at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Can we all just calm down already?
Full disclosure: I am not freaking out about Coronavirus, but I am prepared. My shelves are stocked with a two week supply of non-perishable foods (and toilet paper!) in case community isolation to contain the virus becomes prevalent in my area. I also bought extra Tylenol in case someone in my house gets sick and needs a fever reducer. Beyond that, I’m not investing in the Coronavirus craziness.
Wash our hands. Stay home when we’re sick. Buy some non-perishable foods. We can handle this.