Coronavirus : A topical social insight

By: muri

You have probably felt anxiety to some degree about the recent, promptly named, COVID-19. Many people, from low to high socioeconomic status, have proclaimed great worry and horror about this most recent outbreak. Religious organizations call is “the Tribulation”, historians call it “century repeating virus infestation”, all leaving us hopelessly worried this will be the final nail in our coffins. Now, while there is certainly room for concern, there is also a great amount of people looking to remain calm and rational during such times. I’m hoping by sharing some information with you, you wont allow the mob mentality of fear mongering to captain your decision-making ship.

Let’s get started by listing the general statistics by the US CDC report on March 20th 2020:
~The CDC & The John Hopkins Center of Health Security offers a glimpse into our nations pulse.~

It may be very concerning to see numbers in the tens of thousands, but these numbers mean only 0.003 of the US population has been officially deemed infected. I predict this wont be another Swine flu (between 2009-2010 ~200k deaths), more like another Ebola.

"Scary at first, sensationalized to hell, dies out without a whimper."

This change in perspective, going from a top-bottom approach to a bottom-up approach, shows that the vast majority of mainstream media fueled fear is based on the top-bottom approach (metaphorically, zooming in on a sharp downward curve on a graph). 0.003% of the US population (even lower for world population). It’s a sensationalized market, and it’s showing to be very profitable for people looking to sell any form of disinfectants (see two paragraphs down on panic buying).

Following such fanatical reporting, a surge in do-it-yourself miracle “cures” have scattered around social media.

Drinking Chlorine Dioxide (used in bleach), snorting certain illegal substances ending with “ain”, drinking strong alcohol (most cases found in the middle east, since alcohol is banned in countries such as Iran, is usually manufactured and sold by unlicensed practitioners on the black market), all proven to be either fatal or very destructive. So this sensationalism isn’t just effecting dehumanized stocks, it’s effecting human lives.

So what have we done in response? We panic bought.

Rationally so, we rushed to our local grocery stores and stocked up on Toilet paper, among other items like canned foods and bread. With this being said, let me propose something somewhat counter-intuitive. Panic buying isn’t the reason for the toilet paper crisis. The vast majority of states have Anti price gouging laws in place, so in a state of declared emergency, prices are essentially frozen. This may sound nice, prices wont sky-rocket in price and leave a lot of people without resources. But this positive has an equally negative effect. Because everyone can afford toilet paper, they get swiped off the shelves within days, if not hours. This has happened in pretty much every historical case of emergency, and this is no exception.

In summary, we live in an era of modern medicine, education on virus’s, and a massive books filled with laws and regulations to keep us mostly safe. Whenever these pandemics happen in the modern world, the effects are not nearly as detrimental as the loudest voice in the room (mass media) claims it to be, and most certainly aren’t as deadly or catastrophic as historical outbreaks have been.

The best way to protect and prevent is very simple: wash your hands, stay away from large group settings, and for gods’ sake avoid getting caught up in panic and mass hysteria.