Photo courtesy / Jose E. Rodriguez
Public panics over coronavirus
March 16, 2020
Coronavirus, COVID-19, the new epidemic sweeping the world, a danger reminiscent of Ebola a few years ago. Will this one stay or go? What will happen to our world? Is this the end of an era of humanity? Maybe it is too dramatic, too drastic to say, but the same thing was said with Ebola. The misinformation in the news is surging, with speculation over whether China is taking care of its citizens or not. As news and propaganda of the coronavirus circulates, people begin to overreact. They panic. Panic buying is occurring as of now, with stores shelves of sanitizers and masks and toilet paper completely sold out. This scramble to live, as reasonable as it may seem, is an overreaction to the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing hands and avoiding shaking hands with people. Sick people should wear a face mask. The ones most at risk are usually ones with weaker immune systems, so rather than panicking, people should help those most at risk at bettering their chances of survival, especially through social distancing. The overreaction over coronavirus, as scary as it may seem, will be resolved through cooperation and keeping calm -which the United States has not exactly accomplished. China, too, is still faltering. An event in history reminiscent of this was the 1918 influenza outbreak, which killed around 50 million people. It’s 102 years later and a different type of virus, but the same panic remains.
According to NPR, Texas-based company Prestige Ameritech has gotten requests for a billion and a half masks. The surgical mask supply went from being 90% US-made to being 95% foreign-made in one year. The vice president of the company, Mike Bowen, tried to get the government to pay attention to this issue. He wrote letters to Presidents Obama and Trump, warning that an epidemic could cause China to stop exporting its supply, leaving American health care in a bad situation. The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against panic buying and making irrational decisions, such as buying out all of the supplies at stores: toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, food, and the like.
Coronavirus, it seems, is a virus that will be controlled once the government is able to mobilize the healthcare industry in a more effective way – and the people are able to organize. There is no division in fighting a disease; it is a combined effort of humanity to erase something that seems so detrimental. History repeats itself over and over till humanity learns from it. The past is our teacher, and we can shape the future.