The Coronavirus Concern


The deadly Coronavirus depicted above. Image courtesy of the official website of the Military Health System.

Dannon Sanders, Writer

Because of today’s era of technology allowing for fast moving information and universal connection, global issues are amplified as well as the panic that accompanies them.

This is what is happening now with the emergence of the Coronavirus. It has swept the planet by storm, starting in China and working its way to most other countries. Because of this, people have resorted to fear, panic and borderline chaos. But not many people know the actual scale of the Coronavirus epidemic. So, how worried should we be about the Coronavirus?

For those who don’t know, the Coronavirus is a germ similar to other cold causing bacteria. However, since it is novel humans do not yet have an immunity to it. This means that anybody could be affected by it at some point, and would develop symptoms such as those similar to a fever, coughing, difficulty breathing and some people may even develop pneumonia.

To begin to understand how severe this threat is, it is important to first look at the actual statistics of the illness. Luckily, there have been many reliable news outlets that have done research and studies on the virus’ whereabouts and patterns. For instance, Erin Garcia de Jesus, Tina Hesman Saey and Jonathan Lambert in their article entitled “The Many Challenges of Corralling the Coronavirus” describe the urgency of the epidemic since it emerged in China about a month ago. So far, “there have been 4,587 confirmed cases of Coronavirus” and “at least 106-all in China- have died,” they reported.

The next step in weighing the urgency of the problem is to understand that those numbers serve only theoretical predictions, not likelihoods or probabilities. This is evident in the Updated: Your Most Urgent Questions About the New Coronavirus when Maimuna Majumder- a computational epidemiologist- explains that “almost no virus spreads as far as its possible limits.” This is important to calm people down and make them see that the Coronavirus isn’t quite as terrifying as people are making it seem. Another tactic in calming someone down over the statistics of the Coronavirus is comparing it to other well known diseases. For instance, while it is true that the Coronavirus has killed more than 106 people, the fact that the flu kills 60,000 people each year in the United States alone puts this epidemic in much needed perspective.

Now some people may still feel uneasy and afraid. However, the most important thing to remember in order to stay calm is that scientists are still learning about the virus. It is likely that eventually scientists will be able to find a cure for the virus. But, as Garcia De Jesus, Saey and Lambert explain, “For now, most cases [of the Coronavirus] have been mild.” As reported by the World Health Organization, only about one in five people suffer from severe symptoms after contracting the virus.

So, because of the relatively small numbers and room for further knowledge and discoveries, it is better to stay calm regarding the spread of the Coronavirus while also taking necessary precautions.