The coronavirus has our country in some serious trouble, folks. The cause isn’t the virus itself, which can be deadly for sure, but the hysteria, which has approached near panic, in too many aspects of our lives. 

There is a pandemic of fear permeating the world and it leaves one with the impression that if we ever have a pandemic like the flu of 1918, which killed over 25 million people in just 25 weeks, we’d have a near-total breakdown of civilization.

Look at what is going on in the United States right now: Schools are being put on hiatus, despite the fact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) affects only about 3 percent of the children under 20 years of age. How many children are stricken with the flu every year?

In the U.S. as of Friday, there were 1,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 41 confirmed deaths. The vast majority of the dead were elderly and/or those who had compromised respiratory systems.

By comparison, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that so far just this season there have been at least 22,000 deaths, 370,000 hospitalizations, and 36 million infections attributed to the flu.

The 2019-2020 influenza outbreak is moderate to low in overall severity, but hospitalization rates are high, especially among children and young adults.

“Rates for children 0-4 years and adults 18-49 years are now the highest CDC has on record for these age groups, surpassing rates reported during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic,” CDC said. And yet, we’ve seen none of the panic and mass hysteria that the coronavirus has spread in just a few short weeks. 

All of the major sports leagues have ceased operations and Wall Street has plummeted to losses not seen since the “Black Monday” of 1987. We are now in a state of emergency, and most states are banning gatherings of more than 200-250 people. 

Poor communication and a massive amount of fear-reporting in the mainstream media has everyone spooked beyond belief. This irrational amount of fear has to be curtailed. Is it wrong to be concerned about the coronavirus? Of course not, and everyone should take precautions. But the misinformation and fear-mongering have to stop. The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control are putting out excellent information. The media, though? 

And if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I would have thought it to be fake news. But the pictures and videos all across the country where citizens are panic-buying are very concerning.

Every month, around the 15th, my family does our bulk shopping at one of the big warehouses (Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, etc.). Since we had a cancer fundraiser to do on Sunday, we thought we’d shop on the 14th. But seeing the news and how things are been being shown, we thought twice. Finally, my wife and I decided to go as soon as the store opened, and perhaps, “beat the rush” — or so we thought. 

Arriving about 15 minutes before the store opening, we saw two long lines queueing around the building as shoppers, carts in hand, were waiting to enter. We waited in the car until the doors opened and walked to the back of the line. 

The only way to describe the situation was chaos. People were literally racing with the carts to the rear of the store where the paper products and water were. All decorum was lost and there was jostling, shoving, wrestling for the last 36-roll package of toilet paper. In less than three minutes, the entire huge amount of paper goods were gone. One man had one of those flat carts with at least 20 packages of 36 rolls and he was wrestling with another man who had nearly as many. 

The water aisle was no different. Unbeknownst to many of them, this particular warehouse stocks excess cases of water on the tire aisle, which was empty. I slowly and happily got our normal three cases of water and put them in our cart. As the aisle on the other side was picked clean, the panicked shoppers saw the wall of water on the other side and descended on it with a vengeance. Although there was plenty for everyone, it turned ugly. Before I cleared the far side, I saw two separate shoving matches and a large man who offered to punch the lights out of a woman who bumped him with her shopping cart.

The meat and fresh vegetables were getting cleaned out at a rate that I didn’t think possible. We picked up the majority of what we normally do and got the hell out of that maelstrom. I feel bad for the people who are forced to work in conditions like that.  

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This is how the population acts in a country where 41 people have died. How the hell would we act if millions had died instead? 

Get educated about the virus and take precautions, especially if you or if you have family members that older (65+) or have compromising health issues. There are a few things to know about the virus, despite what is going on right now.

  • The disease was identified quickly and the medical community already knows how to test for it
  • Over 80 percent of the people affected have very mild symptoms
  • The lethality of coronavirus is under three percent
  • Symptoms are mildest in children; less than three percent of those under 20 will contract it
  • Vaccines are already in the process of being tested
  • And most importantly, cleanliness kills it

Basic cleanliness and disinfectants kill. Use a substance with 60 percent alcohol, so when all else fails that 120 proof Everclear will help. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks).

And how exactly is this panic-buying of toilet paper going to help people? This entire fist-fighting over hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes is ludicrous. You can have 100 tubs of it, but if your neighbor doesn’t and he gets sick… then where are you at? 

Work together, help each other, especially those older Americans who are most at risk. And stop the fucking panicking.

For a practical resource on how to deal with the Coronavirus, visit Apple iBooks.