Just How Concerned Should We Be About the Coronavirus?


Two months ago, unless you were in China, the coronavirus was barely talked about. Then there was an outbreak in South Korea. Italy and Iran followed suit and in recent days have seen their numbers spike. But with cases now popping up all over America, it’s all some people can talk about.

As I sit here skimming my newsfeed this morning, it’s pretty much become THE topic. While there are those who have gone straight to panic mode, most people seem to be complacent about the whole thing saying things like “Its hype” or “People get a grip. It’s just the flu.” Who’s right?

In a situation such as this, I think neither is the right course of action. Instead, we need to look at things rationally and take whatever precautions are needed.

First off, I would like to state that I am by no means a doctor, so I am just going off what I have read. By sharing my thoughts on the topic, hopefully, it helps people get a better understanding of what could lie ahead.

First and foremost, I think we need to dispel this notion that Covid-19, aka the coronavirus, is simply the common flu. It’s not. The symptoms may be similar, but that’s about where the similarities end. There are a few very important factors that make this a whole different animal.

1. There is no vaccine for the Covid-19
2. It’s highly contagious
3. It has an incubation period of up to three weeks
4. The mortality rate is much higher than the flu

It’s also important to look at the extreme actions some governments have taken to prevent its spread.

– China quarantined Wuhan (11 million people)
– Korea quarantined Daegu (2.2 million people)
– Italy just announced their own quarantine
– Japan closed schools for three weeks
– Concerts, sporting events, conferences, and trade shows are being canceled all across the globe
– Universal Studios and Disneyland have been closed for two weeks.
– France and Germany have banned all gatherings over 1,000 people

The actions above tell me that this virus isn’t something we want to mess around with. I fully expect more extreme actions to be taken in the weeks and possibly months ahead until we can get a handle on things. The economic knock-on effects will be severe.

That being said, I am not panicking. There is a famous proverb that says, “This too shall pass” which is something we would do well to keep in mind. Some people have taken to social media to share their experiences in the infected areas, and they are worth reading.

However, as a father, I cannot ignore what is going on. I think it makes good sense to take some extra precautions. We picked up a few extra supplies. I refrain from going to densely populated areas, but when I have to go into the city, I wear a mask. My wife and I work from home as much as we can. Lastly, I wash my hands and gargle when I come home.

Last week, here in Japan, a hoax spread on social media caused long lines to get tissues and toilet paper. In America and Australia, Costco and supermarkets have seen a rush on similar products. Masks and sanitizer are in short supply pretty much everywhere. However, when I head over to the local supermarket, life is as usual.

With many events in my city being canceled, my family and I find ourselves with more free time on our hands so we’re catching up on our movies and reading books we haven’t had time for. We’ve organized some play dates for my son and his friends to keep them occupied while they’re enjoying their extended spring break. I’m using the time to help boost my son’s reading and writing ability.

It’s possible that our lives might be inconvenienced in the near term depending on where we live, but that’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

The world has faced darker times before and survived. We’ll get through this as well.

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