Are people freaking out about the Coronavirus or is the panic justified?

Over the past few days, Azusa Pacific has implemented preventative measures to help protect students and faculty against the coronavirus (COVID-19). These include. moving classes online to cancelling all on campus events. However, it raises the question, are we approaching the coronavirus correctly?

Coronavirus is actually a family of viruses that have been around for quite some time. The two other known respiratory viruses in this family are Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). We may recognize SARS, along with Zika and Swine flu as other viruses that broke out and scared the world according to The Telegraph

Though those viruses were eventually contained, it is hard to predict the future of COVID-19. A sense of fear is attached to the coronavirus. The question is, are we overreacting about COVID-19 or are the precautions justified?

What makes this virus different from say the Zika virus, is the coronavirus is spread through respiratory fluids such as mucus and saliva. This is why we see people wearing facial masks when they walk around airports, malls, college campuses and other places where many people are in close proximity to one another.

According to the science reporter from Business Insider, Aria Bendix, the first known case of someone who contracted COVID-19 was in China. Even though the number of cases is going down in China, other parts of the world are worried as it has spread to 80 other countries, including the U.S. 

A common argument going around in support of lowering panic is that more people die from the flu than from COVID-19. Bendix explains that influenza and the coronavirus are being compared to each other because they have similar symptoms. The reason COVID-19 is worrisome is because the mortality rate for people with coronavirus is higher than those with the general influenza virus. The flu has a mortality rate of .1 percent while the coronavirus appears to have a mortality rate of 1.4 to 2.3 percent.

People can get reinfected with the coronavirus, so taking preventative precautions is important for the spread and for people’s health in the coming months. A rebound of the virus can occur later on in the year. Even though it is hard to predict what the status of COVID-19 will be as the year progresses, it is always best to prepare for any possible outcome.

When looking into the severity of COVID-19, The Telegraph explained that there have been more than 114,500 cases of this Coronavirus and the death toll is over 4,000. Currently in China, 80 percent of the people with the disease are considered to be mild, but 20 percent are in need of hospitalization.

President Donald Trump has been accused of downplaying the severity of the epidemic. If you compare how many death cases the U.S. has had in comparison to Italy, maybe Trump has a right to not worry. ABC News reported that there have been 630 deaths in Italy and 29 in the U.S.

Along with the seasonal flu, it is important for people to be cautious of germs. Opening door handles, shaking someone’s hand, touching your phone, touching your desk — germs are everywhere, so the U.S. is advising people to wash their hands regularly. They also recommend to not touch your eyes, mouth or face and be aware of common sense precautions. Limiting travel is also recommended.

The sense of fear that has been evoked, in part from how much Covid-19 is being talked about in the media, is because people are hearing about the virus non-stop. People may hear it being talked about at work, schools, in the grocery store and so they may begin to worry when they hear other people starting to panic.

I believe there are people who are overreacting about this outbreak. Although I believe that medical professionals and people who are in locations that have had someone die from the virus have a right to be concerned and overly cautious. This is something that has the potential to grow into a larger issue in our country and people are doing what they can so our country does not get to that point.