Unless you’ve been living off-the grid, perhaps in a cabin lined with toilet paper, no doubt you’ve been reading plenty about coronavirus. Over the past few weeks, media coverage of the virus has reached such a hysterical point that it’s not surprising that some people are bunkering down waiting for the end of the world.
In reality, the vast majority of us will never be infected by the virus, and even if we are, most of us will not even know we had it, according to experts. Sure, the coronavirus is new and that means our immune systems aren’t as robust as they are against the flu or the common cold for example.
However, there are many untruths floating around about the potential threat to our health and to our economy
Sorting fact from fiction
In early March, the number of coronavirus cases around the world were about 95,000, with the majority still being in China where the virus originated.
In Australia, we have about 55 people confirmed as having the virus and two deaths – both elderly people.
There is no doubt that the virus has spread around the globe, but that doesn’t mean it’s about to end humankind as we know it.
In fact, according to scientists, the virus – just like the flu – is most dangerous for people aged over 80. That’s right, elderly people who are probably battling other health problems already.
For everybody else, if you ever caught it, which is highly unlikely, the mortality rate is something less 0.5 per cent depending on your age.
While these figures provide some rationality to the coronavirus conundrum, doctors have also said they are probably disproportionately high.
That’s because viruses tend to weaken over time, plus the mortality rates are based on the people who have tested positive for the virus so far.
There are likely tens of thousands of people who have never been tested because, perhaps, they just had a runny nose or a headache and that was the extent of the virus’s infection on them.
Notwithstanding the seriousness of containing a potential public health emergency, there does seem to be a bit of an over-reaction happening here and overseas.
People are stockpiling pasta, rice and toilet paper, because of a virus that is highly unlikely to ever darken their doors.
Perhaps the instant nature of news is to blame or maybe its social media sharing overly dramatic doomsday scenarios.
I even read recently about how the virus could kills tens of thousands of Australians if left untreated!
Of course, this is scare mongering plain and simple and is causing what is bordering on mass hysteria in some locations.
The economic impacts are soon to be felt in tourism, education, and the import sectors, however, we’ve already had an interest rate courtesy of the Reserve Bank with the government due to announce a stimulus package soon.
While it’s important that people understand the situation, it’s equally important that we continue on with our daily lives being fully informed of the facts rather than fake news.
One of these days, which could be tomorrow, next week, or next month, the coronavirus will have been and gone.
And we’ll be left wondering what all the fuss was all about and where all the loo paper has gone.