Here’s the thing: We live in a 24/7 news cycle, and the Coronavirus is a perfect story to hype. A health-related topic like this bumps up TV ratings and newspaper readership. One can spend hours surfing the web searching Covid-19 and come up with a lot of talk but little in the way of information.
A lack of reliable and clearly communicated data has the stock market reeling and people wondering if they should or should not board a commercial airliner. These are reasonable questions, and if the media weren’t so shallow, it would take time to answer legitimate health concerns from the American public.
So, what is the reality of the situation? Is it time to hole yourself up in the house and panic?
In a word – no.
A Chinese government expert went on record earlier this week to say that new cases of Coronavirus should drop to zero by the end of March. Don’t trust the Chinese? Alrighty, let’s go to the U.S. experts. In the White House Briefing Room, a panel of medical specialists took questions from the media on Tuesday. For some inexplicable reason, there is no audio or video available of that event – you had to watch it live, which Liberty Nation did. Here are the takeaways:
- The risk of contracting the virus in America remains low.
- Outbreak numbers will get worse throughout March.
- In about two months we won’t be hearing about new cases developing.
- 1.5 million test kits are currently being dispensed to hospitals across the country.
- Congress passed an $8.3B aid package to combat Covid-19.
Age does matter, according to health officials. The elderly and those with serious medical conditions should take standard precautions. The CDC reports there are only 99 cases of Coronavirus in 13 states, which have resulted in ten U.S. deaths. The media accounts for a couple more, reporting 12 total Covid-19 deaths – ten of which occurred in a single Seattle nursing home.
Here’s a breakdown regarding how all the U.S. cases were contracted, according to the CDC:
- Travel-related – 30 cases
- Person-to-person – 20 cases
- Under investigation – 49 cases
CDC experts repeated over and over that hand washing is especially vital. Well, it is flu season, so this isn’t exactly new ground for those with a modicum of common sense. As well, cruise ships – where people are huddled together in small spaces – probably aren’t the best places to be if you are over the age of 60 or have a medical condition.
The epicenter of Covid-19 is Wuhan. The death toll in China as of March 5 stands at 3,012 out of a population of an estimated 1.386 billion people. Again, that’s out of 1.386 billion. Worldwide, The New York Times counts 98,000 reported cases of the virus and approximately 3,300 deaths. According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 53,600 people have recovered after contracting Covid-19.
The American public is understandably jittery about Coronavirus. However, if the mainstream media would stop with the “urgent alerts” and start informing people of these basic facts, paranoia and pandemonium might be held in check.
The bottom line here is to use common sense, evaluate whether you are in the high-risk category, stop listening to the nonsense on TV, and, by all means, wash your hands.
For more reliable information and daily tracking of the virus, visit the CDC’s Covid-19 situation summary page.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.