Unless you live in a cave, you’ve heard about the coronavirus. It has nothing to do with Corona beer but is making its way around the world and causing many countries to panic. No matter where you live in the world, this virus is creeping its way to you, and everyone from hospitals to the government is preparing for a possible outbreak that will kill millions of people. In fact, according to the media, this is one of the deadliest diseases the world has faced in years, if not decades.
However, many other people are starting to discuss the media’s portrayal of the coronavirus. They bring to the table dozens of other scary outbreaks the world faced over the last couple of decades, such as SARS, bird flu, swine flu, and ebola. No one can deny that the coronavirus is deadly, but many people deny it’s as contagious and scary as people say. While it’s always smart to prepare for the worst that could come, is it necessary to panic to the point of emptying grocery stores, of their hand soap, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper?
This article looks into the real story of the coronavirus and how it may not be as bad as the media states.
20. What Is The Coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus is a “large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.” The coronavirus can become deadly, especially when it comes to the elderly and babies. However, most diseases are more dangerous for this age group, even the flu, and the common cold. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions to decrease your chances of the coronavirus, but it does mean that it’s already similar to illnesses people have dealt with (and lived through) for centuries.
The coronavirus is a disease that can cause different illnesses and affect people in different ways. Of course, this isn’t helpful because we are in the middle of the winter – a time of the year when there are many colds and viruses going around as is. To top it off, most of the illnesses doctors see this year are all viruses and there isn’t much people who can do about it except drink plenty of fluids and get rest.
19. Coronavirus Symptoms
Doctors explain that the reported symptoms of the coronavirus range from mild to severe. This means some people could have the virus and not even realize they have it. They might realize they’re sick, but think it’s merely a cold and not need to go to the doctor. But other people will get the coronavirus and find themselves isolated in the hospital. Some of the most troubling symptoms are similar to the cold or flu. You have a fever and cough. However, one sign that’s a bit different is you feel shortness of breath.
It’s usually the shortness of breath that makes people worry as this can lead to more severe health problems, such as pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. The shortness of breath is usually why people head to the doctor, which is when they discover they have the coronavirus.
18. Should You Compare The Coronavirus To The Cold Or Flu?
Some people feel that comparing the coronavirus to the common cold or flu will cause people not to worry about it. This is because many people don’t pay attention to the cold or flu because they expect to get sick with something at some point, especially when everyone around them is sick. Other people state that you shouldn’t compare the two because the coronavirus is more deadly. In reality, it’s really too early to tell because the coronavirus is a new strain of illness while the cold and flu are old and show up every year. In fact, the CDC estimates that as many as 56,000 people die from the flu or flu-like illness every year. At this point, around 4,000 people around the world have died from the coronavirus.
Of course, this number is climbing as more people receive a diagnosis of the illness, but the number of flu or flu-like deaths is also rising as people are diagnosed with the flu. So, should we compare the two or three? This is a matter of personal opinion, but physicians don’t believe in the comparison because each illness is its own, and everyone needs to take precautions so they don’t get sick, whether it’s with the coronavirus, the flu, or a cold.
17. The Media Has A History Of Panic
One of the biggest reasons why the coronavirus isn’t as bad as the media portrays is because the media loves to make people panic. In fact, the press wants fear. Why? Because when people panic, the media has stories to publish. It gives them a way to get a story out there and make more money.
Take a moment to think about how the media panicked with Y2K or the world ending in 2012. What happened? Nothing. Everyone rang in the year 2000 just like they did in 1999 and continued to in 2001. Unless we’re in an alternate universe and no one realizes it yet, the world didn’t end in 2012. Millions of people who opened their mail didn’t die because of anthrax, and we lived through the Ebola scare. The media made people all over the world panic during these moments. In fact, the media will find something to cause panic among people every year. It’s in their history.
16. Don’t Panic Because Your Hospital Is Preparing
Even though many hospitals are creating plans for a coronavirus epidemic, it doesn’t mean this will happen in your area. Of course, the media will eat up this storyline and make it seem like you need to worry about the coronavirus because it’s bound to create something close to the Black Plague. However, everyone who works in a hospital will tell you the same thing – they always put emergency procedures in place. Nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff all need to ensure they are prepared in case something does happen. Can you imagine the madness if they don’t prepare?
Just because your local hospital is setting up procedures and a step-by-step process for a coronavirus outbreak doesn’t mean it will happen in your area. It means that you can trust your hospital and the people who run it because they are doing what they’re supposed to, making sure everyone knows their job just in case the worst happens.
15. Listen To The Experts, Not The Media
It’s easier for most people to listen to the media than experts because they see what the media posts nearly every single day and usually multiple times per day. You will read the same type of posts about how people are dying in numbers from the coronavirus, and it’s so quick to spread once it gets to your area. In fact, media reports tell people that you’re bound to get the virus if it comes to your location.
But what do the experts say? Most experts are telling us not to panic because it’s a newer virus, and while it can be deadly, so can most diseases that we deal with every year. Unfortunately, not all experts get along because they are still learning more about the virus every day and how to deal with it. Still, it’s time to do a little more research about the coronavirus and pay attention to what the experts say rather than news articles you see on social media.
14. Experts State You Shouldn’t Panic
If you’ve paid attention to your social media account in the last few days, you’ve seen the pictures people have taken of empty shelves in the stores. Some show empty shelves of hand soap while others show empty shelves of toilet paper. The media is gathering these pictures and creating an immense panic. Not only do you need to worry about this new virus, but you also need to worry about your local store running out of necessary supplies.
Dr. James Cherry of UCLA, an infectious disease expert since 1963, says that it’s good to stock up for emergencies. For example, he always keeps stocked up just in case an earthquake hits California. However, when it comes to the coronavirus, Cherry states, “I think going out now and stocking up on all kinds of stuff, that doesn’t make any sense to me.” Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams took to his Twitter account to tell people to stop buying masks from the stores. He stated, Seriously, people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
13. Most People Have A Mild Case Of The Coronavirus
Once the media found out about the coronavirus and the panic it brought to other countries, such as China, they started eating this up. They couldn’t wait to write their story and create fear in the lives of many different people. However, this only made experts shake their heads. Recently, the coronavirus made its way to Washington, D.C., in the United States. While this caused more panic in United States headlines, experts said most people have a mild case of the virus and.
Experts also stated that people walked around Washington D.C. for a couple of months, if not more, before anyone realized the coronavirus made its way into the United States. When asked about this, James Cherry from UCLA stated, “The fact that they noted it had been circulating for six weeks in Washington state before anybody noticed it, with many, many mild cases that went unrecognized, that’s why I don’t think this will be so bad.”
12. Panic Started Because Of China
One fact that you can’t deny from the media, at least most of their stories, is that China is nearly on lockdown because of the coronavirus. When people read about this, they automatically assume that it’ll become this bad wherever the virus goes. However, people don’t realize that each country is different. China is a small country with a high population. They run their healthcare system differently; people interact differently, and they prepare for emergencies differently.
The truth for China is, while many places and millions of people are in lockdown with limited time to go about their town, the numbers are lowering every day. In fact, the lowest numbers China reported happened in January, before other countries started to panic about the coronavirus. It seems that the media doesn’t indicate the lowering numbers, they simply report the total number of cases and deaths reported.
11. The Truth About China’s Numbers
China has reported over 45,000 cases of the coronavirus. While this number seems like a lot, you need to remember that China’s population is over 1 billion people. Along with this number, about a little over 3% of people diagnosed with the coronavirus passed because of it. So, of the 45,000 cases, about 3% died. Of course, this is too high of a number because you don’t want to hear of people passing away due to illness, but it could be a lot better than you’ve read in the media.
Other than these numbers, no one under the age of 10 received a coronavirus diagnosis in China. They were all older people, and most were around the age of 70 years old or older.
10. Other State’s Numbers Aren’t As Bad As The Media Portrays
Once you start to feel panic about a topic, you will feel the same way every time you read something. For example, you’re panicking about the coronavirus and learned that 92 people have passed away in Iran because of the virus. The next day, you read that a total of 11 people have died in the United States because of the coronavirus. So, what does your mind do when you read these articles? You start to panic a little more because now it’s closer to your home and your family.
Again, you need to look at the bigger picture. Iran’s population is over 81 million people. There are 327 million people living in the United States. Yes, the virus recently made its way to those countries, and this means that more people will receive a diagnosis and can unfortunately pass away. But, this is no reason to panic because you won’t help anyone when you’re buying out the store.
9. Be Concerned, But Don’t Panic
One of the most outspoken people in the health field about the coronavirus is Dr. James Cherry of UCLA, an infectious disease expert since the 1960s. He’s seen his fair share of panic because of new diseases and understands why it happens. People don’t understand the coronavirus, even health professionals know very little about it, so they start to panic.
About the difference between concern and panic, Cherry stated, “I think we should be concerned about it because it’s an unknown. But just looking at this, I think it’s not that bad for the run-of-the-mill person. Older people like me, the risk is clearly higher. But my risk is not as much as the person who is a smoker, who has other risk factors.”
8. The Media Continues To Create Panic With Their Constant Updates
It’s basic psychology, you read news reports every day and see the number of Coronavirus cases increasing. Just last week, you understand it was under 90,000 people, and today the number is up to 94,000 people. You know the number will continue to rise as it spreads around the world, and this is a frightening thought. It’s true, it is scary, and this is why the media is continuously updating that number.
The truth is, if the media didn’t report on coronavirus updates (and many main news media outlets have live updates), you wouldn’t be worrying as much about the virus. This is a trick the media uses to create more panic so they have more stories to report about. Face it. The media wants you to panic as it gives them a busy news day instead of a boring one.
7. The Media Knows What Words To Use
The next time you decide to read a media report about the coronavirus, notice the words the writer uses. Chances are, you will see terms such as “skyrocketed” and “panic.” Why does the media focus on individual words? Because they are trigger words that are more dramatic than most words. Think about it – when you see the word “skyrocketed,” you think of how quickly something grew. It’s a word that leads to a more dramatic image in your head than the term “grew.”
Furthermore, when you see words like “panic,” you will start to feel this way because your mind gives you the emotion of panic. There are always emotions behind words, whether you say them or read them. The more negative the word, the stronger your passion becomes, and the more you remember it. Therefore, the more likely you are to panic when you read more about the coronavirus.
6. The Media Runs On The Fear Of The People
Because the media uses trigger words, they also run off the fear of people. When people are afraid of something, they’re most likely to panic. In this case, most people are giving the media exactly what they want. For instance, some media outlets are reporting that the coronavirus is the “killer virus,” and this makes people want to lock up their children and themselves. It makes people want to build a bomb shelter to protect their families.
Once this fear becomes real to a person, your mind starts to go in all different directions. You begin to think negatively and focus on the worst-case scenario. This is all basic psychology, and the media understands it well. They have the cues they use to play on someone’s emotions, which makes the whole coronavirus outbreak worse than it is.
5. Fear Is More Contagious Than The Disease
Researchers and experts of the coronavirus have pointed out one fact, and this is the panic people see over the virus is the same panic other people saw during other outbreaks. For example, 2003 saw the SARS panic (do you remember this?), and the media played the same role. They called SARS a killer. However, this panic quickly died down, and today, most people don’t remember it.
The same pattern is happening with the coronavirus because the media is following the same steps it always does. This occurs because the media understands something that the general population doesn’t, and this is that fear is catchy. In fact, anxiety is more catchy than the coronavirus. Think about how many people are panicking and feel fear over the virus compared to how many people have a strain of the virus.
4. Some State Coronavirus Has Become Worse Because Of Panic
The experts aren’t trying to blame the general population of the world for increasing the coronavirus or spreading it into other countries. They are merely stating that the coronavirus is becoming worse than what it really is because people are allowing themselves to believe the dramatic reactions of the media.
Of course, every expert agrees that we need to be concerned about the virus, just as you should be concerned about other illnesses, but you shouldn’t panic, because this leads people to make mistakes. It causes your immune system to get worse, which allows you to get sick easier. Plus, you’ll find yourself worrying if you or someone else has the coronavirus every time someone coughs or sneezes. The panic simply isn’t worth it. Experts state that instead of panicking, you need to react. You need to calmly think of a plan for you and your family if the worse does come, but don’t panic.
3. The Media Is Trying To Tell People They Are Underreacting
If you’ve read some of the most recent media reports on the coronavirus, especially in the United States, you’ve heard about how American citizens are under-reacting to the virus. Of course, this makes the coronavirus seem much worse and puts people into overdrive as they start to think of ways to react a little bit more. In a nutshell, what the media reports are telling you is that if you’re not panicking, you should.
This is another trick media outlets are used to – reaching into people’s emotions. However, what the media is really telling you is the overreacting is better than underreacting. Now, if you take a step back and think about this with a clear mind, when is overreacting to a situation ever helpful?
2. It’s Time The Media Writes About Both Sides Of The Numbers
It’s easy to read media reports and start to panic, especially when you read that over 90,000 people in the world have received coronavirus diagnosis over the last three to four months. Furthermore, of this 90,000 about 3,000 people have passed away. Most of the people were older, had heart problems, or other health problems.
But, the one number you will never read in the media is that out of the 90,000 cases reported, 87,0000 people continue to get better, have got better, and are still alive. In fact, most people in this statistic beat the coronavirus and report that while the shortness of breath was scary, it was similar to having a cold.
1. What’s Next?
The next step for you is probably to stop panic and don’t change your life because of the media and how they report the coronavirus. If you’re in the health field, you will hear a lot about this disease as experts continue to figure out what causes it and how to prevent another outbreak.
You’ll also discuss plans if the coronavirus ever makes it to your city. Hearing about it and preparing can easily cause your mind to flip on the panic switch, but it’s essential that you take a step back and look at the bigger picture so you can truly see what is happening.
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“Coronavirus cases top 94,000: Live updates on COVID-19.” Live Science. March 2020.
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“Coronavirus: how media coverage of epidemics often stokes fear and panic.” Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, The Conversation. February 2020.
“Live updates: Coronavirus deaths in California and Washington state bring U.S. toll to 11.” Rick Noack, Siobhán O’Grady and Michael Brice-Saddler, Washington Post. March 2020.
“The media is driving the overreaction to the coronavirus.” Roger Bate, AEIdeas. January 2020.