coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus Outbreak Isn’t As Bad As You Think, But Don’t Laugh It Off Either

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While scrolling through social media, I can’t help but notice the abundance of emotional responses posted by those angered with the news media’s coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak.

Some people are even taking it as far as calling the entire thing a hoax and have decided to laugh it off instead of taking proper precautionary measures. 

There’s some truth that has led to their skepticism, however, based on the information we have, the infection is wildly contagious and deadly to those with pre-existing conditions.

And even though you might be healthy and ready to fight it off, there might be an elderly person within your sphere of influence that cannot.

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Those on the other side of the coin have resorted to widespread panic and in turn are sinking businesses abroad. Airlines have taken some of the hardest hits having to completely shutdown flights to Italy and China. 

Groceries are also scarce with people buying up all the bread and water they can before the anticipated zombie apocalypse-like future they seem to be anticipating. 

Dr. Drew Pinsky of MTV fame said the mass hysteria over COVID-19 is uncalled for while speaking with CBS earlier in the month. 

“What I have a problem with is the panic and the fact that business are getting destroyed, that people’s lives are being upended, not by the virus, but by the panic,” said Pinsky during an interview. “And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.” 

Pinsky, like many other skeptics, compared COVID-19 to influenza and emphasized the latter disease’s higher rate of fatalities during 2020. 

Based on the figures, his assertion is spot on. 

As of March 10, 2020, only 4,087 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported worldwide with just 27 of them being in the U.S, according to a recent report from Johns Hopskins. Influenza kills anywhere from 12,000 to 61,000 people in the U.S. alone each year with 291,000-646,000 deaths worldwide. 

What’s more alarming about COVID-19 is that unlike influenza it can be spread through airborne particles. So when a sick person coughs tiny droplets of their saliva can easily transmit the virus to you even if you’re not in direct contact with them.

Aside from the viral aspect, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19 at this time and it cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is not a bacterial infection. 

Italy is one of the countries hit hardest by the infection that seems to have spread like wildfire there during a matter of weeks. The number of confirmed infections jumped to 9,172 from 7,375 in just two days time, according to a BBC report

The entire country has been placed on lockdown with confirmed infections in every region. This is not a make believe scenario. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has even gone as far as calling this outbreak the country’s “darkest hour.”

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New York City is also starting to feel the effects of COVID-19 as many businesses have decided to either close up shop, or make their employees work from home if possible. This seems wise being that many New Yorkers rely on public transportation where the infection can easily be transmitted to thousands in a single day. 

There are almost 170 confirmed cases in New York State at this time with the number climbing significantly each day. Governor Andrew Cuomo attempted to get ahead of the problem this weekend declaring a state of emergency in New York State prompting businesses and other establishments to take immediate action. 

While traveling on the subway this week, I’ve seen lots of New Yorkers attempting to protect themselves with masks, but many doctors have explained that they will do little to help them avoid infection. 

“If you’re healthy, there is no need to walk around wearing a mask,” said Dr. Marc Serota, a New York immunologist on his Facebook post this week. “In addition to looking silly and most of the time wearing/taking them off wrong – which would actually make you more prone to acquiring an infection, they don’t prevent you from getting sick. If you’re actually sick stay away from people and then, sure, wear a mask so you aren’t spreading respiratory droplets every time you cough/sneeze.” 

He went on to explain that doctors wear far more equipment to prevent themselves from contagious diseases. In summary, his statement further emphasized that COVID-19 is only fatal for the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions while condemning the over-reaction of the public. 

“If you still think you should be scared consider this: Doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff are going to hospitals every day. Crowded buildings with tons of sick people. They aren’t walking around the halls of the hospitals wearing masks and they haven’t stopped going to work. And they are all rolling their eyes at everyone else right now,” he concluded. 

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