Opinion: Feeding into the hysteria of the Coronavirus

Chino+resident%2C+Jay+Franck%2C+frustrated+at+the+aftermath+of+panic+at+the+Stater+Brothers+off+Schaefer+Ave.+and+Euclid+Ave.+

Photo by Aiden Deming

Chino resident, Jay Franck, frustrated at the aftermath of panic at the Stater Brothers off Schaefer Ave. and Euclid Ave.

Brooke Selvidge, News/Technology Reporter

While the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is serious, the situation has been blown incredibly out of proportion. The hysteria about the Coronavirus has created more problems than the sickness may have on its own, as panicked shoppers empty shelves for an Armageddon like disaster that’s likely never going to hit.  This could make things a lot worse for people who actually need these products, especially those in proximity to the Coronavirus.

In mass panic, Chino residents clean out aisles of paper products, canned goods, rice, and pasta at their local grocery store. “It’s just stupid. Lady behind me said Costco now was completely out of meat. Took me 20 minutes to get through the express lane at checkout. Get a grip people.” said Chino resident, Jay Franck.

 

Forbes Magazine writer, Bruce Y. Lee, in an article titled “Is COVID-19 Coronavirus Leading To Toilet Paper Shortages? Here Is The Situation,” Lee tells his readers that “…the outbreak has led to toilet paper hoarding and subsequent shortages in stores in different parts of the world.” But when fear and panic set in, people “tend to protect [their] loved ones, which, for some people, apparently are rolls of toilet paper.” Lee asks his readers, “…before you start smuggling toilet paper, is this all really necessary in the end? Should you really be worried about toilet paper shortages?” I have to agree. Is toilet paper really what we should be worried about, because I’m more concerned with the unnecessary mass hysteria that seems to be growing by the hour.

As people begin to hoard their beloved paper products around the US, some have decided to stock up on ridiculous amounts of hand sanitizer and masks in an attempt to prevent them from getting the virus, which has led to price gouging.  The New York Post provides evidence of several businesses dramatically raising prices, “…a Garment District hardware store was selling 1200 ml bottles of Purell for $79,” and, “selling packs of ten 3M respirator masks for $60.” People overbuying products has clearly made the possible profits too good to resist for some stores.

In all of the panic and hysteria over the Coronavirus, not many people have realized that it has killed less people than the typical Influenza (Flu).  Speculation that the Coronavirus has killed more than the Flu is simply wrong, as the death rate in a typical season of Flu is around 20,000, and COVID-19 has only hit 3,000. The only concern for healthy people should be the uncertainty of dealing with the Coronavirus, as scientists are still working on vaccines and more test kits become available.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some seriousness behind COVID-19, and the pandemic numbers that face the U.S. are premature and still growing. While both China and Italy continue to fight the virus, weeks and weeks of precautions and testing continue to take place, but if we know that battling this virus comes with such a long fight, why are we panicking now? I think it best that this country stay calm, focused, and rational.

American’s need to just “Keep Calm and Carry On” rather than giving into the mass hysteria that is following panicked people.

The fear generated over COVID-19 has gotten out of hand. The world isn’t going to end.  People should take measures to protect themselves for the sake of keeping the virus from spreading to high-risk citizens, but they likely aren’t in serious danger if they’re otherwise healthy. If we dismiss facts for fear, our country won’t be level-headed enough to do what we need to do to contain and battle this virus. So, as cliche as it may sound, come on America, stay calm and carry on — we’re all in this together.