The Pandemic Panic of COVID-19
by Brent Regan
There is a contagion sweeping the nation. It’s called panic. Faced with the uncertainty of COVID-19, people are doing irrational things which may cause them to act against their own best interests. Fortunately there is an effective treatment for panic, equal parts knowledge and common sense. First the knowledge.
COVID-19 primarily attacks the lungs. Most people who contract COVID-19 will experience no to mild symptoms typical for the flu including a fever, cough and fatigue. These people should stay home, rest and drink lots of fluids.
A few people will experience more severe symptoms including shortness of breath and/or a high fever. These people should call their doctor.
A few of these people will require hospitalization to receive assistance with their breathing such as oxygen, and in extreme cases ventilation. Sadly, a very few will not survive with the majority of these being people with compromised health before contracting the virus.
The great risk is that if the virus spreads quickly there will be a spike of a large number of people who need hospitalization and if that number exceeds the hospital capacity then some people who may have survived won’t. Since people would only need hospitalization for a few days, the total number of people who become sick is not as important as the rate at which they become sick.
A large number of people needing help all at once could overwhelm the system but that same number spread over a few weeks would allow for everyone who needs help to get help.
Common sense tells us the key is to reduce the rate of infection. This is easy to do if we all work together. Everyone can help. The virus is transmitted either directly or indirectly from one person to the next. If we reduce the opportunity for the virus to be transmitted we will reduce the rate of infection and if we get the rate low enough the virus will die out.
These things everyone can do are easy and simple and doing them will make you part of the solution:
- Avoid crowds.
- Stop shaking hands.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching surfaces in public places.
- Don’t touch your face in public, carry disposable tissues.
- Avoid people who are sick and stay home if you are sick.
- Make a habit of using hand sanitizer whenever you cross from a public to a private space, e.g. before you get in your car, before you enter your house, after you handle money or credit cards, after you push a shopping cart.
- Sanitize often any surface you frequently touch. e.g. keyboards, TV remote, door handles (including refrigerator), sink valve handles, car keys, etc.
- Young healthy people should offer to run errands for older, high risk friends or relatives.
These are easy things you can do right now and by doing them you will make everyone’s situation a little better. This crisis will pass. Life will return to normal. Financial markets will recover. It will just take a little time. In the meantime, stay clean and smart and be part of the solution.
And remember, wash your hands like you and everyone you meet is out of toilet paper.
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