The new form of coronavirus is not a joke. It is real, and it does pose a threat. However, if there is one thing we should learn from China’s COVID19 outbreak, it’s that panic can spread faster than a virus. While China’s- and now Italy’s – response to the epidemic was decisive and undoubtedly necessary, some of the recent development related to the outbreak are somewhat alarming. Xenophobia towards Asian people, supermarkets being stormed and literally raided are just a small portion of the absurdity dominating the media field these days.
THE DANGER OF OVERREACTING
Not a day has passed during the last two weeks without new solutions to ease people’s day-to-day lives at a time of worldwide quarantines. Sadly, most of those solutions are intended only to limit human-to-human contact instead on focusing on the things that really matter, like preventing a similar crisis from happening again by encouraging people to develop personal hygiene habits. We are slowly creating a future with technologies and solutions that permeate our lives. In theory, yes, it could end most our problems. Quarantines from around the world have shown that we can effectively work from home. Soon, robots might be able to deliver anything to our doorsteps…
However, while thinking we are doing good, we are making things worse. We are slowly pushing the world to routinely turn into a completely permeated one with no more human interaction instead of looking for effective solutions.
We need to sit back, take a deep breath and wait for Nature and health professionals to do their jobs, meanwhile, we should take the common reasonable measures that a pandemic implies.
THE REALITY OF A PANDEMIC
The WHO has finally declared the COVID19 outbreak to be a pandemic. But what does that mean ? It has nothing to do with the characteristic of the disease, but with its geographic spread. Declaring a pandemic should not trigger global panic, but rather raise awareness. Most people who will catch the disease will experience only a mild illness, thankfully. This is particularly true for children and young adults. About 1 in 5 will need hospital care, and most will recover. However, there is a chance that some of those infected will die. That is why it is our duty to treat this with seriousness: we must listen to expert advice in order to help prevent a major epidemic. Personal hygiene is a must, and isolation is not only about you, it is about not infecting other that might be at higher risk than you are.
CORONAVIRUS IS NOT JUST LIKE THE FLU
What you should be aware about is that it can go more than 14 days undetected, whereas the common flu is 48 hours. Which means that someone could unknowingly be infected and live a normal life and therefore infect others. Furthermore, it being a fairly new virus, there is a lot we still don’t know about it. So even though there is a high probability that even if you are contaminated, you won’t die from it, at this point, it is also about protecting others that may not be as resistant or lucky as you. On top of it, let’s not forget that Lebanon is a country with a dense population, and we have a culture of physical contact, which makes spreading easier than elsewhere.
So people, take the necessary steps: keep yourself and things around you clean, and if you feel you may have a cold, stay away from people.