The Fear of Coronavirus

Costco Bread Shelves Empty Coronavirus COVID-19

Empty bread shelves at Costco in Bountiful, Utah.

Is it the end of the world? It sure seems like it is, especially if you watch the news. Coronavirus, also called COVID-19, has caused a whirlwind of fear. People are in a panic! Stores are out of essential items. No bread. No eggs. No milk. No water. No toilet paper. No bleach. No medicine. Entertainment venues, college and professional sports leagues, schools and churches have all closed their doors until further notice. Financial markets have nosedived. I have never witnessed a reaction to a virus like this! Coronavirus must be really, really bad, right?

I’m not a doctor or scientist. I’m not an expert on viruses. I don’t know all that’s going on around the world. I don’t know each country’s unique situation. I only know what I observe, which is what’s happening around me here in America. Everyone is anxious. There’s a serious pandemonium that has people acting irrationally. It seems as though we’ve lost some of our humanity.



Where I’m at, people have gone insane. Stores are completely out of stock of essential items. Folks are lining up before stores open to be first in line in case new items arrived overnight. People are getting into fights, and one local store even closed for a brief period due to violence. People have been stealing toilet paper from public restrooms and even from a local police station. Citizens are risking arrest over toilet paper!

People have been buying way more than they need. I’ve seen carts filled with 20 cases of water. I’ve seen folks buying more toilet paper than they’ll need in a year! This hoarding has caused a shortage, and now those who didn’t panic-buy can’t find the basic essentials that they need. Their neighbor has it all hidden away. Fear has driven society to overreact. I went to a local grocery store, and it looked like a scene from The Walking Dead. COVID-19 is not a zombie apocalypse! This is not the end of the world! Stop the insanity. Please! Everybody needs to calm down. It’s time to be rational.



What has everyone so worried? Coronavirus is a rapidly spreading respiratory virus. It travels from person-to-person rather quickly. If you get it, it’s easy to give it to someone else. But should everyone panic? Absolutely not!

First, you probably won’t get Coronavirus. Even at it’s current rate, by the end of the year a fraction of one percent of the world’s population will have contracted it; that is, unless it spreads faster than it currently is. It could. Viruses have in the past. But it might not. Also, the COVID-19 vaccination has been fast-tracked, and should be available before the end of the year, which would certainly slow it down. Either way, odds are you won’t get it.



Second, if you do happen to get Coronavirus, if you are healthy and under 60-years-old, you will survive, and it won’t feel much different than having the common cold. If you do have a pre-existing medical condition, then there’s a larger risk for you, and it might be like having pneumonia, which sucks, but there’s still a very small risk of dying; almost certainly you will recover. The ones that COVID-19 affects the most are those over the age of 60, and especially those over the age of 70, who have a pre-existing medical condition. Even then, those people are more likely to recover than not. The risk of death from this virus is small, and extraordinarily tiny for most people. The vast majority of those who contract Coronavirus will make a full recovery.

There are common-sense precautions that we should all take. Wash, wash, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep your house and workplace clean. If you feel sick, stay home! This cannot be overemphasized. If you are sick and can’t stay home: keep a distance from others (at least six feet if you can), don’t travel, don’t be in a large group setting or in tight quarters with others, and wear a mask if you have a cough. This will help prevent the spread of Coronavirus plus all sorts of other viruses. If you are elderly or have a pre-existing condition that puts you at a higher risk (or if someone in your household is in that category), you can take extra precautions by limiting your exposure to other people: avoid large crowds and tight quarters with others, and stay home as much as practical. For everyone else, live life like normal!



Fear-based overreactions will cause more problems than COVID-19 ever will. It’s only a matter of time before someone dies over a roll of toilet paper. If there is a worldwide recession, and we might very well be at the very beginning of that, more people will suffer from that recession than the worst-case predictions of Coronavirus. We’re causing a man-made “panic virus” that will be worse than the virus we’re so scared of.

We need to bring back humanity. If you have more toilet paper or water or food than you need, knock on your neighbor’s door and see if they are short on supplies. If you were one of those panic-buyers who caused the supply shortage, be a part of the solution by giving some of it to those who desperately need it. Stop living in fear, which only makes things worse. Instead, live wisely, and be kind to those around you. The sky is not falling. We need to stop being so afraid.


  1. Nicolas · March 15, 2020

    The problem in the US is that your health system is almost non existent to people with little or no income.
    Almost no tests for Covid-19 are available. That’s why this fear is somewhat understandable.
    And your president has been ignoring this crisis for too long!

    Italy has the most cases in Europe because Italians were for too long too relaxed about the outbreak and haven’t been testing people. Now they’re fighting the chaos.

    I’m in Germany. Practically no hoarding . People have been tested the earliest possible and our medical situation is well organised and prepared.
    Everyone is calm and relaxed but of course worried about those human beings for whom this virus is actually dangerous. People with illnesses with a weak immune system.

    • Nicolas · March 15, 2020

      The only thing that IS actually quite worrying is that thousands of businesses will go belly up because the whole economy is coming to a stop…

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

        Yes. If millions across the globe are out of work because of the economy, that’s a serious problem.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      I think your assessment of the U.S. health system for the poor is a myth. It might have been true once, but definitely not now.

      There’s a place within walking distance of my house where you can be drive-up tested for COVID-19. I’m not sure what the testing situation is nation wide.

      What makes the Italy situation unique is they have the highest percentage of “at risk” population in the world. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they were hit so hard, and it’s probably good that they took drastic measures.

      I’m glad that Germany is calm and collected during this. That is the best reaction, and I wish it was like that here.

      Thank you for the input!

      • Nicolas · March 16, 2020

        good to hear that in your region your experience is a different one in terms of your health system.
        Unfortunately I have other reports of today that show a desastrous situation…

        Concerning Italy. No, they do not have the highest percentage of people “at risk”. The population in Germany is demographically way older than Italy.
        It started in northern Italy where chinese companies employ cheap workers from China producing for italian clothing companies at very low rates. A dirty deal between the italian and the chinese gov. Furthermore they did not test the people who became ill.
        What they are facing now is the result of such politics.

        Why is it different in Germany? They had one case in Bavaria (a chinese sales person of Webasto infected the first cases) Some people were brought back from Wuhan to Germany, going straight into quarantine, two cases were discovered and cured.
        The biggest outbreak started from a german couple coming from northern Italy celebrating carneval in mid February infecting hundreds and hundreds.

        Just to put this in perspective. Thank you!

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

        Germany, Italy, and Japan are the three countries I’ve seen most commonly listed at the top of the “highest at-risk population” charts, and which one is at top depends on the criteria used. But, who knows, really?

      • Nicolas · March 26, 2020

        I really hope that you’re right and I am wrong concerning “the myth” but right now it looks like that collapse if your health system is near. At least in the hotspots. Parts of my family lives in NYC and what they tell me is a living nightmare and far beyond to what I stated above…

        Again I hope I’m mistaken…

        All the best

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 26, 2020

        I think NYC, which has seen something like 40% of all Covid-19 cases in America, is being strained pretty hard. From what I hear elsewhere (and I have friends and family in the medical field), is that there’s concern that if things get bad they’ll be strained, too, but right now things are ok. The death rate in America is pretty low, hopefully it stays that way. I’m definitely hoping for the best. Unfortunately, I think a severe recession has already begun.

      • Nicolas · March 26, 2020

        They economical impact is enormous already and 90% of all freelancers, artists have no more income.
        But Germany actually remembers that in the banking crisis in 2008 the German state saved the banks with 790 billion € of tax money. And now they remember WHO payed those high taxes.
        The have started rescue programs for companies, freelancers and artists.

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 26, 2020

        There’s some stimulus bill in America. I hope the politicians are doing the right thing, but I have very little faith and trust. Hopefully things will get better quickly where you are.

    • walker · March 16, 2020

      “because Italians were for too long too relaxed about the outbreak and haven’t been testing people”
      wow. today we’re counting 1809 deaths.
      greetings, FWIW, from northern italy.

      • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

        I’m sorry that your area was hit so hard. I hope that yourself and your family and friends are doing well. Things will get better, I promise! If there’s anything that I can do for you, let me know.

  2. alexander · March 15, 2020

    There’s another side of craziness. Our one of the former USSR countries live as if nothing happened at all.
    On the other hand we had gone through so many crisises that we kinda used to them. People just know it doesn’t matter how much toilet paper they have.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      I don’t really get the toilet paper thing anyway. Coronavirus doesn’t give you diarrhea. I think people are panicking and aren’t really thinking logically.

  3. MarkC · March 15, 2020

    You are absolutely correct, it’s the same everywhere. Everywhere I go people are buying 2-3 carts full of can goods, non perishables, bread, and paper goods. Last night I went to the store to get groceries for dinner and just had to leave, the shelves were bare. No milk, no bread, no frozen foods, no water, no bottled juices, most of the soft drinks were gone as well.
    Restaurants, bars, schools and sadly, churches are closing all over in my area, my business has not had a new job request since March 1st. People are scared and are just reacting the best they know how. Unfortunately that means buying more than they need an creating an unnecessary shortage of goods. Sadly as a whole we have become a me first, and the hell with everyone else society, and we are seeing that first hand now. I hate to say it, but I think thing will get worse before they get better. Once things begin to spiral, it is difficult to stop.
    I know I’m probably in the minority, but I’ll continue to pray, go to church when it opens back up, and help those I can, when I can.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      I agree that things will get worse before they get better. The best thing we can do is check in on our family, friends and neighbors and just help each other out. See who needs help and fulfill their needs if you can. We need to put others first a little more often.

  4. Ricardo Richon Guzman · March 16, 2020

    In Chile there are reacting late but not so late as Italians, there seems a lot is being made to stop the propagation which is higher than other illness and worse for older ones.

    What people don’t see is that also for people who recover there is high risk of lungs problems and liver also.

    As for the “no supply” situation, there is here also that people gets to panic really easy and shows just the individualism the culture teach everyone.

  5. jun park · March 16, 2020

    Korea where I live is also famous for the coronavirus. But that’s not happening in Korea. There are fewer people on the streets, but they think it’s going to happen and they act calmly. I hope everyone is healthy.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      I hope everyone is healthy, too. Glad to hear that people are acting calmly and rationally in Korea. Thank you for the report!

  6. Darius Marley · March 16, 2020

    Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from this event, is the need for people to stop relying on their leaders for protection. Hedge against shortages by maintaining a long-term supply of consumables, instead of making a frantic dash during an emergency. Work from home more. Get to know neighbors. Become truly localized and self-sufficient.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      The crazy thing here is that I live in the land of preppers, where many people have a stockpile already, but I think even those people used this as an excuse to stockpile even more. But, yes, it’s wise to have a supply standing by and to be as self-sufficient as practical. That’s good survival.

  7. Nicolas · March 16, 2020

    « The vast majority of those who contract Coronavirus will make a full recovery. »

    You can’t say that, this kind of idea is very dangerous !

    If people think like that they will help spread the virus and poor health people will contract it and that will end up with more deaths! Besides you add up risk for poor help people to not get a bed in hospital. In some scenarios, there is a risk you get severe respiratory symptoms and if you do you, you will need medical assistance for your respiratory system to properly function and you will need a bed in hospital. Since hospital will quickly be full, doctors will have to make choices to save people and they will save younger one compared to old one.
    So everyone need to protect themselves to not spread this virus more.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      Well, the WHO and CDC both say something similar on their websites. I think the statistics and even history both back it up. I actually looked this up: at it’s current projected bell curve, Coronavirus isn’t expected to crack the top 50 ways to die, and it might not make the top 100 (it’s not currently in the top 100). There are literally 50, if not 100, things that we should more worried about. Even a global recession could cause more deaths. I’m just saying that there is too much fear and panic in the world right now, but especially America, which is really the country that I can comment on since it’s where I live.

  8. leodelatorre · March 16, 2020

    Totalmente de acuerdo, no se acaba el mundo, tenemos que aprovechar esta circunstancia para mejorar como seres humanos. Convertir la pandemia en oportunidad de cambio.
    Saludos, con mis mejores deseos.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      Es interesante que digas esto. Mi esposa y yo tuvimos una discusión similar anoche. Hay una gran oportunidad para mostrar amabilidad y ser generosos con quienes nos rodean. Podemos ser el cambio que el mundo necesita desesperadamente. ¡Cuídate!

  9. kd5urs · March 16, 2020

    I’m now old enough to be at-risk but also to have lived through several of these. Take it seriously but don’t panic! It’s an opportunity to get back to what we’re all about. Help your neighbor who is unable to get out or hurting from seeing their hours cut, or has their kids suddenly at home all day.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      Very well said! It’s a great opportunity to be kind and generous with those around us. And, please, use common-sense mitigation techniques, like washing hands and staying home if sick, so that those who are “at risk” have a better chance to stay healthy. Take care!

  10. mostlymonochrome · March 16, 2020

    Not that bad round here except for the toilet roll.

  11. Vladimir · March 16, 2020

    At an unscheduled meeting on Monday night, March 16, 2020, the US Federal Reserve System (FRS) decided:
    – reduce the interest rate to “zero” and launch a program of “quantitative easing” by $ 700 billion,
    – For the first time since 2012, the Fed has been unfreezing a swap line with leading Central Banks of the world (Bank of Japan, ECB, Swiss National Bank, Central Bank of Canada, Bank of England),
    – nullify reserve requirements for US commercial banks. Similar measures were not taken even in the Great Depression.
    As a result, the Fed received:
    – the record-breaking interest rate cut in history,
    – unlimited repos,
    – unlimited swap lines with world securities,
    – the launch of QE 4 (similarities will come later, but apparently with a potential of over $ 1.2 trillion per year),
    – zeroing of reserve requirements to commercial banks.
    They used in general ALL that they CAN use. Full arsenal!
    Panic, agony?
    In any case, this is an unprecedented, absolutely unique historical event!

    Yes, this is the main world event, practically the collapse that US financiers cover up with the coronavirus – the existing world financial system of the dollar has reached the limit of its capabilities. And the Fed has clearly confirmed this with its current decisions.

    Therefore, coronavirus is a pure operation to divert attention from the most important.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 16, 2020

      Maybe. I’ve heard about a dozen theories over the last few days. I’m sure there’s truth to all of them including this. Never let a crisis go to waste, right? Everything is political nowadays, maybe always was. I think of the cigarette man in the X-Files….

  12. Joel Landén · March 18, 2020

    Great pictures. Which film sim settings?

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 19, 2020

      Thank you! I actually originally made these in color. It was a new recipe that I was going to publish today, but we had an earthquake and that threw everything off. So probably this weekend I will share it. Anyway, my wife suggested that the pictures should be b&w and not color, so I did a quick monochrome conversion on an app on my phone.

  13. Jaime Fuentes M · March 24, 2020

    Excellent article..!!! unfortunately as indicated the panic is taking over the world, what is happening in your country is also happening in other latitudes … hopefully this will happen soon for the good of all, thank you.

    • Ritchie Roesch · March 24, 2020

      I hope things across the world improve soon. Thank you for the input!

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