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.