*Before I start I would like to say of course the virus is concerning and people have died from it. The purpose of this take is to reassure worries and focus on prevention rather than fear*
Coronavirus has now spread all across the world and is creating a wave of panic. The media is a key factor in fueling the fear so here a few things that the media isn't necessarily telling you and may bring you some reassurance:
1. The death rate is actually super low.
It is sad that anyone has died from this virus, but we have to bear in mind that with over 111,000 people now infected, over 3,000 have died. That is horrible, but statistically, it means the vast majority has not. It has been dubbed a 'deadly virus' but the common flu can also be deadly to hundreds of thousands a year, as can driving a car. We don't panic that much every time we get in the car or catch a cold or flu, do we?
2. Thousands have recovered and are recovering daily.
What the media isn't announcing is that over 62,000 cases have fully recovered. Thousands of others have mild symptoms and are being treated at home with no critical threats to their health.
3. Most of those who died are the elderly and those with health issues.
This is again sad that these people are so badly affected, but if you are young and generally in good health, you have little reason to worry. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions are also under risk when catching the common flu, so precautions for them are actually always necessary.
4. But having said that...
Yes, the deaths mostly affect the elderly and they must still be extra cautious, but, there are also plenty of older people who have recovered also. An 101 year old man has recently recovered from the disease. The death rate for the over 80s is somewhere around or just under 15% - this isn't great but considering that age, there is still a 85% chance of recovery which is actually not as bad as you'd think.
5. Thousands have tested negative for the virus.
Bear in mind that there are thousands of people who thought they might have it and did not. Here in the UK, over 21,000 people have been tested. Only just under 300 have been tested positive. That means nearly 21,000 people either had symptoms or thought they were at risk by being to a certain country or through contact with someone. So even if you have symptoms, follow advice and get checked, but don't panic. Chances are you don't even have it.
6. The media wants to scare you.
As you probably know, online news aims to be clickbait - they want to make everything sound more dramatic so you click on it and they make money. News and media generally focus on the negative anyway - 20 people could recover on a certain day, but they'll choose to report on the 2 that died with pre- existing health conditions.
7. New cases are slowing down in China.
In the centre of the outbreak, new cases per week are getting lower due to China's containment methods. Although some 80,000 people in China have been infected, contrary to popular belief, not every Chinese person has been affected. The Chinese population exceeds a billion people, so there are millions who are completely unaffected by the crisis, despite the media portraying the whole country as a hot bed for the disease. It is predominantly serious in Wuhan.
Things NOT to do during the Coronavirus outbreak:
1. Compromise on hygiene
Hygiene is ALWAYS important, even when a worldwide pandemic is not occurring. But generally the advice for avoiding this disease is to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 or even 30 seconds. Also avoid touching the eyes, mouth and nose with unclean hands as this is how viruses enter the body. The best way to stop this disease spreading is prevention.
2. Use it as an excuse to blame others or be racially abusive
Several stories are emerging of attacks on oriental and even Italian people over the Coronavirus. The disease is around the world now and this is a horrible way to treat someone. Anyone could have the disease and frankly, people are using it as an excuse. Your country probably didn't close their borders anyway, but you're not blaming them. There is no factual evidence for how the disease started, only possibilities. Yes, it may have come from the markets in Wuhan, and possibly because of the animals being sold. But we firstly don't know this for fact, and although what another culture eats may disgust us, it is the norm for them. I am sure what is being sold has been going on for a long time. Blaming gets us no where.
I don't know the situation in other countries, but here in the UK, people are buying in huge quantities and emptying the shelves, and to be honest, I don't know why. Toilet paper is specifically being brought excessively. Firstly, I would like to point out that there are no coronavirus symptoms which will require a load of toilet paper. Secondly, if you should get the virus or be quarantined, you won't go without essentials. Deliveries will be left outside your home for you to collect if that be the case. You is going without, is those who now can't buy certain products because you've emptied the shelves. Many stores are out of anti-bacterial gel too - bear in mind that in order for you to not get this virus, other people need to be keeping their hands clean too - so if you're buying all of the antibacterial gel, you're not helping yourself because chances are someone else would be using it.
These are my thoughts anyway! Try to keep calm, stay informed, and follow advice. But don't overreact and live in fear!