Stay calm and carry on was a slogan created by the British government in 1939. It was made into motivational posters, to prepare the British public in the face of mass air attacks on major cities. In a way, globally , we are facing a similar situation. The British are famous for keeping their composure in the face of extreme situations. We need to exercise such restraint. Grocery store shelves emptied of toilet paper and other staples, reflects a society in panic. It is time to take a step back and put the Covid-19 pandemic into perspective. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines an influenza pandemic as a global outbreak of a new influenza A virus, that is very different from current and recently circulating human seasonal influenza A viruses. Note that the focus is on a new strain of the influenza virus. It does not indicate that it is more virulent or more lethal then past or current influenza viruses in circulation. According to Mike Stacey, former ER Respiratory Therapist, “Right now it’s (Covid-19) not showing on the radar as being either extremely transmissible compared to more common diseases, and not nearly as virulent. Respiratory disease is my forte, and I have dealt with many scares in my career. It should be watched for mutation and increased transmissibility, but right now doesn’t seem to be particularly exceptional in either category. Be careful of images you see in the news of health care workers in biohazard attire. Some of these images are stock footage from other outbreaks not connected to this one. The good news is that all the things you would do to prevent the spread of this, are going to prevent the spread of other diseases, so you will wind up being less sick overall.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally there have been 4,613 deaths in four months, attributed to Covid-19. Of these 3,173 where in China. So outside of China there have been 1,440 deaths due to Covid-19. That is fewer than how many people die per day of the regular influenza virus. I am not trying to negate the seriousness of the current pandemic and I believe the government has implemented the measures they have to be responsible, however I think Covid-19’s danger has been exaggerated.
Panic has been deliberately sensationalized by some members of the media as a way to grab the public’s attention and thus increase their followers. Once the panic spread self-serving politicians jumped on the bandwagon yelling ‘The sky is falling!’. According to the CDC, the 2003 SARS pandemic was also a coronavirus that originated in Asia. It spread to 29 nations, infected approximately 8,000 people, and claimed 775 lives. The vast majority who died were elderly or had pre-existing conditions. SARS lasted six months and cost the world an estimated $40 billion. The created panic over the current coronavirus exceeds the SARS pandemic. The financial fallout will be far greater. “Now, with potentially hundreds to thousands of businesses about to close, and hundreds of thousands to millions of people about to be (or already) furloughed from their jobs, where do those business owners and their employees go to get their livelihoods back? Panic has dire consequences. And those consequences are the human faces of small business owners and employees working to survive the hysteria induced by exaggerated reports of dire consequences from a pandemic.” commented Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, on Covid-19. We should all do the responsible thing to care about our neighbours, wash our hands, practice common sense, be calm and carry on.