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Media heightens hysteria over coronavirus

By Kalli Colacino
Opinions Editor

It’s all you hear about on TV. It’s the latest and greatest thing to overreact about — it’s the coronavirus. The world has been on edge since December 2019, when the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. And of course, the virus didn’t stay contained to China for long. According to Medscape, the first international case was reported in Thailand on Jan. 13.

I feel that there will always be an illness going around and there will always be risks of catching it (Envato Elements).

Now, I know it’s unnerving to hear that there’s a scary, potentially-deadly virus spreading like wildfire, but it shouldn’t be our main concern. Yes, it is important to be aware of the coronavirus, but it is not as big of a deal as everyone (particularly the media) is portraying it to be. No one seems to be phased by the flu, even though it is a much more common and life-threatening virus.

According to the CDC, it is estimated that there were between 34,000,000 to 49,000,000 flu illnesses in the U.S. alone in the span of five months (Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 29, 2020) and between 20,000 to 52,000 flu deaths.

There are 101,846 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in 96 countries and territories, according to worldometer, and 3,462 deaths in the span of approximately three months. This means that the coronavirus and the flu are on totally different levels. If you want to panic about a virus, it should be the flu — not the coronavirus. 

Everywhere I go, the coronavirus is all I hear about. Don’t get me wrong — I am a big supporter of being conscious of what is happening in the world, but it’s too much. I appreciate the College sending out emails to keep students and faculty aware of the situation, but it is causing more panic than it needs to. My gym even emailed me to tell me about the coronavirus and how to take steps to prevent it.

Taking precautions is always a good thing to do, but people are frightened half to death. I have friends who don’t even want to leave their house. Now what is causing this panic? It is all the media is talking about. News outlets, radio shows and major publications are forcing this fear upon us. 

I understand why many people are panicking. I’ll admit — I was panicking too when I heard there was a coronavirus case confirmed in the U.S. But I quickly came to my senses and realized that there is always a virus going around. It is something we have to deal with and try to contain, but we should definitely not be afraid to venture outside. There will always be an illness going around and there will always be risks of catching it. The fear of the coronavirus should not stop people from doing what they need to do.

We have pushed aside the fact that the flu is a predominant and realistic issue that is currently much more dangerous. As a college student working part time, I am always worried about getting sick and missing work and my classes. But I am not going to let the worry dictate my every move.

It is important to be aware of the illnesses going around and to take precautions, such as washing your hands, getting more sleep and taking vitamins. But at the end of the day, don’t let the fear of an overdramatized virus consume you.


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