Why are we so afraid of this novel coronavirus when we are much more likely to catch the flu? How can people manage their anxiety about this? You see all these new stories, information on social media, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in being worried about it.
I think the most useful thing that people can do at this stage is to find some trusted sources of information like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the World Health Organization, or some of our major media, and just stick to them for information. They’re professionals. They do the best job they can of gathering and communicating the information. That will also protect you from the irresponsible, the rumor mongers, the people who are using this as an opportunity to sell things or to inflame racial hatred or ethnic hatred.
“Information that we gather should be authentic and based on facts; otherwise, it would cause panic and likely to make us feel intimidated for no reason at all. This is what is happening during the war with Coronavirus. Trust professional, avoid panic.”
I think, find a few good sources of information. If they tell you that the virus is still remote and they give you confidence that our public health officials have the resources and the freedom to deal with this in a professional way, you can afford to monitor until they tell you something else. When a health problem like Ebola or coronavirus comes from abroad, we have poor information about it than we do about health problems in this country.
Often foreign places have poorer surveillance capability, so they just gather poor information. Sometimes they have authoritarian regimes who suppress the information. We have greater uncertainty about things that come from places with poor information.
We also are vulnerable to people who have access to grind seizing on this situation as an opportunity to inflame xenophobia, fear of other ethnic groups. We as individuals need to be above that. We expect our leaders to calm them, to calm any of those fears and to stand up for people who are being unjustly criticized.
Under crisis situations, people typically rally around one another, they support one another, they act bravely. You can disrupt that if you deprive people of the opportunity to act in a coordinated way.
If there are no trusted sources of information, then you get more or less coordinated information. I think the tragic situation of the people in Wuhan are experiencing is a result of I guess a political regime that didn’t allow public health people to do their work, and then the problem got out of control, and then these draconian measures either were implemented. I would hope that those decisions are made on public health grounds, rather than political grounds. Sometimes leaders will do dramatic things in order to present themselves as what they view as leaders in ways that are ineffective.
You should avoid becoming a source of risk to other people, by insulating yourself if you’re sick, coughing into your sleeve using a tissue and throwing it out. That is the proper way indeed.
It is better to be supportive of people who are under greater stress. Their anxiety can be got shut of if they are provided with right information at the right time. Therefore, it is vital to trust authenticated persons and institutions.