Modern Mass Hysteria: Coronavirus Edition

The apocalypse is coming: in addition to being slaughtered by the climate and Trump, we're now going to die in droves from the latest scary virus

If you have been paying any attention, you'll undoubtedly have found that modern media (both news corporations and social media alike) thrives on fearmongering: from rampant claims of impending doom via climate change to constant apocalyptic predictions stemming from every move Donald Trump takes (commonly referred to as Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS), one would think people would have built up a tolerance for the media's constant stream of bullshit.


With the latest hysteria over the coronavirus or COVID-19, it would seem that the media's scare tactics are not only just as effective as ever before, but even more so.


Store shelves are empty as panicked buyers stock up on everything they can get their hands on (toilet paper and hand sanitizer in particular), schools and businesses are shutting down en masse, and public events are being cancelled across the globe.


If you've been paying attention to the news, you'd think we're all in serious trouble and millions of people are going to die with millions more getting seriously ill - the stock market had its steepest drop since 1987 and even cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin plunged as panic overwhelmed the populace.


Before we all submit to the hysteria, how about we take some of the facts that have been presented and filter out some of the current panic using plain old common sense.


For starters, much is being made of the novel (meaning "new") coronavirus' mortality rate, with the World Health Organization's (WHO) statistics putting it at around 3.6%, which would be reason for fear - the problem with that statistic is it is inflated, something WHO scientists have even acknowledged.


With testing capacity limited (severely in some places), combined with the fact that many with the virus present no or very mild symptoms, most people being tested as of now have more severe symptoms or have travelled from/are from a specific region. Without widespread testing, those numbers are simply inaccurate.


For an example as to how off they may be, South Korea was one of the four most-hit countries in terms of infections, yet with expanded testing and superior health care in comparison to those other most-afflicted countries (Italy, China, and Iran) their mortality rate is sitting at 0.6% and dropping, with their number of cases already declining day over day.


Of course on the other end of the spectrum, Italy has seen 1,266 deaths out of 17,660 cases as of today, with some 250 people dying in the last 24 hours alone.


Digging a little deeper into those numbers - the vast majority of deaths (worldwide) have been people over the age of 70 and/or people with serious pre-existing conditions.


In the vast majority of cases found in adults without serious pre-existing conditions, symptoms have been similar to a mild-moderate flu and have been met with exceptionally high recovery rates. Children are particularly resistant to the virus, with cases involving children virtually all involving mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.


In fact if you take all of the data we currently have on the virus and look at what the risk is to people under the age of 70 without prior serious conditions such as immunodeficiencies or prior respiratory illness, the mortality rate drops down to about 0.2% (which again, is inflated due to the small amount of people with no or mild symptoms being tested).


The risk is clearly to the elderly and those with prior conditions, particularly respiratory problems. Of course precautions should be taken to protect those at risk, but something that is being completely overlooked is that the people at risk are always at risk - infections like the common flu and pneumonia each kill tens of thousands of people every year in the US alone for this exact same reason, despite there being vaccines (for the flu) and treatment (for both) widely available.


The coronavirus is treated thus far in the same way as the flu, and as stated, for all but unlucky elderly patients and those with serious pre-existing conditions recovery is very likely. The biggest problem is access to that treatment and the strain put on health care systems, in particular the excess strain that comes when panic is induced.


The flu season affects tens of millions of people every year and thanks to coronavirus' similar symptoms, you can rest assured that hospitals will be (and are already) flooded with everyone showing any flu-like symptoms thanks to the fear that they now have the coronavirus.


Health care systems in many places (particularly with socialized systems like in Canada) were overwhelmed even before coronavirus was ever heard of, with excessive wait times and overcrowding commonplace. Simply telling people to stay home unless they show more serious symptoms doesn't work - people are stupid and few listen, it's truly as simple as that.


Instead of reasonable precautions and awareness, thanks to the media and the many irresponsible "experts" they interview, we have people panicking as if the apocalypse is nigh, blame being thrown at all but those actually responsible, and people's daily lives are being forced to a halt despite the relatively small level of risk they face.


While many are saying that the coronavirus is unprecedented, it's not even close, and it's far from the bringer of doom the media is hyping it as.


China, the epicenter of the virus, is already seeing a steady decline in cases and deaths, with their total coming to just over 3,000 deaths out of some 80,000 cases (if their numbers are to be believed) since the outbreak began late last year.


To put some perspective on these numbers - over 12,000 died in the US from swine flu in 2009 that infected some 61 million people and hospitalized hundreds of thousands, yet sports events weren't cancelled, there weren't hysterical toilet paper buying sprees, and the stock market didn't lose any momentum. Not to mention the US has less than a third of China's population.


Hilariously, the media in North America has been trying to place the blame on Trump, going so far as to run cover for the real reason the virus spread so rapidly, the Chinese government.


When Trump wanted to effectively close the borders to travellers from China, the Democrats vehemently stood against him as he was overreacting. Later, they and their media counterparts complained he wasn't taking the virus seriously enough - when he recently restricted travel from Europe, they flipped once more and said it was too much and was just Trump trying to eliminate immigration rather than actually deal with the problem, despite infectious disease experts supporting the decision and stating that it would help.


Countries overseas that closed their borders early to China such as Russia and Singapore have seen very few cases and no reported deaths at the hands of the virus, yet nobody in the media even bothers mentioning those facts while Europe's carelessly open borders has allowed the virus to spread unhindered.


China has actually been praised regularly by media outlets the world over, despite the fact that China was informed of the dangers of the virus back in November and instead of restricting travel out of Wuhan to contain the outbreak, decided to suppress this information and even went after whistleblowers that ignored their warnings to keep quiet.


The fact that the virus originated in Wuhan, which had opened a high-level bio-lab in the city in the same year in which the outbreak began, is suspicious in itself, but the Chinese government's efforts to quell whistleblowers and suppress all information about the outbreak in its early stages is what led to it spreading to so many other countries so quickly.


Through their sheer incompetence or even maliciousness, China did not take steps to contain the outbreak during its infancy long after they were made aware of the risks and as a result allowed it to spread around the globe. Their massive efforts to contain the situation were only made when it was no longer able to keep the outbreak quiet, and they've continued cracking down on whistleblowers that have exposed this as well as egregious human rights violations committed by Chinese officials.


Those whistleblowers have posted firsthand accounts of how the Chinese government was "handling" the situation, including reports that sick people were being put in body bags while they were still breathing and then being cremated alive.


Chinese officials are actively spreading stories on social media about the virus being created by the CIA - meanwhile, the news is blaming the current panic on Donald Trump and claiming that anyone who calls the virus "Wuhan virus" or a foreign virus is doing so because of racism...blatantly ignoring the fact that many viral outbreaks are named after the place they originated from (Ebola, Zika, the Spanish flu, West Nile, etc.) and even some diseases are named after where they originated, like lyme disease.


Ironically, many media outlets had called COVID-19 "Wuhan coronavirus" in the past, but after Trump and several Republicans had referred to the virus as "Wuhan virus" and Trump called it a foreign virus (which is entirely factual), the media ran with the narrative that anyone referring to it by its origin is a racist.


Many in the states are of course going even further to politicize the virus and claiming that Trump's failures to stop the virus show exactly why socialized health care (or "medicare for all") is needed. The argument is as ass-backwards as it can get - if the federal government is doing a poor job in regards to the epidemic, how would giving that same federal body more responsibilities solve the problem? You can't have it both ways folks.


A possible solution to the problem has already been discovered yet is being almost completely ignored by the media, and it's one that seems ridiculously obvious.


In all ten cases where coronavirus patients were treated with plasma infusions from people who had recovered from the virus, the patient's health notably improved. It's of course still early to point to it as a cure, but it doesn't take a doctor to know that when one recovers from a virus, their bodies tend to create antibodies to help fight off future infections.


That's literally the reason vaccines work after all, so how this rather simple solution hadn't been thought of or is simply being ignored is beyond me considering the large number of people that have recovered from the virus.


The entire coronavirus situation has been overblown and sensationalized thanks to the world's current obsession with social media and the irresponsible media members that continue to spread fear for their own benefit.


It's easy to fall into the traps modern culture has set, but it's always important to slow down and think for yourself.


Is coronavirus dangerous?


Yes.


Is it going to kill millions of people in the near future?


No.


Taking precautions and being careful, particularly if you are older or have existing health conditions (or are in contact with them), is always important and even moreso now. There is no reason however to panic or turn your life upside down when the actual risk is so low.


Don't buy into the fear, and stop hoarding toilet paper people. It's getting ridiculous.

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