Corona Virus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Novel Corona . . all names for the latest threat to the world. Hey, I don’t want to minimize the danger here and I’m certainly no infectious disease expert but come on. Calm down a little folks. Let’s put this whole thing in perspective. So far, worldwide there have been about 3600 deaths from COVID-19 since it was identified. There have been 19 deaths in the United States. Again, those are totals over time. In reaction, people have rushed the stores and bought out every drop of Clorox on the shelves, every lysol wipe, and every ounce of hand sanitizer.
Surgical masks (that don’t protect you anyway) are being stolen from hospitals and clinics. Major sporting events and business conferences have been cancelled, travel restrictions enforced, all to try to quell the growing number of cases. In the ultimate form of association by name, people have stopped drinking Corona beer out of sheer panic!
In addition to cleaning products the stores have seen a run on toilet paper, cold remedies, canned goods, hand soap, and bottled water. Bottled water? Do people think the faucet is going to stop working? If so I have bad news for you about your toilet and all that toilet paper.
Meanwhile, in the US alone, 106 people will die in car crashes today. (Based on 38,800 automotive deaths in 2019). Will people avoid getting in their cars? Will they slow down on the roads? Drive less distracted? Put their cell phones down behind the wheel? Will we cancel Monday’s rush hour for fear of pandemic numbers of deaths behind the wheel? Nope. None of the above. People will continue driving like maniacs in their quest for that last jumbo pack of Clorox wipes from Costco.
I guess the good news is we finally got people to start washing their hands. If nothing else, this has gotten me to consider reducing human contact since apparently, until now, people were smearing their greasy, germ-laden paws all over public surfaces without much hand washing. Yuck. Good hygiene should be practiced no matter what. In case hand washing is new to anyone, here is a video:
As if the human non-reaction to the large daily number of automotive deaths isn’t bad enough, let’s compare Corona Virus to a real killer: Obesity. Americans are now fatter than ever with an obesity rate of 42%. Today, 767 Americans will die from obesity. Yet when we are done wrestling in the aisle for that last can of Lysol, we will mosey on over to the chip and snack section and load the cart down with completely useless junk food, soda, and boxes of processed garbage to fill our pantry with in case we are quarantined.
The media hasn’t helped the hysteria but it isn’t their fault either. Media is entertainment as much as it is news. People love dirty laundry and scary stuff. The media picks and chooses the flames it will fan and they have been working the bellows hard on the fire burning around the COVID-19 outbreak. No news channel misses the opportunity to quote any public official uttering the word “virus“. When the same news station airs a bit on obesity they show fat people strolling down the street from the neck down. They dutifully report the latest numbers showing chronic and alarming numbers for all age groups. Inevitably, one of the news anchors cracks a joke about exercising (or not) or about their diet. Can you imagine if they cracked a joke about COVID-19? They would most likely be fired.
Hey, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be worried about COVID-19 or any other infectious disease but other than taking the usual flu-season type of precautions, that is somewhat out of our control. Who knows how this thing will transport itself around the globe? But we can slow down and pay attention behind the wheel, and we can control the junk we shove in our pie holes. In the grand scheme of life, none of us are getting out of it alive and we will probably die from something other than the Corona. Well, unless we drink too much of it.