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Coronavirus paranoia is outpacing its actual danger

11 0 0
28.01.2020

No doubt, the news of an impending epidemic is scary, and the novel coronavirus (nCoV) appears to be spreading rapidly with the number of deaths rising continuously. China, where the virus emerged, has implemented drastic measures and placed no less than 43 million citizens under quarantine. These steps will surely be effective in stopping the nCoV outbreak.

And if the Chinese government actually succeeds in maintaining the quarantine over Hubei province and other affected regions for several weeks, the epidemic might end sooner than expected.

Infected with fear

But the fear of viruses, just like the price of shares, often has less to do with reality than with irrational expectations. Face masks, worn by those hoping it will protect them from an infection, are manifestations of an irrational gut feeling. Those wearing them have, in other words, become infected by fear.

What is clear is that the Chinese government's determined steps to stop the nCoV outbreak are proving effective. And around the world, fear of the new coronavirus is far outpacing its actual dispersion.

Let's take a deep breath

Maybe we should all put side the face masks, take a deep breath and look at the facts: coronaviruses have been considered relatively harmless pathogens that tend to cause common colds.

DW's Fabian Schmidt

But coronaviruses are also very adaptable and can mutate into highly dangerous pathogens, as we witnessed in the twenty-first century. The SARS and MERS epidemics — each caused by coronaviruses transmitted from animals to humans — changed the public perception of these pathogens.

Admittedly, both strands were rather dangerous. SARS killed one in ten individuals infected by the virus who went into hospital care. And the MERS virus, transmitted from camels, killed one in three infected individuals who were treated........

© Deutsche Welle