OPINION: Coronavirus Paranoia Is Outpacing Its Actual Danger

The fear of viruses often has less to do with reality than with irrational expectations. The latest coronavirus epidemic will taper off, just like those before it.

Date: 2020/01/29
By: Fabian Schmidt, Deutsche Welle
Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

Photo credit: AP/TPG Images

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.     [FULL STORY]

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