The coronavirus is scary, but it's not the end of the world


Brooke Pelletier

With the coronavirus spreading at a fairly alarming rate, people around the world have taken many precautions to avoid getting sick.

Even here on campus, we have received a number of emails regarding the virus and how to avoid getting it. Most of these tips include the typical wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, do not go out if you are sick, do not touch your face, and avoid people who are sick. And now, our university is closing for the rest of the semester in response to the virus. Life as we know it is changing, but that does not always have to mean the end of the world. With all the new changes, people are now flocking to the internet for both news and comedic relief. 

Many people suggest washing your hands to avoid getting the virus. All over the internet, there are constant reminders to wash your hands after nearly everything you do. But, shouldn’t we be doing this anyway? We should always wash our hands after we touch foreign surfaces or do anything to get our hands dirty. So, does that mean most people do not wash their hands as much as they should? Just because there is a rising pandemic going on should not mean that we necessarily need to go above and beyond in our cleanliness habits now; we should be doing that anyway! 

In relation to that, the use of hand sanitizer is being greatly encouraged as well. This is another thing that should be a regular activity in our daily lives. However, much like the hand washing debate, using hand sanitizer will not solve all problems. Hand sanitizer is an anti-bacterial product, which 99.9% of the time prevents you from getting bad bacteria that could make you sick. However, the coronavirus is a virus, not a bacterium, and anti-bacterial is different from anti-virus, meaning that hand sanitizers would be much less useful in terms of avoiding the coronavirus.

One of the strangest things that has ensued because of this virus, though, is people’s reactions to other products—namely, over 30% of Americans refusing to drink or buy Corona beers because of the coronavirus outbreak. This is something I believe is absolutely ridiculous. Part of me wonders if this is simply people trying to be funny in light of a dark situation, but the other part is concerned that people believe the coronavirus is related to a brand of beer. This is something that is, quite frankly, immature and is something that is unnecessarily hurting a company. The coronavirus is a virus, and has nothing to do with beer.

Because the outbreak initially began in Wuhan, China, many people have also been acting discriminatingly towards those of Asian descent. This is very problematic, due to the fact that the virus has been around for more than just this year, and did not initially begin in China. It seems that people are taking this virus as an excuse to be racially prejudiced towards others, which is unfair and wrong. One race of people cannot be responsible for a virus beginning, so it is immoral to blame them for it.

All in all, though, it is interesting to see how our world reacts when things of this nature occur. While it is something that is notably serious, and of course something that should be properly addressed, it is interesting to see the variety of people’s reactions and their efforts to scramble some sort of potential solution together. As previously mentioned with hand washing, this is something that should always be put into practice, but people are emphasizing it much more because of the epidemic. We should be washing our hands properly anyways! Now, people are seen flocking to grocery stores and hoarding things like toilet paper and soup, going against the large group restrictions newly put into place and also acting a bit crazy. While it is never a bad idea to stock up, people are becoming more and more greedy and not thinking of, say, the elderly person behind them who is genuinely out of toilet paper. While these are certainly times for concern, it would be best to take a step back and think about other people, and not just ourselves in this anxiety-inducing time.

In the broad view of this outbreak, though, what’s important is that we look at all of the facts and try not to become too overwhelmed. The facts of the matter are despite that it is relatively new and scary, 80 percent of the coronavirus cases are mild, and are very similar to that of the common cold. Out of these cases, too, only about two percent have been deadly, and that is 0.2 percent for people aged 39 and under. Those who are most at risk for getting the coronavirus are the elderly or those who have compromised immune systems, which is also similar to the flu in that respect. However, it should be encouraged that just because the younger generations do not have as much at risk, they should also minimize the time they spend in large gatherings, in order to help protect those who are more at risk.

The reality is that yes, this will continue to spread. While this may sound scary, it is going to happen no matter what we do; it is a virus, this is what happens with viruses. But this does not mean that our lives are completely going to end. As long as everyone takes the necessary precautions there is little to fear, and while it may mean that life as we know it changes for a few months, it is better to be safe than sorry, in this reporter’s opinion. It is rather easy to protect yourself and others as long as you are washing your hands and avoiding sick people. Be well!