FILE - This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

Editorial: Back it off the panic button, but treat the coronavirus with respect

Covid-19 is a threat, but it’s not time to run for the hills yet

Just how scared should you be of COVID-19, the virus formerly known as coronavirus?

The answer lies somewhere between terrified and not at all.

That’s helpful, isn’t it?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can be fatal and it’s spreading around the world, hopping from country to country. It deserves some respect as a serious threat. On the other hand, health systems around the world are working hard to slow its spread and develop a vaccine, though that is likely months away yet.

In a way, it’s like the Y2K bug.

Remember at the end of the last century, we were concerned that computer systems all over the world would all crash as we entered year 2000? But when clocks rolled over to Jan. 1, 2000, planes failed to fall out of the sky, bank machines didn’t start randomly spitting out money and, civilization continued on as before.

The failure of civilization to end led some to believe that Y2K had been a hoax all along. Nowadays, people would call it “fake news.”

Nope. Y2K was a very real threat. But a lot of money was spent and there was a lot of hard work to patch or update vulnerable systems.

The same goes for COVID-19.

Left alone, it would likely become pandemic quickly. So the time is now to take measures, not to sit back and pretend it isn’t going to be a problem. Luckily, some of those measures, like washing your hands, are pretty simple and, hey, you’re supposed to be doing that anyway.

COVID-19 is about 20 times as deadly as the flu that we deal with every year.

It’s about as deadly as the 1918 Spanish flu — but that’s only about a two per cent fatality rate. In various Ebola outbreaks, death rates ranged from 25 per cent to as high as 90 per cent.

But even at a two-per-cent death rate, the Spanish flu was responsible for an estimated 40 to 50 million deaths. That’s nothing to mess with.

Especially here in Canada, there is no reason to panic.

But ignoring the potential of COVID-19 would be just as poor a response.

Now is the time, individually and as nations to take all steps necessary to prevent us from getting to that panic stage.

– Black Press Media

Coronavirus

Just Posted

Cowichan Mountie cleared of wrongdoing after woman’s arm broken during arrest

Police were called around 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2019 to remove a “severely intoxicated” woman

Duncan using empty streetscape to move forward with public works downtown

Some projects scheduled for later in the year accelerated due to COVID-19 quiet

Investigators seek witnesses in Langford shooting death of Angela Dalman

Police seek out dash cam footage, home security videos and neighbourhood witnesses

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

‘Langford Cares’ campaign to cover hotel expenses for frontline health care workers

Initiative gives back to health care staff living on the West Shore

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

VicPD asks for help finding owner of recovered camera

Camera contained images of a family celebrating a wedding

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Island recreation sites with camping facilities closed until June

Trail sites still open, provided safety can be ensured

Most Read