Courtesy of the Kitsap Public Health District

Editorial: Reason, not panic is what is needed in our approach to COVID-19

There is no sense in rushing out and filling multiple carts full of toilet paper and pasta

Panic has never really helped anything.

And that’s certainly true when it comes to the coronavirus, specifically with the risk we are facing in Canada in general, and Vancouver Island in particular.

There have been, as of this posting, 46 diagnosed cases in B.C., including, as of yesterday, the first on the Island.

There has been lots of media coverage of the coronavirus, or, as we are now calling it, COVID-19. Scary terms like “pandemic” are now officially accepted, and we’ve heard about mass quarantines in China, and people being quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan, as the virus spread through the confined space.

This is real. But we have to keep things in perspective.

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There is no sense at all in rushing out to your grocery store and filling multiple carts full of toilet paper and pasta, like you think the apocalypse is about to hit and you won’t be able to access necessities for the next six months. But that’s what’s been happening in some big box stores, as an overreaction from a few spreads as fast as any contagion and all of sudden people think they need enough breakfast cereal stacked in the basement to last through a nuclear holocaust.

Now, it’s never a bad idea to have some extra food and other necessities, like prescriptions and medical supplies, on hand in case of emergency. In fact, in the area in which we live, we should all have an emergency kit set aside in case of earthquake.

But cases upon cases of bottled water, like COVID-19 is going to somehow wipe out our municipal water supply in an instant? That’s just silly. And please don’t be conned into buying a $100 roll of toilet paper from Craigslist. I promise you, things aren’t that dire.

I mean, I guess you can stockpile boxes of masks and hand sanitizer if you want, but it’s unlikely to be of use to you…likely ever.

We need to approach these things with some common sense.

If you get COVID-19, chances are good you will probably feel as if you have the regular flu for a few days. If you have underlying health problems, then you have reason to be more concerned. This is the same as you would be with a regular flu.

The difference is that COVID-19 is spreading more easily than the regular flus we get every winter, and our goal should be to try to take steps aimed at preventing it from exploding to levels that exceed the health system’s treatment and care resources. There are some reasonable precautions you can and should take, like reducing unnecessary travel and large public gatherings.

Even if you have to quarantine yourself, consider that you probably have someone who will fetch a few groceries for you and drop them at the end of your driveway. You’re not going to be left to die if you haven’t stocked up on the entire shelf of cans of soup at your grocery store.

It’s the time to embrace restraint, caution and reason, not flailing and hysteria.


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