Panic! Panic! Panic!

No, really, no! Yes, there is a corona virus on the loose, and yes, it is being declared an emergency, it might also soon be called a pandemic, and governments all over the world are then going to prove their re-electability by proving how focused they are, caring, proactive, sensible and stable, a safe pair of hands.

Media outlets will prepare reams of frightening statistics, interviews with survivors, exposes with medical experts, pictures of funeral processions and reports of the aforementioned political activities such as the freeing up of pandemic stockpiles.

Medical experts will predict that only between 50 – 80% of the population will contract the virus, but don’t panic, no need to rush out and stockpile 2 – 4 weeks worth of dried foods for the event that we are forced to quarantine at home. Borders will close, xenophobic crowds will attack foreign looking residents and accuse them of harbouring the dreaded virus. Travel agents will close shop, schools will close, businesses will struggle to retain staff, and the stock market will collapse.

Don’t panic.

Of course you will panic. Who wouldn’t panic? The world as we know it is coming to an end. People will die. Perhaps I will die? My loved ones? Oh Lord, help us.

Now, if you are reading my blog, you will know that I am a heretical medical practitioner. I may have learned my medicine at the knee of orthodox ideology, but I follow my own path, a path that demands a questioning mindset, and open mind for answers. I am on the dark side of medicine. So by all means disregard my opinions, but do feel free to engage with the issues.

So. What do I think about this world ending apocalyptic nightmare of a corona virus with the cute name of Covid19, less well known as SARS-CoV-2?

The bare bones of the disease is that it is closely related to the SARS virus. I lived through that outbreak in Hong Kong, and witnessed at first hand the effects on a small area of the world with the highest incidence of the illness. The Covid19 has a mortality of about 2.5%, it appears to be past the point of being controllable, it may well affect over 70% of the world’s population, and there is little we can do to treat it. Any vaccine that is found will be about 18 months down the track. By then, the virus will have gone around the world.

Am I panicking?

No. What bothers me, bothers me a lot, is not the virus, but the human response to it. The ensuing and – I believe – unavoidable but unnecessary panic will cause much more damage than the actual infection.

Who will most likely die from this? As usual, the very old, the very young, the immunologically weak, and those with debilitating chronic diseases. It appears that children in particular are safe from the major effects. Children appear to have mild symptoms, completely recover, and never present a problem. Those who need to be concerned are mostly the older ones amongst us. Me, for example. Those who are older than 70 seems to present the most at risk, so I have a few years of relative safety left. But I can guarantee that I will be at the front line, seeing people with coughs, colds, sniffles and sore throats, some of whom may in fact be carrying the corona virus in the earlier stages.

The general populations is told to present to their GP in such cases, and interestingly I discover that in Australia the government is not sending personal protection equipment (PPE) to general practices, so your Australian GP is being selectively targeted to be at risk of not only being forced to engage with possible dangers, but denied a modicum of safety by the government which claims to be looking out for the whole of society.

And still I declare that I am not concerned. Am I mad? The short answer is a possible “yes!” But I remain untroubled.

Why am I untroubled? Because I do not see this virus as being a major concern. Yes, there will be deaths. Many? Perhaps. But for every bad influenza year in the USA there are about 70,000 deaths due to the influenza. Does that cause a panic? No it does not. Every day there are deaths due to the opioid crisis in our societies. Does that cause a panic? Most certainly it does not. In the USA, as an example, there is an annual death toll from the medications that doctors prescribe and are issued without malintent or malpractice. Those drugs cause about 112,000 annual deaths. These figures could well be extrapolated worldwide to tally a total running into the millions. Is anyone panicking? No.

What we are seeing results from a population devoid of facts being manipulated by government and media, to focus on the negative news, arousing primordial fears for survival that result in a fight-or-flight reaction within the population that is the real cause of disaster.

As tragic as it may be for the family to lose a grandparent, and always accepting that younger people may also be at risk, albeit lesser, at the end of all days what is the worst possible outcome? Most people survive, there is a smaller population of the elderly and infirm, and life will continue as normal.

Unless, that is, people stay away from work, businesses collapse as a result, stock markets fall wiping out retirement savings, riots ensue from the panic, infrastructures are damaged, politicians invoke martial law, freedoms vanish as part of the attempt to restrain violence, national budgets become strained as a result, food supplies run low due to lack of supplies, more riots ensue, and hey presto! Death and destruction, loss of normal societal values, and we revert to a more primitive society.

Panic is to be avoided at all costs. Will anyone listen? Hear this, then. Our main enemy at this time is not a novel corona virus, it is the practiced stupidity of panic. And because it has been practiced so often, that is going to be the response. Put your helmets on!

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