Although serious, COVID-19 is causing unnecessary hysteria

Groceries fly off the shelves in mass panic, when simpler measures can be taken to stay safe.


Photo obtained under creative commons license

Food and other necessary supplies fly off the shelves as people prepare for the worst.

Noah Barnes, Reporter

The Corona virus is a serious illness in which the primary symptoms are coughing, fever, and shortness of breath. It primarily affects people over 60 with underlying health conditions such as heart disease or lung problems. Although the virus is deadly, the death tolls pale in comparison to that of other illnesses, such as the flu.

The flu results in up to 80,000 deaths per year in the U.S. alone, with up to 31 million Americans contracting the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Despite these staggering numbers, the flu doesn’t incite mass panic and irrational action. During the flu season each year, people go about their daily activities, eating in restaurants, attending meetings, flying in planes, and attending sporting events.

While COVID-19 has caused a grand total of 68 deaths in the United States, a mass hysteria and anxiety has arisen among people living near us. Several irrational reactions, including the hoarding of toilet paper and hand sanitizer have occurred, leaving grocery store shelves bare.

I’m not attempting to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19, but rather promote a rational response to the virus that leaves everyone with less anxiety and promotes safety.

It is not necessary to purchase as many 12-packs of toilet paper possible and the entire shelf of hand soap to boot. Rather, buy what you need according to the size of your family, and come back to the store in a week to buy more items when you run out.

The world isn’t going to stop supplying necessary items because of a virus, and people don’t need to act as such.

In fact, overbuying products and flocking to grocery stores aggravates the situation as the elderly and disabled are unable to reach stores to purchase necessary items.

Fortunately, grocery store chain Stop & Shop has created special hours that only people ages 60+ are allowed to shop to combat this problem.

There is a fine line between delirium and being cautious, and the recent actions of people have shown that the country is moving towards a full-fledged panic.

However, there are measures that you and FCPS can take to prevent the spread of the virus.

Practicing social distancing and washing your hands while saying the ABCs twice are two of the best things you can do to prevent yourself and your family from contracting the deadly virus.

FCPS has taken the drastic measure of closing school until April 10, which is the safe thing to do, as it prevents contact between students and staff who may have the virus. As Fairfax County leads Virginia with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 at 10 cases out of 51, closing school was an essential step to take in order to keep students, staff, and their families safe.