Over the past few days, the nation has been enthralled by coverage of the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Unfortunately, this coverage has facilitated the return of three types of individuals on social media. I do not feel either of these individuals is more egregious than the other because all three are rooted in ignorance and misinformation. The first individual is the one I call, “The Doomsday Prophet”.
If you have not seen this person on social media yet, you will. This is the person spreading panic. This individual talks about things such as emptying bank accounts, preparing for the end of the world, etc.. Please, do not encourage or troll these people. More pandemics are likely in all of our lifetimes, it will certainly not be the last.
The second individual, who I believe is just as ignorant, is the one I have dubbed, “The Do-Nothing”. These are the folks who say things like, “It’s not nearly as bad as people are making it out to be” and, “It will disappear just as quickly as it came”. Such attitudes discourage vigilance and, therefore, are dangerous and downright foolish. Unfortunately, we do not yet know enough about the pandemic to lend serious credence to such theories and assumptions.
The third individual is the one I understand the least. This is the ever-present, “Conspiracy Theorist”. This individual tends to view the pandemic through the lens of politics and is always looking for a government entity to blame. I am NOT here to debate theories or the seriousness of the virus itself. I am simply stating there is, to date, absolutely no proof that any government body or agency is benefiting from this or worsening the situation.
To state the case simply, if you do not have facts from a recognized, government-funded health agency, please do not speculate or spread misinformation. In addition, if you are one of the folks who downplay the severity, don’t laugh at your friends who are attempting to adapt to a rapidly-changing situation. It is wise to have discussions and come up with contingency plans for things such as meal-planning, child care, social functions, etc. Just because people discuss it and try do adapt does NOT mean they are panicking or “giving in to the hype”. These are new, challenging times. History will judge whether the government or media is to blame, if indeed they are at all. For now, let’s all take a deep breath, wash our hands, practice social distancing, and put politics and private theories aside.