Coronavirus Report July 20: Calm Down

Woman reading a book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash.
When the media brings you nothing but bad news, its time to step back, calm down and read a book.

The amount of panic surrounding the recent surge in coronavirus cases continues to surprise me.  Much of it appears to be inspired by the news media, which does not surprise me.

Panic is not a productive response to a situation.  In fact, panic causes people to make bad decisions. 

When we were living like wild animals, protecting ourselves from danger with a club, panic triggered the flight or fight response that helped keep us alive.  Today, those fear chemicals that get dumped into your blood stream are getting in the way of a rational response.  Lashing out or running isn’t going to keep you safe from the coronavirus unless you suddenly find yourself in a crowded room.

So let’s just calm down and think rationally. 

I think the media is actually trying to incite panic, and our pubic health officials are giving them the ammunition they need because the headlines often over react more than the people do. My advice: Ignore this.

Start by putting your phone down.  Step away from whatever app you use to get news and panic-inspiring, fear inducing news.  Take a break from the spigot of constant news and relax.  Avoid your pessimistic friends.  Read a book – preferably a novel that provides an escape.  Take a nap.  Do something you enjoy.

Once you have calmed down, take stock.  Determine what you can do to minimize exposure and danger.  Try to think rationally.  Chances are, you are safer than you think. You are certainly safer than the headline writers want you to think.

Today’s Numbers

The U.S. reported 62,200 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, a number below the 7-day moving average.  This brings the total number of cases to 784,900.  Only 412 deaths were reported, with the total dead reaching 140,373.

While the outbreak in April and May was centered on the New York Metropolitan area and the Northeast, the current peaks are in the South, from Florida and South Carolina to Texas with Arizona and parts of California thrown in for good measure.

The New York Times now lists 41 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its “cases increasing” list while only two states are on the decreasing list.

Globally, cases were up 213,000 to 14.53 million. After the U.S., India led the way with more than 40,000 reported cases. Deaths increased by less than 4,000 to 606,810.