Coronavirus is an “info-demic,” a panic caused by the spread of partial and often misleading information about a health risk, sometimes deliberately.
The virus is real, and a small number of people have been infected. But it is going to pass.
It is an unpleasant respiratory illness, but it is not an organ-destroying horror like Ebola. Precautions are being taken, a vaccine will emerge, and life will continue as usual.
Here are five specific reasons to chill out.
1. Coronavirus is a familiar illness, and not as bad as others. It is from the SARS family — and less deadly. As Ha’aretz noted, “the mortality rate from the current disease ranges from 0.5 to 2 percent, and is significantly lower than the mortality rate from the 2002 SARS outbreak (9.5 percent) and much lower than the 2012 SARS outbreak (34.4 percent). It may even be close to the mortality rate from an ordinary flu outbreak in the United States.”
2. The U.S. response has been exceptionally good. There have only been 16 cases thus far, none deadly. President Donald Trump bought precious time by stopping travel to China last month — a step critics said was overly drastic. Democrats are screaming about funding and staff cuts that never actually happened. The latest outrage: the White House is controlling the message. As they should! The people in lab coats are not always good communicators.
3. We are going to have a vaccine soon. There are private companies in the U.S. and around the world racing to develop a vaccine — not just because of the urgent public health need, but because whoever finds it first stands to make a lot of money. (This is where the profit motive, and the pharmaceutical industry, are so crucial — contrary to what Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and other Democrats running for president have been saying about them.)
4. China is going to be all right. The number of cases in China sounds large — until you consider the size of China. True, the Chinese government has been duplicitous about coronavirus, as it is about everything. (Amartya Sen famously observed that India, unlike China, has never suffered famine because India has a free press.) And U.S. firms are learning a long-overdue lesson about the risks of investing there. But China will eventually pull through.
5. The same people who want you to panic about coronavirus want you to panic about everything. The news business thrives on chaos. In addition, the media want to destroy Trump, which is why they spread the Russia collusion hoax. Coronavirus is not a hoax, but pundits should be asked if they cared enough about flu — which kills far more people — to get their shot this year. If not, ignore them. Remember to wash your hands, and stay cool.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
Source for the term “info-demic.”