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Be Afraid: Not of the virus but of the panic

Written by one Abdu Sharkawy – I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases… in Canada.

I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil. I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of Covid-19.

What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world. I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others. I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they ” probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…” and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games…that could be kyboshed too. Can you even

I’m scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.

But mostly, I’m scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat. Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested….

RTWT AT Abdu Sharkawy – I’m a doctor and an Infectious Diseases…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Julie March 9, 2020, 3:24 PM

    Scared? We shouldn’t be, any more than we are scared of any other possibility for disaster in our lives. Everyone goes sooner or later, some more rapidly than others.

    For those who are suddenly realizing that maybe it’s a good idea to have a store of supplies on hand in case they are quarantined, this will probably be a boon in the long run. How many people on the west coast should already be prepared (but obviously aren’t) in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster that might require sheltering in place? How many first aid kits updated, how many stores of food and water replenished? Now they’re more likely to be ready; that’s not a bad thing. In essence, we have all been given the reminder that we know not when the hour is coming, and we must watch and be ready.

    As to the severity of the virus itself, much of the concern comes from the lack of real, trustworthy and verifiable information. If we understood better what is really happening elsewhere, we could better prepare for what might or might not happen here. As it is, we won’t really know until it hits or misses.

    Like with anything, don’t panic, just pay attention. And keep your hands clean.

  • Kevin Dickson March 9, 2020, 6:11 PM

    I could not possibly agree with you more. It’s days like this I’m embarrassed to be part of the human race.

  • ghostsniper March 9, 2020, 6:26 PM

    Julie sed: “…real, trustworthy and verifiable information.”
    Right. You are on your own, as the authorities have their collective heads you know where, as usual. If you have been smart you have a line of bookmarks for long established truth tellers. This is where you’ll find the closest thing to truth. You already know where the fake stuff is so don’t waste time with them.

    Make a list, start right now. Remember all of the people you have encountered in the past week or so, direct face to face contact, and write their names on the list. Do the same with all the places you’ve been to during that period as well. You may be infected RIGHT NOW and not know it yet due to the incubation period. If you are infected but don’t know it then you may be infecting others. Think about the magnitude of such a thing. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a pair of glasses that would reveal the virus no matter where it was? In the absence of those glasses you have to do the next best thing. Remember the Remus Rule? Kick it up a notch.

    Ya know, immunization systems are funny in that they are different for everybody. You could be an infected male and not have any symptoms for a couple weeks but your wife could be different and show symptoms much faster, maybe in a week or less. Imagine watching your wife die because you retardedly believed you needed to go to the store or elsewhere. Think bigger than yourself. Peace. Onward.

  • Nori March 9, 2020, 8:20 PM

    Everything Julie said.
    Everything Ghost said.
    My Dad was 13 yrs older than my Mom,his 5th and final wife. He and his sister were orphaned by the 1918 SpanishFlu pandemic. It was lethal. His parents were healthy, 22 & 25 yrs old. They both died in a week.
    Viruses are utterly capricious,virulent.
    Why the genius politicos of the West fed these seeds of contagion to be “studied” by chicoms is yet another red,or very black pill.

  • Speller March 9, 2020, 10:52 PM

    -I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they ” probably don’t have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know…”-

    I had a scheduled visit to a doctors clinic last Saturday. I cancelled it Thursday morning. Why? Because sick people are concentrated at clinics. They’re a bad place to pick up an infection.

    And the Olympics? Please. They’re elite entertainment for the Elites competed for by elite athletes. Ordinary people have been shunning the Olympics for quite awhile now. Attendance has been way down and falling for several sets of games.

  • Susan in Seattle March 9, 2020, 10:54 PM

    You ought to see Seattle these days. Everyone is cowed or scared – and taking ever more trips to Costco to load up on toilet paper. Gobsmacking. Since childhood, we have been warned of ‘The Big One’: the earthquake that will change things as we know them. We are always prepared. It doesn’t hurt to be unafraid, either.

  • Dr. Jay March 10, 2020, 4:51 AM

    “Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” – Marcus Aurelius . . . and Rachel Carson made the world safe for malaria.

  • Annie Rose March 10, 2020, 5:34 AM

    We are in full on panic mode in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Yesterday at the local grocery store, instead of encountering the usual 20 people shopping on a Monday morning, there were well over 100, all loading up on coronavirus supplies, shopping carts overflowing. Everywhere I shopped the cashiers were wearing gloves, including JoAnn Fabrics-yes, sewers were loading up on fabrics and crafts in case of quarantine. Meanwhile, my two adult daughters will most likely have their places of employment close the doors and they will have no income. One place is a small, national boutique type store that relies on shipments from overseas. The other is a children’s museum. Both have been desperately looking for new jobs for a month, and are interviewing, but I imagine businesses will start holding off on hiring in a time of uncertainty. Meanwhile, restaurants are overflowing inside with not a care in the world. Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die-an old saying but true. We are all going to die at some point from something. Stay safe and be good to each other. This too shall pass.

  • DrTedNelson March 10, 2020, 9:56 AM

    Thanks, Annie for the calm voice of reason.

  • John Venlet March 10, 2020, 11:12 AM

    While cautionary awareness is always wise during any flu season, the widespread alleged panic being fostered by the MSM is ridiculous.

    The total number of Wuhan Flu cases, worldwide, as of March 10, 2020 at 1:53 P.M., as reported here, is 116,694.

    The world population, as of January 2020, is estimated at https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/>7.8 billion people. If you divide the number of cases of Wuhan Flu, by the would population, the result is 0.0000149607%. I think the fretting is fruitless.

  • Vanderleun March 10, 2020, 11:14 AM

    My thanks too Annie.

  • Casey Klahn March 10, 2020, 12:14 PM

    Great thread and comments.

    Shaking my head at the political opportunists trying to use this latest crisis; amplifying it and not a moral bone in their body that says: “will my actions incite panic?” They don’t care; chaos is the friend of subversion.

    I’ll just mention again that 20-30 years ago I worked at Fairfax Hospital right across the street from the Coronavirus Care Facility in Juanita, a burb of Kirkland. A very upscale, quiet and mostly serene city East of Seattle. I can only imagine the chaos and I wonder if the administration of that facility was wanting for skill and judgement. I’m sure it’s history as soon as this is over.

    Nori – so fascinating about your Spanish Flu and family. The great artists in Vienna and Germany were laid in the ground at young ages, some in their twenties, by the Spanish Flu.

    I am now considering canceling my May workshop in NYC. Washington State to New York, not a good scenario.

    Our house is always a prepared, but I’m not a dedicated prepper. I should do better at that. We live so rurally that I see no houses from my own, unless I step behind the barn and one is visible 3/4 mile that way. If vehicles drive by, it’s news.

    Be safe, everyone. Never give into any fear or panic.

  • Casey Klahn March 10, 2020, 12:16 PM

    Nori, dear friend, I wrote that sentence poorly. Your Spanish Flu story is fascinating.

  • theduchessofkitty March 10, 2020, 12:19 PM

    I’ve seen the panic at Costco. Hundreds of people carrying six, eight or ten cases of water in their carts. It’s insane. As the cops in Australia said, we don’t live in Thunderdome and we are not Mad Max.

    Keep Calm and Carry On. This, too, shall pass.

  • Jack March 10, 2020, 1:05 PM

    Most people actually think that they can buy all of that stuff and that it will somehow, and mysteriously, prevent them from coming into contact with the virus du jour’. Those things might help but these will:

    Stay away from crowds
    Stay particularly away from people who are sneezing or coughing
    Try to stay out of medical facilities unless you just have to go.
    Stay out of NYC, Boston, Miami, New Orleans and all of California, Oregon and Washington State
    Don’t piss away your money on some cruise somewhere
    Use hand sanitizer if you’re out and about
    Wash your hands

    Repeat as often as you need and for God’s sake don’t sit around and worry about dying. It’s a surety and you have little or no control over it.

    Most of the rest is luck. Pay close attention in traffic too. You’re more likely to be killed in an automobile accident than by this virus.

  • ghostsniper March 10, 2020, 1:24 PM

    Stay particularly away from people who are sneezing or coughing
    That’s why it so nefarious.
    There are no symptoms at first but there is volatility very soon after contraction.
    A person can be sending out shockwaves with no apparent symptoms.

    Go over to http://www.wrsa.com and educate thineself.
    Panic? No.
    Think? Yes.
    Plan, act.

  • Skorpion March 10, 2020, 3:07 PM

    @ghostsniper: Linky no worky. I think you meant https://westernrifleshooters.wordpress.com

  • MIKE GUENTER March 10, 2020, 4:24 PM

    Good advice all over. Unfortunately I have to work around potentially sick people. My job is remodeling for a multi state construction company and our major client is a top Fortune 500 pharmacy company that also has health clinics in some of their stores. A lot of our work is expanding the pharmacies and clinic spaces.

    I guess if I get sick and have to self quarantine in my hotel room, maybe I’ll still get paid… workman’s compensation.

  • ghostsniper March 10, 2020, 6:59 PM

    Right. Thanks.

  • Nori March 11, 2020, 1:47 PM

    Hey Casey! No worries,Kemosabe,it’s all good. 🤠
    I have two small,faded photographs. One is of a young girl holding her baby brother,who is dressed in a flowing white christening outfit trimmed in Irish lace. It was taken in spring,1917.
    The other is of their parents,taken in the spring of 1918. A young and handsome couple,happily smiling at the camera.
    It is the only picture Dad had of his parents;during summer of 1918,the flu waned somewhat.
    By October,it returned,viciously. Those who did’nt suffocate from the fluids & mucus that filled their lungs were hit with virulent bacterial infections. Antibiotics were unknown at the time so Spanish Flu was a death sentence.
    Dad’s parents succumbed in late October,along with staggering numbers of millions around the world.
    There was a silly rhyme I heard as a kid that girls would skip rope to:
    “I had a little bird
    His name was Enza
    Opened up the window
    And in-flu-enza”

    Was’nt till years later I learned it was about the 1918 pandemic.

    We’ll get thru Covid-19. We may get lucky,we may not.Eventually it will burn out,leaving what we can’t know.
    I do know that it will tickle me if/when the Israelis produce a vaccine for it.
    Want to bet Iran’s mullahs would refuse it?