We live in a world in which our responses to all manner of things are driven by the Internet. Within a split second an incident, an outbreak of illness, a natural disaster or a new conflict can be pinged into every home via the worldwide web.
The Coronavirus outbreak is one such example. Every new outbreak, virtually anywhere in the world is international news in a split second. There are of course clear positives to an instant information network, but there are also negatives.
Without in any way underplaying the grave seriousness of the current Covid 19 epidemic, there is little doubt that the constant flood of startling headlines, supported by miles and miles of text online can cause serious levels of anxiety among the public.
Worst-case scenarios suggest around six per cent of cases among the elderly, with underlying health problems, could be fatal. The majority of people will have moderate flu-like symptoms, from which they will fully recover within a month.
Covid 19 is a serious and pressing problem. We can it seems lessen our chances of contracting it by staying away from large gatherings and applying good personal hygiene, ie washing our hands regularly for no less than twenty seconds, and if we have a cough or a cold making sure we catch coughs and sneezes in a paper handkerchief and disposing of it immediately. Sensible advice.
Beyond that there really is little that we can do, other than follow the advice of the authorities, observe the lockdown, and not let ourselves be consumed by anxiety.
Silly panic buying must stop
The spate of panic buying of basic, store cupboard foodstuffs and toilet rolls that has afflicted supermarkets on the Island and beyond, reflects the kind of paranoia that has been sweeping the land in the face of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
As is so often the case, common sense and a sense of proportion go out of the window when the herd instinct kicks in. To stockpile toilet rolls, pasta and the like is as selfish as it is silly. It’s the kind of ‘I’m all right Jack’ mentality that has permeated so many layers of society.
The only reason there are shortages is because silly people are stripping the shelves of basic commodities. So, if you are seriously thinking of buying hundreds of toilet rolls, or a year’s supply of dried pasta as part of your weekly shop, please stop and think how ridiculous you look, and how selfish your actions are as part of the greater picture.
We must all play our part and do everything we can to reduce infection and support our healthcare professionals.