By now I’m sure that, if you’re reading this, you have heard about the chaos surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 around the world. The virus is one that’s currently incurable and potentially deadly if you are of a certain age, have a significantly poor immune system or have existing health problems. The number of Coronavirus cases is rising in the UK and around the world significantly day by day. Borders in countries are closing, big events are being cancelled or postponed, (including the rest of the BPL football season), and paranoia and panic buying are increasing by the second. I’m sure you are already aware of most of this…
However, in amongst all the news stories and panic we as human beings seem to be losing a sense of selflessness, compassion and positivity. What is being shown in the media is enough to make anyone scared about the future. If you go onto any form of online news site or social media site, the majority of stories and posts you will see will have some form of reference to the Coronavirus. Along with this, we can see the selfishness, xenophobia, racism and paranoia come out in many of the British people. Panic buying and stockpiling have become clear issues amongst the public. Just go into any local supermarket and you will see the gravity of the situation. Toilet roll shelves will be empty, all the soap will be sold out and don’t be surprised if the tinned food and dry pasta are gone too. These images may be familiar to those of you who have done the big shop recently:
As well as this sudden tendency to panic buy, we have also seen an emergence of mask-wearing on the streets. Even though there is scientific evidence to show that face masks do very little in preventing you from catching COVID-19, people continue to not only wear these on the streets, but also stockpile them, like this is some sort of apocalypse, where only those who stockpile will survive.
Possibly the craziest thing we have witnessed is the drop in sales of Corona beer. A survey recently showed that 38% of Americans would currently not buy Corona beer, given the circumstances. This has caused a drop in the price of the beer, so if you like Corona, now’s the time to get on it. And no, drinking it will not give you Coronavirus.
The reality of this virus is that the vast majority of cases are mild and symptoms pass within a week. Often the symptoms are so mild, you won’t even know you have it. If you are under 65 and you are healthy you have very little risk of dying from it. The public, in response to the media, have lost sight of the people we should really think about; the people who have it, the elderly, and those who are caring for them. These are the people who, ironically, probably won’t’ve seen all the chaos in the media surrounding the virus because they were too busy fighting and treating it. These are also the people who actually need face masks and won’t have any if those who don’t need them continue to stockpile.
While all of this is going on, try to look at the positives. Yes, your big summer holiday may have to be cancelled. No, you may not get to experience the gigs or festivals you planned to go to and yes, you may get bored having nothing to do over the next few weeks. However, use this time to do something productive rather than panic about the world ending and complain about your year being ruined. You may be encouraged to work from home which could be a relief for you. Your uni or school might close, which means you get to start your summer early. You can make new, local plans for the summer and save a lot of money. Also remember, with all these flights being cancelled, this is a chance to be more eco-friendly (stockpiling is not doing that).
That being said, we do need to be aware of the fact that this is one of many virus outbreaks to come if we carry on the way we are environmentally. If we continue to chop down rainforests and destroy animal habitats in the pursuit of land ownership we will discover new types of wildlife carrying more unpredictable virus' which we are unprepared for.
Our thoughts go out to those who have been affected by the virus or lost close ones to it. If you have it, we wish you a speedy recovery. If you are anxious about it, don’t be, just be hygienic and don’t let paranoia get the better of you. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face and if you have a new cough or a fever, stay indoors and read Repeat articles until you’re better.