On December 31, 2019, China reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in people associated with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Since then, the virus has spread to various other countries but the majority of cases are still located in China and in the Wuhan region. I’d like to offer my own opinion about this event and what’s happening world-wide.
As I write this, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continues to state that this outbreak can be managed if countries cooperate. He praises China for its efforts to contain the virus. He and the others on the WHO emergency panel all offer the same calming and encouraging message. (Photo credit: WHO)
While the media often often tends to sensationalize events such as this virus outbreak, we can take a more cool headed approach. Look at the numbers involved here. As I write, the number of reported deaths worldwide from the virus is 427, most of which have been in China. While all of those deaths are regrettable and families are suffering because of them, look at some other numbers, which will help us keep this outbreak in proportion.
More than 700 people are killed in road accidents across China every day, according to the World Health Organisation. The WHO estimates that traffic accident claim about 260,000 deaths on the mainland each year, of which 60 per cent are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. (photo credit: International Business Times)
Compare the virus news with this. So far, 10,000 people have died from influenza in the USA and 180,000 people have been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to preliminary estimates from the USA CDC.
CBC Canada often shows the spread of the outbreak, quite correctly, by using a world map coloured bright red for countries having a case or cases of the virus. While this map with solid colours may be accurate, it certainly affects me psychologically in a different way than if the numbers of coronavirus cases were shown in each country. In my opinion, a much better tool is this one put out by John Hopkins Hospital.
This map, (thank you Ben for sharing it with me) shows the spread by cases and to my simple mind is less frightening than the maps where whole countries are blocked off in red. The map not only shows the number of case deaths, but also those who have recovered from the virus, an encouraging stat and one not often mentioned in the media. If one zooms out on the map, one can see how minimal is the number of cases detected world-wide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should be less vigilant, but only that there is no need for panic. It’s good that countries with less able health authorities and fewer resources can be offered help by the global community in fighting the virus.
We have all been encouraged not to be overly concerned about catching this virus. We should continue to do the simple, efficient things we can do as when dealing with a’flu outbreak. We can wash our hands regularly. We can keep our hands from our mouths (maybe this will help me cure my nail-biting habit). We can sneeze or cough into a tissue (not as formerly advised into our elbow sleeves, for the virus can remain on those sleeves) then discard the tissue into the waste bin. Above all, we can cooperate and not allow ourselves to panic in any way.
‘Bye for now and God bless.