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Coronavirus Confusion Spreading Like the Plague

Brett Davis

Posted on March 17, 2020 00:14

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Prudent measures or hysterical alarmism? Medical authorities haven’t exactly been consistent on the threat level posed by the disease.

Normal life in America is grinding to a halt in response to COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus. Here in Washington state – epicenter of the U.S. outbreak of the pandemic that was first identified in Wuhan, China, late last year – all K-12 schools have been closed through April 24; gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned; restaurants, bars, clubs theaters, gyms and beauty salons have been shut down through March 31, with delivery and takeout allowed; and reduced occupancy required for retail outlets.

Other states and localities are following suit. And that’s on top of what’s happening around the world: border closings, travel bans, quarantines and the like.

Should we as Americans be more afraid of the virus itself or all of the closures and cancellations mandated by government due to coronavirus? In other words, does coronavirus warrant the massive disruption of our lives, or would a more targeted approach focusing on those disproportionately impacted by the virus – the elderly, the immunocompromised and those with underlying health conditions – be the way to go?

It depends on who you ask. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the medical face of the Trump administration’s efforts to combat the disease, says coronavirus is more contagious and more lethal than the flu.

He is backed up by Dr. Michael Osterholm, an internationally renowned expert on infectious diseases, and many other anxious medical professionals who worry the exponential spread of the disease could wreak havoc by overwhelming the nation’s health care system.

Others are not so sure. They contend that for most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms and claim the math is not that scary. Jeremy Samuel Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says we are overestimating the mortality rate of coronavirus.

Leading Israeli virologist Prof. Jihad Bishara claims the global panic is unnecessary and exaggerated, noting that world leaders should be doing more to calm the population.

Retired physician Richard Schabas – Ontario’s chief medical officer for a decade – calculates the math does not add up to a global crisis. In fact, he contends the pandemic is shrinking.

Given that medical professionals are not all on the same page, the average person can be forgiven for not knowing what to think with any degree of certainty regarding the threat posed by coronavirus.

When we’re far enough removed from the current coronavirus crisis, will we learn we got more right than wrong? Will we find out we overreacted, both in terms of public behavior (a run on toilet paper?) and certain government actions? This writer doesn’t pretend to know the answer, only that it’s difficult to make an accurate assessment in the midst of the whirlwind.

Brett Davis

Posted on March 17, 2020 00:14

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Source: AZ Central

Downtown Phoenix quiets down amid coronavirus pandemic             

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