Panic Comes from Playing the Numbers Game

Panic Comes from Playing the Numbers Game

The corona virus numbers are much to fluid to draw any realistic predictions, but that won't stop them from coming.

We are being bombarded every few seconds with the numbers of corona virus infections, deaths, and projections for the future, but sincerely, no one knows, even at this date in time, what will be the final tally, or even there will be a final tally.

Just turn on the TV and you will see counters, either on the side of the screen, or crawling across the bottom, changing constantly as updates come from all across the country.  And along with that, most likely the talking heads are interviewing this or that “expert” who is making a prediction of what could be the worst possible outcome of the spread of this disease.

Some prognosticators have walked back earlier dire predictions of millions in body bags, pilling up outside hospitals and medical centers, but still they are making the worst-case scenario argument under the guise of stressing the seriousness of this outbreak.  But take note, hardly anyone is prefacing their guesses with “this is what we can expect,” but rather with “this is what could possibly happen.”

Why?  Because we are looking for the shock factor.  Particularly on 24-hour news channels, whose income is based on the number of people who turn daily.  They want you to be shocked, so you will tell your friends you saw this on TV, and they will turn in to get the latest updates as well.

I am in no way suggesting we should not be taking this situation lightly.  The spread of the corona virus across America will cost many thousands of people their lives, and we should be doing everything within reason to stop its march.  Those who are elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are particularly vulnerable, and even more extreme measures should be taken to protect them from exposure.

Fortunately, exposure does not necessarily mean infection, and infection does not equal death in all cases.  The actual death rate is currently low, even if there are shocking numbers being displayed on our TV and computer screens.

The honest truth is you can find an “expert” to say just about whatever you want to hear by just looking around the media.  What does this mean?  It means nobody really knows what the outcome of this will be.  It could die out with warmer weather, it could last into the fall, someone could stumble across a vaccine next week that will eradicate the virus completely.

So, what can we do?  We can take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones right now.  Stay away from gatherings, only make trips to the stores for food and medical supplies, and as almost everyone says, continue to wash your hands after going out.

What we cannot do is panic.  We can’t rush out and buy all the food and cleaning items from the grocery store shelves, preventing others from sharing in the bounty we take for granted here in the US.  We can’t continue to operate as if nothing is going on, by gathering in groups and spreading the contagions to otherwise healthy people who will go home and pass it along to the elderly and the compromised.

And we can’t turn on each other.  That’s why it is important to take the numbers presented by the pundits and their army of authorities with a grain of salt.  They are just predictions, guesses if you will.  Based on some fluid data that changes minute by minute and overhyped to draw attention.

Keep calm and carry on with your lives, cautiously.  We will get through this and come out stronger on the other side.

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