Dear Editor,

This is to address the current panic over COVID-19. It’s getting ridiculous. This past week the entire district sold out of toilet paper. Seriously? Why? Because the media reported runs on toilet paper in Australia or somewhere? As someone commented on Facebook, “If you need 144 rolls of toilet paper to get through 14 days of quarantine, you should have been seeing a doctor long before COVID-19.” Dig your common sense out of mothballs and use it, people!
I realize this virus is a new strain, but while nobody with any sense wants to get sick, and nobody with any compassion wants to get others sick, we are in dire need of a realistic perspective. It’s the flu, for crying out loud, not the Black Death. We get flu season every year. It’s not nothing, but it’s something we go through comparatively unscathed without panic. Some have it worse, but most fairly healthy individuals feel crummy for a few days and bounce right back. Ever notice how much higher the recovery rate is than the mortality rate? Significantly higher. What makes the difference? The media. Constantly updating statistics, focusing on the worst. All the politicians shutting everything down are busily trying to look like they’re doing something to contain the spread, but not everything is equally effective everywhere.
Take school closures, for example. There aren’t even any cases in several places yet, so why the heck are we closing all schools now? This should not be a provincial decision, this should be a local decision implemented when there are confirmed cases in the area, if they are deemed numerous and severe enough to warrant closure. What purpose can possibly be served by throwing an entire district of otherwise healthy students off their schedule only to have to make it up later and/or close again after it finally shows up?
Beef up your immunity with vitamin C and probiotics etc, cover your face when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands when you’ve been out (btw, soap and water are more effective than sanitizer, so settle down on that one too), don’t travel anywhere the outbreak is bad, stay home if you think you might have it, and be prepared for quarantine within reason. Anything else like closing a business when no employees are even sick or stockpiling a year’s worth of supplies only serves to compound one problem with another, such as people being unable to get food when they need it. Or gas. Or medicine. Then we might have reason to panic, and nobody wants to deal with a frenzied mob desperate for necessities. Remember, not everyone is able to race to the store before it sells out, or afford a month’s worth of groceries all at once. Step back, look at the big picture, and be considerate of our neighbours as well as ourselves. That will get us through this in much better shape.

Sherri King