Stay calm about coronavirus threat – Press Enterprise

Information about the coronavirus that first appeared in China is spreading across the internet faster than the virus itself, leading to worldwide alarm about an outbreak that has infected nearly 8,000 people and led to more than 170 deaths so far, mostly in Asia.

A few cases have been identified in the United States as public-health officials try to sort fact from fiction.

Before donning a face mask and stocking up on food and supplies, it would be wise to take a deep breath, look at credible information from the Centers for Disease Control and spend less time reposting unverified Facebook posts. There’s reason for concern, but no cause for fear and panic.

The Chinese government has quarantined 50 million people, as Buzzfeed explains, and banned travel “following a small number of air travel-related cases, all nonfatal, which have spread to more than a dozen countries.”

If you haven’t been to Wuhan lately, haven’t been in contact with cobras and bats, and don’t work in the health field, your chances of infection are quite small.

For perspective, the latest influenza season has claimed 10,000 lives in the United States and has resulted in the hospitalization of 180,000 people. Commentators have pointed to other sobering statistics. In the United States annually, 650,000 people die of heart disease, 170,000 die from accidents and 600,000 people die from cancer.

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