At the end of the week, Elon Musk tweeted that the coronavirus panic is dumb, and I agree with him. I also somewhat disagree — I guess I am divided. Panicking itself is dumb, but inevitable — this is why I disagree. I mean, I agree that it’s dumb, but I also know that it’s going to happen, so why be upset over other people panicking when you can be proactive instead? Panicking is a natural reaction to any sudden change and there is nothing you can do to stop many people from panicking. But there is something you can do.
The coronavirus panic is dumb
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2020
I have had this conversation with my neighbors in my own community, and we all agree that panicking is not the answer. However, those panicking are not going to agree — most likely they will be in an emotional state, so thinking rationally is out. You can’t argue with someone who is panicking simply because you can’t argue with emotions, especially fear-based ones. What you can do instead is realize that your opinion on panicking, in general, isn’t going to change things or make it better or make people not be emotional. Once you realize that you have absolutely no control over the emotions of others, this frees up your mind to focus on what you can do for yourself — where your power truly lies.
The coronavirus is scary. At first, I thought it was just another media-hyped bug — one that the collective media will forget about in about 4 months or so and move on to the next topic. But it hasn’t — not yet anyways. And this is actually a good and bad thing. The bad part is it increases unneeded panic, but the panic itself also increases awareness of our cleanliness as a society. Many Americans could and should wash their hands more, handle coughing better, and not go to work or places with many other humans around when they are contagious.
However, Elon has a valid point here. Panicking is dumb. It does more harm than good and people act out of character when they are in very intense emotional states. I went shopping at the Walmart near my house a few days ago. It was on a Sunday and not everyone there was in full panic mode, but they were about halfway there. Almost all of the vitamins were sold out, two grown men were stockpiling maxi pads and tampons and tried to fight me for my two packages. I proved to be the crazier one in that fight and they backed off. Crazy wins, every time.
I say the panic was halfway because there was still bread and coffee left. However, most of the water was gone as well as almost all of the chicken soup, rice, and other essentials. Also, Walmart was completely sold out of hand sanitizer online and at the store.
Another conversation my neighbors and I had was this: the coronavirus is probably already here and we need to operate as if we have it now. Meaning, we should take our vitamins, eat wholesome foods that support our immune systems, and practice good hygiene.
Elon may have come across as harsh in his thoughts, but to me it’s direct. He isn’t sugarcoating it, and people don’t like things unsweetened.
“Well, you’re young and not in that 2 percent” has been a comment I have seen addressed at me. The truth is, I am in that small percentage that could die if I get it. I have asthma and have almost died from it three times in my life. Every time I get bronchitis, I end up in the hospital. The last time I had it severely, I had a fever of 104.9 degrees and it took the doctors over 6 hours to get it down to 102. I was on oxygen the entire time.
I was 14 when I was diagnosed and I actually did lose consciousness. My mother had to do CPR on me and when I got to the hospital, I’d stopped breathing and woken up to resuscitation. I was in the hospital for around 3–4 weeks. The memory is still fuzzy — I was braindead for around 3 minutes or so, the doctor told my mother — and had temporary amnesia. I even had to relearn how to breathe properly and for the next 5 years battled severe PTSD. I was severely bullied in high school from it (I won’t go into detail) and it took a few years before all of my memories came back.
Due to that trauma, you would think I would be the first person panicking — but I’m not. Today, I can use meditation to stop an asthma attack. I also have my inhalers and I take care of myself. I work out, take my vitamins, and stay off of milk in the winter months (milk contributes to fluid on the lungs). I also drink a lot of water, and water is the only beverage I consume on a daily basis besides coffee. I also use a variety of natural remedies, such as honey, elderberries, and herbs and spices in my diet. I make smoothies and incorporate these natural immune supporters into my diet daily.
In general, I agree with Elon that panicking itself is dumb. However, it’s inevitable and saying it’s dumb will only add fuel to the fire. We should plan for people to panic. Also, we should plan, and that includes planning for the panic. My neighbors and I are all stocked up for the next 6 months on everything — my block is good. Panicking over the coronavirus isn’t wise, but people will do it. Planning for it and being proactive about your health is the best way to take care of yourself.
Editor’s COVID-19 Addendum
Updates: Elon has expanded on his initial thoughts regarding COVID-19:
Virality of C19 is overstated due to conflating diagnosis date with contraction date & over-extrapolating exponential growth, which is never what happens in reality. Keep extrapolating & virus will exceed mass of known universe!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2020
Fatality rate also greatly overstated. Because there are so few test kits, those who die with respiratory symptoms are tested for C19, but those with minor symptoms are usually not. Prevalence of coronaviruses & other colds in general population is very high!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 8, 2020
Additional potentially useful tweets:
this infectious disease researcher dude explained it pretty well https://t.co/JAnyMPBKOZ
— Third Row Tesla Podcast (@thirdrowtesla) March 8, 2020
Check out this mortality rate chart from 1918: St. Louis forced social distancing. Philadelphia let the parades go on.
— Andrea S. James 🌸✨⚡️ (@AndreaSJames) March 8, 2020
1. Epidemiologists aren't modelling an infinite exponential growth. A significant proportion of cases are severe enough to require hospitalization. The epidemic plateau is still anticipated to be way above the capacity of health care facilities.
— Ranting Scientist (@sciencerants) March 8, 2020
The real issue of this virus is that the rate of survival is very dependent on medical services not being overrun. If you have a fifth of people ending up in critical care there is no doubt that some people in Wuhan died mainly due to not getting on a ventilator in time.
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) March 8, 2020
New epidemiological study of 25,000 #COVID19 cases reveals that infection control measures in Wuhan reduced infections by over 90%, reducing R0 to roughly 0.3. Remarkable and cause for hope that aggressive measures in the US can make a huge difference. https://t.co/3D3h0U0Nau pic.twitter.com/DfnhS0nE4O
— Carl T. Bergstrom (@CT_Bergstrom) March 7, 2020
Will the rallies continue until super-spreading is proved?
UW's @trvrb estimates ~570 cases in WA, a state of 7.5 million. So an event with >9120 people chosen at random from WA has >50% chance of having at least one case.
That's how super-spreading happens. Here's the math. pic.twitter.com/X7Kgw1Y717
— balajis.com (@balajis) March 3, 2020
If 1/n people are infected with a disease, a gathering of .7n people is likely to include at least one infected person.
E.g. if 1% of people are infected, n = 100, so any gathering of 70 or more people probably includes an infected person. https://t.co/vMeBM1jAIL
— Paul Graham (@paulg) March 7, 2020
— Adrienne Ziluca ⚡️ (@adrienneziluca) March 6, 2020
“Best guess epidemiology” from the American Hospital Association:
480,000 deaths from coronavirus
(compared to 57,000 from flu last year)
Biggest issue here: overload of medical system capacity. pic.twitter.com/IInwbvOEVc
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) March 7, 2020
I think most people aren’t aware of the risk of systemic healthcare failure due to #COVID19 because they simply haven’t run the numbers yet. Let’s talk math. 1/n
— Liz Specht (@LizSpecht) March 7, 2020
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) March 6, 2020
Here’s your proof the government could just snap their fingers and demand insurance companies stop charging thousands of dollars for insulin & vital medicines. https://t.co/GvUDv0uJOr
— Paul Gottinger (@PaulGottinger) March 6, 2020
me taking my own advice pic.twitter.com/Z9to6ZWWVE
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) March 7, 2020
Is it ever intelligent to panic?
— Serious Callers Only (@EthicsGradient) March 7, 2020