A lot has happened in the weeks since COVID-19 first reached the U.S. and stole the national spotlight.
Entire states are shutting down by the day. And the calls for Americans to “stay home” have gotten louder and louder. Partly because a lot of people still aren’t taking public health guidance related to stopping the spread of coronavirus seriously.
So, as extreme and frightening as these escalating measures might seem, it’s clear that the country’s governors are simply doing what’s necessary to keep their hospitals running and their citizens safe.
Yet at the same time, I’ve seen an escalation in unsubstantiated panic, too. One that, in my opinion, is just as potentially damaging to the American people as the virus. And I’ve been particularly disappointed to see fellow doctors participating in this campaign of fear.
Who’s “denying” COVID-19?
For the sake of today’s discussion, let’s focus on one case in point: A blog post, which was recently reprinted in a national medical media outlet.
The headline? “How to respond to COVID-19 deniers.”
But… is there really anyone on the planet who thinks there isn’t a novel coronavirus going around? I don’t think so. So, do we really need more people fueling the nation’s hysteria?
What we do need is for healthcare professionals to calm and reassure the American people that we will get through this—and to give the public a rational perspective on what’s actually going on.
Because without that reassurance and transparency, no amount of guidance is going to matter. And uninformed debates over whether this pandemic is the end of the world or merely a blip on the radar will continue.
Fear mongering may appear to be an effective way to get Americans to fall in line. But in the end, it doesn’t help. That’s why I’d like to walk you through some of the rhetoric I’m seeing, and clarify my view on these statements with you today.
The first suggestion I’d like to tackle is the idea that this is an unprecedented crisis…
We saw COVID-19 coming
As the author of the blog post put it: “For most of us in the United States, a world health crisis has never touched us.”
In some respects, that may be true. COVID-19 is called “novel coronavirus” because it’s a new form of the virus that human beings have never encountered.
But as a country, we most certainly have navigated health crises before.
It wasn’t that long ago that HIV came on the scene—a virus that infected and killed tens of millions of people. Plus, the author of the blog post herself compares this pandemic to polio.
The truth is, we have been successfully fielding deadly epidemics since the dawn of civilization. And we can (and should) draw on those experiences to guide us now.
There’s also the author’s claim that “in a matter of weeks, COVID-19 popped up in Wuhan, China, traveled the world, crossed American shores, and entered our neighborhoods.”
But to be clear, it wasn’t a matter of weeks. Coronavirus didn’t just jump out of the shadows, unknown. We knew there was trouble on the horizon since at least November 2019.
That’s months we, as a country, could have used to prepare and stay ahead of this thing. But unfortunately, the U.S. did nothing about it.
And if you want my opinion, that is the scariest part of this story. But before we return to that concern, I want to review a few more facts about this pandemic that you shouldn’t be losing sleep over.
So, stay tuned! Because tomorrow, I’ll explain why—when all is said and done—we really will be okay.
P.S. I’ll also continue to bring you timely updates—and facts—about all aspects of health in my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
“How to Respond to COVID-19 Deniers.” Medscape Medical News, 03/20/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/927225)