Sunday, March 15, 2020

It is Very Difficult to Talk People Out of Panic

Friends and readers have been sharing some of my posts about COVID-19.

It is very difficult to kill the panic.

Michael Edelstein shares:
I just asked M, my next door neighbor ER MD. He said the panic is worse than the disease. “Folks are panicking which makes it harder to screen through all the nonsense and get to the ones who really need the help.” 
Murray Sabrin emails to a colleague:
A sober assessment of the coronavirus situation.
The colleague's response:
That article is irresponsible.
Reader John Foster emails:
I’ve been sharing your links with a friend in Austin.  Notice the last line in red below…


I am just worried about the entire world shutting down and empty streets and all of that ? Why would that be ? The shelf’s in the stores are empty and that’s scary ! 
What Would Happen If 60 Million People in the United States Get Infected?

Yes but look at the time frame it happened . Those starts are for the entire year .look at this thing is claiming exponentially ... in a year we well all be infected all 330 
Ana, that’s crazy talk.  Who told you that?  That’s not how it works.  Swine started exponentally.  All viruses do.  Where are you getting this hysteria?
That was great 
Really, where did you hear that this exponential growth was going to infect everyone?
Somewhere on line can’t remember 
Take note who that was and don’t believe them about anything.  They are clueless. 
 You should post all Of this stuff on facebook since it’s flooded with all kinds of crap info 
I don’t do fb.  You post it.  They’ll love you.
No, because everyone will attack me , and I can’t argue and about the other article in regards to swine flu .. if I post that one they will think I am a Republican :) 
And I responded to a Twitter post.

The post was: 
The commenter didn't realize that the data he was sharing showed that COVID-19 was probably no different than the common flu. If Italy is only testing those with severe symptoms, then their death/infection ratio numbers are way off.

I attempted to make this point in a response:
These are the kinds of replies that came in:
Yes, this persuaded me.

There was this:
But I made no comment about how many were ill in Italy. (You would really need someone on the ground who understood the culture and the care in Italy and the science to make an assessment of what is going on).

My simple point was that if only the severely ill were being tested in Italy, as the original Twitter poster stated and that there a lot more unreported cases, then that the fact there is unreported cases is a positive in the sense that the death rate of those who contract the disease is a lot less than fearmongers are promoting.

Then there was this:
I am not sure what hammer he is referring to.  The ability to know how to interpret statistics when statistics are referenced?

The point is clear. COVID-19 does not appear to be life-threatening to people under 60.

Those older than 60 should take precautions, especially if they are over 70 and have chronic health problems. BUT these are precautions they should be taking anyway during the flu season.

In other words, there is no reason for panic. The data seems to show quite clearly that COVID-19 is generally dangerous for the elderly. This is not a different threat than the flu is right now.

Or should the policy be that we lockdown everyone all flu season?



  1. A friend has been a nurse for 20 years, and he has treated a few patients over the years who've been hospitalized with the flu that turned out to be the Coronavirus. The test is a simple blood test, where a blood sample is sent to the lab inside the hospital. No consulting the CDC, no waiting for test kits, no press rreleases, and not a word from Tom Hanks.

    Your point is excellent and helpful, "precautions . . . should be taken anyway during the flu season."

  2. I appreciate the sound thinking. As a practitioner of praxeology and Orthomolecular medicine, I'm taking in the data like a wolf.

  3. From a "liberty-lesson" perspective, what's turning out to be really annoying is that Trump is president. The only lesson that my progressive friends are taking away from the whole situation is that the wrong person is in charge. Had this happened under the Obama-god, perhaps some would question the role of government itself. That's not going to happen this time.

  4. It's a silly feedback loop as well. As the government response and the panic-buying get more severe, people see this as proof of the severity of the virus, and then they panic some more.

  5. Bob, I really have appreciated your reason, soundness of judgment, and well thought out approach to this whole "crisis". I've seen far more rationality here than anywhere else in the news media.

    I figured from the get-go that this was about grabbing power. Scare the crap out of people and they'll do almost anything to be saved by our "friends" in government.

    Thanks again for your well thought out commentary.