With popular questions such as “Does my roommate have coronavirus?”; “Does mail from China spread coronavirus?”; or even one of my personal favorites “Can eating Chinese food get me infected with coronavirus?” being asked, only one thing remains clear: that the general public doesn’t know what coronavirus is.
Don’t worry, neither did I until I decided to research the disease (COVID-19). With the problem only worsening day by day, I believe now is as good a time as any to analyze the problems, potential solutions, and even social implications to break down the mass hysteria surrounding coronavirus.
Starting with the need to know, coronavirus is a disease that began in 2019 hence its abbreviation COVID-19. Coronavirus is a respiratory illness that arises from the virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although coronavirus seemingly emerged from an animal source, at the current stage it is spreading from person to person.
Given that coronavirus is a respiratory illness, symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Although many problems with the disease are apparent, I decided to analyze in particular the spreading of the disease, issues with hoarding supplies and reports of xenophobia in the wake of the virus. With the virus originating from over halfway across the globe and yet more and more cases of coronavirus appearing in the United States, the problem is apparent, that the spread of the virus is happening at quicker rates and amounts than originally imagined.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are only two ways for the disease to spread. The first and primary being that of a person-to-person spread, done either through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes or between people who are in close contact with one another. The second and rather unlikely to be a spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects.
The issue remains in the fact that the virus spreads rather easily, thus spreading quickly through countless communities. Another prominent issue resides in the fact that people are panic buying, which in turn has caused individuals to hoard supplies as coronavirus spreads.
This includes sanitary supplies, face masks, toiletries, as well as basic supplies needed to live such as water. This proves problematic because there are never any resources for those who need them the most, especially for those who are sick.
The last problem that needs to be covered is the reports of xenophobia in response to the virus originating from Wuhan City, China. According to Business Insider, there have been many reports of blatant verbal and physical attacks around the world severely impacting people of Asian descent.
This is problematic because case studies have proved that microaggressions increase depression and suicidal ideation. Racism and xenophobia are intolerable and are not OK in any way shape or form.
Possible solutions include preventing the spread of the virus, maintaining one’s hygiene, purchasing supplies and resources when needed, and lastly calling out prejudice in addition to reporting attacks. Given that the virus spreads rather easily through communities, it is unsafe for individuals to gather in places with large amounts of human traffic.
This only increases one’s risk for getting the virus. It is important for those who display any signs of the disease’s symptoms to remain indoors. It is also important to urge administrators, supervisors and even officials to make accommodations to help reduce human traffic.
For instance, at universities, classes are being held online to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It is the responsibility of every individual to care for themselves. Not only is this proper etiquette, but it will also help reduce the spread of coronavirus not to mention other sicknesses.
Another important component is human hygiene. Yes, that means washing your hands. As a member of the male gender, I can undeniably confirm that the rumors are true, some men secretly do not wash their hands after using the restroom.
Please, I am urging that everyone properly wash their hands as this will help eliminate germs, thus helping to reduce the spreading of the virus. Lastly, it is the responsibility of every individual to help reduce the implications and problems that are caused because of coronavirus.
Mass hysteria is already one major implication that has led many individuals to make irrational decisions. As the situation continues to worsen, so will the social implications. Action needs to be taken to help reduce the escalation given the current situation. Please proceed with common sense and proper etiquette.
Anthony Ornelas is an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley.