Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
As legislators and administrators continue to cancel events for fear of COVID-19, I'm feeling more and more that this media-induced paranoia will have worse consequences than the disease. An administrator friend shared this same feeling but said his colleagues are in a "what if" mode of thinking if they don't cancel events and prevent gatherings then what if someone gets infected and dies. So even if one feels we're doing a major overkill, it has become politically incorrect and job threatening to express it (and God knows we don't want to be politically incorrect).
U.S. deaths for COVID-19 are at 37 as I write this. Deaths from auto accidents in 2020 are nearly 4,000, not to mention the 250,000-plus annual deaths from medical errors (per CDC). Of course that begs the question that those deaths are not contagious and what if COVID-19 turns into an epidemic. And it could. Mostly like Ebola, SARS, MERS, swine flu, mad cow disease, etc. that so ravaged the world in recent years.
It's good to be health conscious and it can be done in a positive way, but a fear-based life weakens the immune system while courage and optimism strengthen it. Also, isolation is unhealthy while social connection promotes wellness, and even more so when it is in the flesh. Studies bear this out.
And by the way, the CDC reports that so far in 2020 that 4,800 people have died from the flu and another 87,000 have been horsepistalized. Yet we manage to navigate flu season without mass hysteria.
CBS says China "has declared the disease is 'basically curbed.'" I wonder how its statistics compare to the flu.
Hopefully, we can resume a balance between caution and disregard. But now, thanks to our fear-mongering news media, the pendulum has swung beyond caution to a paranoia that is going to wreak havoc if that paranoia is not contained and quarantined.