As the Covid-19 or Coronavirus situation develops from rumour to concern then, by the time you read this, to epidemic; the question is do we panic? Or do we act rationally and calmly?
As my son pointed out I should be more concerned that he, as I am older. So naturally I have had a few thoughts about what to do and what not to do. Panic seems pointless. How are we to ward off the virus that may find its way to us from a door handle or perhaps a sneeze on a breeze.
Masks are useless unless one is actually treating a patient. Rationally, do not buy them and help to create a shortage leave the masks on the shelf for those that actually need them. I think I will probably catch the virus and the mask is not going to protect me.
So what to do? When I am ill what do I like to eat? Soup probably and the odd treat. So buy them and stock the pantry cupboard now while I am well and if I am lucky and the virus misses me my stock of comfort foods will not be wasted but will in due course be consumed.
If I am unwell, will I feel up to popping out to the shops and buying a supply of pain killers aspirin , Ibuprofen or paracetamol, possibly not. So again lay up a sufficient stock pile to see me through.
Will I need tissues and loo roles most certainly so pop out and buy a little more than you might otherwise but consider that you are going to have to store quite bulky items for a long time. Just how big a store room or garage do you have?
After watching so many news reports of the virus I have an idea of what to expect. Its progression through its stages.
I understand that I may be infected with the virus and when mildly affected consider that I am just dealing with a seasonal cold. I may then recover and never realise that I too had recovered from Cod-19 the Coronavirus.
On the other hand the progress of the disease could take a more serious turn and I may develop a pneumonia. The difference is likely to be pretty obvious. Sitting in a Doctors waiting room with a cold is not going to be either polite nor really useful.
If I have merely the symptoms of the common cold do I really need a doctor, need I hazard my fellows by infecting them thoughtlessly. For most of us the Covid-19 epidemic will prove an irritant, for some it has proved and will prove really serious.
Let us not make it harder for those in real need to receive the help they ought because we have acted thoughtlessly or panicked and simply got in the way.
Of course a great good is already emerging from the Covid-19 epidemic. Washing of hands is they say the most effective way of protecting oneself and of course incidentally others from Covid-19. Many in London have taken to carrying hand wash and hand wipes on their person at all times.
May I suggest that habits born of fear now may well persist into the future to the benefit of us all. Long after Covid-19 has taken its place in the past and joins the long list of forgotten diseases we will wash our hands more often and more thoroughly than before and capture a sneeze in a tissue. Take positive actions by all means; Panic Rationally.
Nick Horne, London, England