CNN has decided to call the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus a pandemic.  The World Health Organization has yet to dub it that.  There is panic buying of masks and paper products, and some are stocking up on canned goods in case there is a quarantine.  In Manhattan, the streets are full of people and there is nary a masked individual in sight.  That is probably as it should be.  One hundred thousand cases worldwide of the disease is a tiny percentage of the population.  A total of 3,000 deaths is a fraction of a fraction.  We are nowhere near the 1918 flu outbreak that killed an estimated 50 million people.  Part of the reason for that is health authorities are treating the coronavirus seriously and quarantining populations where it has arisen.  What is needed is straightforward, factual communication of its spread and containment.  Health agencies and the media have been publicizing prevention measures (handwashing being the most important) and symptoms so potential victims can recognize what is happening to them and can seek medical help.  There is no need for hysteria, not yet anyway as long as health authorities continue to do their job.

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