There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who are totally freaking out about the Coronavirus and those who simply chalk it up to media hysteria. Whichever kind of person you are, you're entitled to your opinion and concerns — or lack thereof.
It's no wonder why Coronavirus is making such a massive splash in the media. Johns Hopkins University reports that, as of Friday March 6th, the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases has surpassed 100,000 worldwide. At the time of publishing, John Hopkins lists 3,411 as the virus' total death toll, with 12 of those deaths occurring in the United States, and over 30 countries across the world have reported outbreaks.
Of course, no one knows the numbers for sure. Given the prevailing assumption that not all who carry the illness have been or will be officially diagnosed, the disease could be more widespread than we understand. It could also, however, be less severe than we fear it to be. After all, in comparison, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that the flu kills 290,000 to 650,000 people every year. In fact, the CDC estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, and some 210,000 to 370,000 people with it have already been hospitalized.
Regardless, whether you're experiencing anxiety over the Coronavirus or haven't thought twice about it, it's important to be respectful of others. Here are three reasons we should all be a little more sensitive toward our colleagues during this time.
1. You don't know what other invisible illnesses people are battling.
A bulk of those who are suffering from the Coronavirus — and those who have lost their lives from it — were already dealing with other illnesses that have weakened their immune systems. You never know what people in your office may be silently suffering from, so if they seem to be worrying a lot more than you, don't shame them for feeling the way they are. This is a scary time for people who are immunocompromised, and they deserve our full support.
2. You don't know people's histories with other disease outbreaks.
We, as a global society, have been through a lot of pandemic diseases. Anyone remember the Zika or Ebola alarm not too long ago? You never know what kinds of other epidemics have affected people in your office before. Some of them may have been directly affected by diseases in the past, or they may have lost loved ones as a result. So be conscious of how you treat other people's concerns surrounding this latest outbreak.
3. You're all entitled to your own opinions and concerns.
At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinions and concerns — or lack thereof. We're all in this together, and we can all learn from each other in the process. Maybe you should open your eyes a bit more, and maybe they can calm down a bit — or vice versa. Regardless of where you stand, we can all do our part to make more health-conscious choices (read: wash our hands! A lot!) and help each other out.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.