Be wary of Mr. Bubbles, not coronavirus

Numbers prove vigilance, not panic will bring end to threat

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The country’s financial markets are in a tailspin and store shelves have been picked clean of cleaning wipes, surgical masks and hand sanitizer. While experts ask us to be calm, it’s not easy when we’re bombarded with suggestions the world faces an apocalyptic pandemic.

As of Wednesday, 1,000 people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus. Of those, 32 have died.

That’s 32 out of 327.2 million people. And 23 of those were linked to a nursing home near Seattle.

The good thing about numbers is they reveal truth without compunction. They can be used to spread fear or bring about a sense comfort. It depends on the agenda of those presenting, and listening to, the message.

Just like any other cold and flu season, there are ways to protect yourself. You’ve heard it many times, but avoid large crowds, stay away from someone who’s coughing and sneezing and wash your hands.

Unlike the great bioterrorist scare of 2001, there’s no need to stock up on plastic sheeting and duct tape. I still have plenty stuck in a closet. Soap, water and common sense will do just fine to get through this.

Medical scares aren’t new. But as the 24-hour news cycles become more desperate to make bigger headlines, concern has been replaced with making people scared. Panic is the next step.

But let’s use numbers to prove the point. As of Wednesday morning, there were less than 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus reported, according to Johns Hopkins University. That means the chances of catching the virus is one in about 327,000 in the United States. and of those, the chances of dying are 1 in 10.225 million – and most, if not all, are elderly people or those with existing respiratory problems.

Worldwide, more than 115,000 have been affected with the virus, with nearly 82,000 of those originating in China. As of Wednesday, there have been nearly 4,400 deaths globally, with 3,200 of them in China.

Numbers prove Mr. Bubbles is a greater threat to our country’s mortality rate than coronavirus. On average, one person dies every day in the bathtub or spa in the United States. That means you have two-times greater risk of dying in a bubble bath than with the COVID 19 coronavirus.

I like my chances.

While the world’s economy screeches to a crippling halt and politicians line up to blame each other for a virus that originated in China, we forget that on an average, more than 4,700 people are diagnosed with cancer each day. Over the course of a year, nearly 600,000 of those will die.

We forget that more than 15,000 people in the United States have died from influenza in the last five months, that 11 teenagers die every day in car crashes caused by texting and driving and the death rate for heart attacks, especially among men, is about 635,000 a year.

Like everything else, especially with cancer, heart disease, the flu and a relaxing in a jacuzzi, you need to be informed and vigilant. The best way to avoid cancer is to not smoke. Cutting fatty read meat from your diet and exercise gives you better odds to avoid heart disease. A flu shot usually fends off most respiratory illnesses. Avoiding alcohol is a simple way to keep the medical examiner’s office from fishing you out of your tub.

Despite being put on high alert, we made it through SARS, bird flu and mad cow’s disease. By using our heads and remaining calm we’ll get through coronavirus.

I’m old enough to remember going through nuclear bomb drills in elementary schools by crawling under a desk. I my measles, mumps and rubella shot. Heck, I drank from of a garden hose, rode my bike without shoes or a helmet and waited in the running car while my parents bought groceries.

The PGA Tour is asking its patrons and players to do the same this week at during The Players at TPC Sawgrass. There are hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the course and the crowds will be pushed back a little further to reduce any chance of cross-contamination.

If you do the same, you’ll like your chances, too.

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