So, the world is ending yet again, this time though coronavirus.  In my lifetime, here are just a few of the ways the media have told me that the world would shortly come to an end:

  • Overpopulation: 5 billion people was the limit the earth could hold; after that it would be all over
  • Nuclear war: The world would be consumed in cataclysm by one of the superpowers
  • Y2K: In the year 2000, all airplanes would fall out of the sky and the world as we know it would grind to a halt. STOCK UP ON FOOD NOW!!
  • Mass extinctions of wildlife: years ago, 75% of wildlife would be eradicated by pollution and the spread of cities
  • Chernobyl: radiation would infect the planet and cancers would skyrocket everywhere as a result
  • Global warming: in 1989 a senior UN official warned that entire nations would be swept away if global warming was not reversed by the year 2000
  • AIDS/SAARS/Ebola: same deal
  • ISIS: yawn
  • World War 3: would come from the killing of Iranian general Soleimani just weeks ago

See my point?

This time it’s coronavirus.  We will all die!  No more shaking hands!  Don’t travel anywhere!  Life as we know it is irrevocably over.

I don’t buy it.

Sure, I don’t want to get the flu either, but seriously?  Even if I get it, the chances of dying from it are tiny.  This isn’t the medieval black death where I turn purple and am dead in 6 hours.

If you’re actually going to worry, here are some things you might really be thinking about:

  • Traffic: Almost 38,000 people were killed in traffic last year in the US alone
  • Heart disease: 650,000 people died of it last year
  • Cancer: 600,000 died last year
  • The (normal) flu: Somewhere around 60,000/year in the U.S.

But people (in general) aren’t deserting their cars, or giving up drinking alcohol, or smoking/vaping, or eating cheesecake. Imagine if 650,000 people died of coronavirus in a single year!  We would be apoplectic; drunk, no, berserk with terror.  But as it is, it doesn’t even cause a ripple.

But, these are the things we should be going bonkers over if we stopped to use our rational brains for a moment.

Stop being afraid.  Sure, take sensible precautions: Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer in your car, and please don’t lick public door handles.  Also, recycle, eat sensibly, exercise, reduce your carbon footprint.

But, the human race has shown a remarkable ability to fix problems that are real, in a timely manner.

Don’t live in fear.  As President Roosevelt famously said after the Pearl Harbor attack, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

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