OPINION: Coronavirus is dangerous but we will get through this

A letter to the editor by Kathleen Strykowsky of Mt Laurel, NJ

The fact that the first American who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus had died is news that should be reported. People need to be aware of where the virus is appearing and everyone needs to start washing their hands with soap every time you come home from being in public, remember to cough/sneeze into your sleeve, and don’t eat or touch your eyes/nose/mouth with unwashed hands. There is no reason to panic. Just take normal precautions, and if you develop a fever with a cough then you need to go to the doctor, and if you contract COVID-19 expect to be missing work/school/going out in public for several weeks.

Yes, the flu kills millions every year (up to 60,000 American deaths a year) and we have become blasé about it, not bothering to get available flu shots since they may not protect from the flu strain that you are exposed to. But this virus may be 20 times more fatal (.1% for the flu vs 2% mortality for COVID-19) with no vaccine and no treatment, similar to the Spanish Flu of 1918 with a 2-3% mortality rate, which killed millions, including 675,000 Americans.

As confirmed cases spread through the US as they are doing elsewhere, expect disruptions such as school closings and canceled public events. Reduced production around the world affects our supplies. This is why stock market investors are worried. This is not some “fake news” plot to overthrow the world, it is a simple virus that has developed that we need to deal with and plan around to stay safe.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.

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