EU health ministers are in Brussels today for an emergency meeting on the coronavirus. There have been a handful of isolated coronavirus cases in EU countries, but the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control currently considers the probability of a coronavirus outbreak in the EU to be “very low”. Nevertheless, public interest and concern over the virus is extremely high.

What is the coronavirus? A new respiratory disease was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019. In just a few months, the number of people infected by the coronavirus has increased rapidly to over 60,000. The Chinese authorities have taken drastic measures in response: since January, the inhabitants of several cities (with populations of millions) have been quarantined to prevent the virus from spreading further.

How dangerous is the virus? The fatality rate of the disease is reportedly around 2% (though some believe the actual fatality rate is higher). Regardless, almost all of the fatalities so far have been among elderly people with pre-existing conditions. Children and young people seem more resistant to the virus, and the majority of people infected are over 40 (the average age of patients being 55 according to one study). So far, 82% of cases have been mild, with symptoms requiring no medical intervention.

That’s not to say the coronavirus is not a threat. However, some analysts believe “fantasies about the coronavirus”, including racist stereotyping of Asians, are more contagious than the disease itself. Developed countries with well-funded and well-equipped healthcare systems are much better-placed to respond to epidemics than developing countries, as the Ebola outbreak in the DRC sadly demonstrated. This is not to minimise the challenge of the coronavirus (being seen to hide things or downplay the impact of the virus could end up eroding public trust in the media), but rather to argue the facts as they stand don’t justify a full-blown panic.

Are we overreacting to the coronavirus? Is Europe prepared for the virus? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

Image Credits: Bigstock (c) Supawat B.

12 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar

    One overreacts to the virus, until gets it ;)

  2. avatar

    Ofc not better safe than sorry. Those rascists are though.

  3. avatar

    Yes we do thanks to media that are terrifying the public for few more ” likes ” ..
    Much more people are going to die from common flu than the Corona virus.. not to mention that SARS was far more deadly

  4. avatar

    Yes, Who or what is behind such news.?

  5. avatar

    OMS is overreacting, I think

  6. avatar

    As if we do have any information at all
    Just let’s remember it’s spread from China, the most dictatorship country on this planet right after north Korea
    Let’s not forget the death of the first doctor who spread the news of the threat two weeks before government of China be generous enough and do their job,
    Let’s remember the last journalist was really reporting from the main source city was hailed in jail nothing but because he did his job
    I believe the whole world are paying the price letting such government free of punishment, i hope by the end of this we learn the lesson, that dictatorship is a curse not for their people alone but for the entire universe
    History is not Promising though

  7. avatar

    Well, maybe not. One thing is sure: the medias are feeding us with catastrophic news every minute and this isn’t necessary.

  8. avatar

    I think we’re overacting. There’s a lot of media coverage (maybe also because China is an important country in the supply chain of most bigger companies) but the media is just writing in this attention-seeking way what they need to survive.
    If we think about it, the stats are clear:
    Coronavirus deads: 1770 and the numbers are decreasing at the moment
    flu deads: 400.000 in Germany

    I think the right way now is to be alarmed but not panicky

  9. avatar

    No…I think everyone should self isolate for at least 6 months, just to be sure….stay away from any form of social media…..

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