There seems to be an ongoing battle between the media and the Trump Administration over the coronavirus. This should come as no surprise since the media has been at odds with the President since he first announced his candidacy. Regardless of what the President or his representatives have done, the media have been critical of the action taken. My mother was famous for saying, “Let’s not make a mountain out of a molehill.” The media seems to delight in building mountains from every story to fill air time. In this case they are creating hysteria at the same time the President and his team are trying to maintain an atmosphere of calm. The media continue to emphasize the number of “new” cases of infection and the number of deaths related to the virus. What the media fail to emphasize is that the virus possess little risk to the average American. It is only a danger to the elderly and those with impaired immune systems or multiple chronic medical illnesses. The influenza virus is a much greater threat and has resulted in more deaths, but the media don’t focus on those facts. The Trump Administration is trying to reassure the public with a knowledge that we have the best infectious disease experts working on the disease and will soon have medicines and a vaccine to combat COVID -19. The media should also be serving a more prominent role in preventive medicine by teaching the public what they can do to remain healthy. Such information would help to prevent widespread panic. World travel makes it is nearly impossible to prevent novel infections from spreading. The media could be performing a better public service if they were to be supportive of the government’s efforts to control this latest outbreak without spreading unnecessary fear and panic. They seem to want this crisis to undermine the economy and the Trump presidency.
Health experts agree on the best actions for the public if they wish to avoid being infected. If you have not received a flu shot this year, it is not too late to get one. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently, avoid handshakes and touching your face. If you don’t have access to soap & water, hand sanitizer is a suitable alternative. Wipe surfaces often with antiseptic wipes. Get plenty of rest and eat a balanced diet. Control your diabetes and blood pressure if you are being treated for those conditions. If you do feel ill, stay home and do not expose others. If you feel that you need to see your provider for a severe cough or high fever, do so. Otherwise treat your symptoms with OTC remedies at home. By the time a vaccine is available the worst of this disease will likely have subsided. For most people this is no worse than the common cold or the flu virus. The human body is resilient and all we need to do is give it a little help and let it do the rest.