Shaun Lucas

Associate Opinion Editor

Despite only being through a month, 2020 has already been established as an uncanny year: Australia dealt with massive forest fires, World War 3 seemed possible, and already an assortment of deaths from icons of our time occurred within the first month of the decade. Moving to February, however, many are still fearful of the outbreak of the coronavirus.

 The coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China, confirmed to begin spreading in the United States on January 30, 2020. According to “The New York Times,” the Chinese Government recently reported 20,438 cases of virus infection, along with over 400 casualties. Since there’s currently no cure for the virus, many leaders have limited both human and product transport in and out of Asian territory. This includes air travel to and from many regions in China.

It’s certainly understandable why the coronavirus continues to be feared among the worldly public. The virus is moving fast, along with seemingly no solid way to avoid infection. In addition, the outbreak is even spreading on American soil, with cases as close as Philadelphia, PA. Unfortunately, in times of fear, actions may become sporadic, causing citizens to act against reason.

Every time a major outbreak occurs, select individuals attempt to capitalize on fears to gain online traffic. Mainly, this occurs through the spread of false “cures” or methods of avoiding infection. Social media accounts, often impersonating reputable health sources such as the  “World Health Organization (WHO),” post passages of untested self-treatments. These include tweets stating rubbing garlic on the body will prevent infection. While WHO and organizations have debunked claims such as these, false information only serves to waste time for all attempting proper disease research.

While the creators of rumors are certainly unruly, responsibility also falls on other consumers of media. One must always remain mindful of the content’s legitimacy. This is especially crucial in modern times, as accessibility to image altering software makes deceit even more possible. Even basic research can avoid confusion, such as checking in with multiple legitimate sources. Some social media sites even attempt to make the search simple, as Twitter marks valid accounts with a blue checkmark.

Another factor of the coronavirus is racist remarks against individuals of Asian heritage. While memes coinciding with major news is now commonplace, many are posting jokes about Asian individuals potentially holding the virus.  This feeling of resentment has also spread worldwide, with Japanese Twitter users spreading the phrase “ChineseDon’tComeToJapan.” Viruses don’t discriminate, so focusing on the alienation of one group is foolish.

So, what can be done to avoid infection? As aforementioned, no cure exists, with the probability it may only become treatable similar to the Ebola virus. Despite this, researchers innovate medical technology, with disease treatment advancing at a rapid rate. In the meantime, 

utilize basic health precautions, such as bathing, washing your hands, and getting proper sleep. Society has experienced numerous outbreaks in human history, so I hold faith in innovators to conquer yet another epidemic.