So how do you talk about the coronavirus without having people say it’s just another example of the media creating panic?  I hope it’s by being rational.

I do want to address the subject of the media and how much of the criticism is completely unfair.  Most of the coverage I have viewed is simply reporting the latest developments which are ever changing. What was timely an hour ago becomes old news very quickly.

If a political leader or health official offers an update or opinion is it the media’s fault for reporting that?  Would it not be even more irresponsible to NOT report something that comes from a reputable source?

Whether COVID-19 is an epidemic or a pandemic it has certainly impacted the U.S. like nothing we have seen in most of our lifetimes.  Yes for the majority of those who come down with symptoms it likely will not be much more to deal with than a bad cold or a case of the flu.

However it’s the speed at which it can move from one person to another that is cause for concern and the outbreak in many places has caused disruptions that we simply could not imagine when we first heard that the virus has broken out in China.

It is not the media’s fault that events have been cancelled all across the country, that schools have closed in some places and right here in Ocean County school officials are looking at alternatives if they do indeed have to shut down.  It is not the media’s fault that Boston has cancelled its St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Ivy League has cancelled its postseason basketball tournament, the Coachella music festival has been postponed until the fall and popular game shows are going to tape without a studio audience.

Whether you believe all of this is undeserved panic or a cautious approach to a growing problem we do have a crisis because there is no manual to pull out for answers.  We all hope and pray that one day in the very near future we will wake up to the news that the coronavirus has been contained and controlled.  However what we should be concerned about is that this is just the beginning and it will get worse before it gets better.

That’s not media hype. That’s a fact.