Coronovirus is Deadly, Fear is Deadlier
‘Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity.’ – Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General.
While our scientists daily strive to come up with vaccines to battle the coronavirus diease, it is important that we do our utmost not to panic while strictly observing the precautionary measures as stated by relevant bodies like the NCDC, WHO etc. The coronavirus pandemic is a nightmare the world would do anything to wish away, but unfortunately it has proven to be a resilient virus. A lot of people the world over have been infected with many susceptible to being infected still.
This virus, also known as COVID-19 that was first reported on 31st December, 2019 in Wuhan, China has been reported to being able to survive for as long as 7 days on infected surfaces especially when the weather is right and conducive. However, as deadly and highly contagious as the coronavirus disease is, it is not as dangerous as panic and fear.
Panic and Fear being Deadlier
The fact that COVID-19 is a dreadful disease is indisputable; countries with infected people are working assiduously to dam the spread, while those not yet infected are doing everything to keep it out. As I write this, news streamed in that Italy has closed all schools and universities, and is also planning to ban kissing to stop the spread. But the real killer here is panic and fear as succinctly stated by Dr. Tedros.
History is replete with stories where people got wind of an impending danger or crisis and went into panic mode which then pushed them into making rash decisions that ended up killing them faster than the impending danger which, most of the time, is still many kilometres away from them. There are instances where the said danger already tired out before getting to them and no longer poses serious threat, but they already took ill thought out decisions in the heat of panic that either killed them or destroyed them.
Take Precautions, Don’t Panic
As much as we understand that human first instinct when faced with danger is to run, it is essential to learn to take deep breaths and not rush to take the first course of action that you find appealing. Indeed, it takes deliberate practice to calm oneself down and calculate the best option to take because the truth is; running is not always the wisest option. You think you are running away from it, what if you are actually running towards the danger? This is the kind of tight spot rash decisions can put one in.
Coronavirus feed and thrive on people’s fear. You don’t want to give it that power, do you?
COVID-19: Dos and Donts
- Follow health authorities in your country, WHO and other credible bodies. If you live in Nigeria like me, follow the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for accurate reports.
- Don’t binge on junk media whose stock in trade is to spread panic and terror so far it gets them the coveted clicks.
- Follow the precautionary measures strictly as spelt out by health authorites like WHO, NCDC, UNICEF etc
- Read the news to get informed only, not to get thrown into panic or anxiety attacks. It is important that you are mentally and emotionally balanced.
HOW TO OVERCOME FEAR OF CORONAVIRUS
With the understanding that if you are able to overcome the crippling fear that the COVID-19 induces, it loses its weakening power over you, it is important to observe the following deliberately.
1. Focus on what strengthens you (not what scares you). The human brain is wired to notice danger faster than harmless events, so it will take a conscientious effort to refocus your attention on the positive while the brain naturally wants to focus on danger and react. It wants to dwell on the red dot of danger and fear, and create horror images of the worst case scenarios.
You owe your peace of mind to rechannel your thoughts to the brighter angle always.
2. Do activities that empower and destress you. It is widely reported that people with strong immunity have stronger chances of conquering the virus, so you will want to double up on activities that build up your body immunity system. Eat good food, exercise regularly, sleep well, meditate etc
In short, invest time in whatever helps you destress, feel stronger and handle your challenge better. And while at it, don’t forget to breathe deeply.
3. Speak calmly and be measured in your speech. It is very important not to be over dramatic with our words. We tend to add extra pepper and curry when narrating events to make it more sassy and attention grabbing. This is not the time to be melodramatic. Truth is; our words create our reality. If someone keeps saying the entire heaven is falling when it is simply raining, sooner than later heaven will crash on the fellow’s head.
This is not to say one denies unpleasant realities and live in denial, it is simply saying your words should not serve as fuel to escalate them.
4. Avoid Fear-mongers and don’t be one yourself. Coronavirus is highly contagious, but fear is even more contagious and spreads faster. If you are constantly in the community of fear-casters; people who speak fear, sing fear, eat fear in fact their entire existence is steeped in absolute fear, they will draw energy away from you and live you drained. Even in the best of times, they are to be avoided, more so in this period.
I soothe with my pen. Or keyboard. Or both.