A pandemic? Don’t panic

Spencer Batute, @batutie_

With warnings of COVID-19’s imminent spread throughout the United States and reports of the virus’ transmission in Contra Costa County, an air of panic is only natural. However, we of the LMC Experience believe that panic should be avoided; instead, students and faculty should exercise more prudent health precautions. Here is why.

Panic makes things worse. Panic leads to actions like stockpiling, fear mongering and anxiety.

Additionally, uninformed fear leads to stockpiling on foods, masks, hand sanitizer and other essentials. While the Department of Homeland Security recommends that Americans have such supplies as a two-week source of food and water before a pandemic, any major stockpiling makes problems worse.

For example, by buying masks and hand sanitizer in bulk, people are effectively taking away these supplies from medical professionals who need it.

Not only does fear create issues for others, but it can negatively harm people simply by causing stress: by worrying excessively, people’s immune systems weaken, leaving them more vulnerable to sickness.

It can be argued that a sense of fear is important in motivating students and faculty to prepare for the spread of the virus within the school.

Of course, mental preparation should be undertaken, but only to the point of diligence. Instead, students and staff of LMC should funnel their focus into practicing sanitary precautions. As recommended by Los Medanos College, students should practice such exercises as cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces, as well as washing their hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

In short, while fear over the danger of COVID-19 is valid, it is not valid enough to warrant panic within the LMC population. No less, panic would only create more chaos within the school. Instead, we urge that students and faculty practice caution and follow guidelines posted on fliers around campus as well as by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.