Home Coronavirus Pandemic OPINION: COVID-19: Are we overreacting, underreacting, or both?

OPINION: COVID-19: Are we overreacting, underreacting, or both?

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Emma Stefanick, a freshman studying journalism, argues that society may be overreacting about the coronavirus.

Please note that these views and opinions do not reflect those of The New Political.


Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced a shelter-in-place order for all Ohioans amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The order shuts down “nonessential” businesses and asks people to stay at home. With nearly 229 million people across the country sheltering in place, we should ask ourselves if this is really necessary.

According to Ohio Health Department Director Amy Acton, the extreme measures put into place by DeWine are to ensure that the novel coronavirus does not overwhelm our medical system. Our medical systems do not have the necessary resources to sustain the rising number of coronavirus patients. 

Due to the nature of the virus, it is likely to spread more quickly and stealthily than influenza, which statistically kills more people each year than COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Coronavirus can be transmitted through asymptomatic carriers and some people are asymptomatic for up to two weeks. With the most recent data, Acton predicts that the curve of coronavirus cases in Ohio is beginning to flatten thanks to the extreme precautions the state has enacted. 

While some people seem to be taking the coronavirus pandemic too lightly by not following shelter-in-place orders or disregarding social distancing procedures, many are overreacting in response to the wave of panic that has washed over the U.S. Both of these extremes create legitimate issues — one overwhelming the health care system and the other straining the grocery system.

There is no need to stockpile foods and goods. Grocery stores are not shutting down and most essential items can still be purchased at numerous store chains. Stores are lacking resources because people are panic buying, stockpiling, or hoarding food to feel a sense of control and security during this pandemic. 

This creates a serious issue when health care workers or people living paycheck to paycheck cannot find the items they need to protect themselves or survive, leaving many vulnerable to contracting the illness. 

There are a few things to keep in mind during this pandemic: The U.S. is not going to run out of food nor toilet paper, and you are not the only person who will be affected if you choose to ignore the stay-at-home order. We’ve seen far worse things than COVID-19. 

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