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To the editor:

I believe some perspective about the severity of the coronavirus may reduce some fear and anxiety. Compare the current data with the flu. The flu infects 1 billion people worldwide, killing as many as 650,000. In the U.S. so far this season, flu has afflicted up to 49 million people, resulting in as many as 52,000 deaths.

Coronavirus has afflicted more than 113,000 people worldwide as identified by health officials, with 732 in the United States. The illness has caused about 4,000 deaths, 27 in our country. Imagine the level of hysteria that would ensue if people spoke of the flu in the same manner they speak of the coronavirus.

I am not making light of this outbreak. Unlike the flu, there is no vaccine yet available, and the coronavirus is more transmissible than the flu. Given what we know so far it is certainly sensible for people to take greater precautions than usual. For the ordinary person, the best advice is to stay calm and take reasonable precautions.

Amy Rose Gelinas,



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