Covid-19 induced hysteria


Oliver Semple

Photo of empty shelves at the Clark’s grocery store

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is spreading at a rapid pace across the globe. This pandemic is unnerving, and the hysteria it is causing is almost as daunting as the virus itself.

Being prepared in times like these is in no way a bad thing. Taking measures such as social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and buying sufficient groceries are all important during a pandemic. Taking these steps a good thing for yourself and others, but a vital part of this is not to panic. According to The New York Times, “Most important: Do not panic. With a clear head and some simple tips, you can help reduce your risk, prepare your family and do your part to protect others.”

The danger of panicking is that it leads to hysteria and situations becoming out of control. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of hysteria is “a state in which your emotions (such as fear) are so strong that you behave in an uncontrolled way.” In most threatening situations, people often hear the golden rule to “stay calm” and avoid hysteria. However, when natural emotions such as fear take over, that golden rule is often abandoned and replaced with panic. This is a major factor in things like grocery store shelves being empty for periods of time.

Walking into your local grocery store and seeing empty shelves is primarily a result of panic shopping sprees, but there are tactics that help to minimize panicking. Dr. David Price is an ICU doctor in New York City whose hospital has transformed to solely work with COVID-19. He is in the epicenter of the disease and surrounded by the virus daily, and yet, he finds that he has no fear over the virus. Price released an empowering talk on Youtube discussing the virus and gives legitimate advice.

“You don’t have to be scared of the outside world\; you don’t have to be scared of your neighbor. When you know that the only way you are going to get this disease is if your hands are dirty, and that if you touch your face, and that if you are way too close to that person, that becomes incredibly liberating,” Price remarked in the Youtube video.

There is liberation behind people having the ability to overcome the fear and have control, even in times like these. A vital piece of getting through this is not allowing ourselves to be gripped with fear and not letting hysteria and panic devastate society. Preparation and using caution is crucial, but letting that turn into hysteria could have major repercussions not just on an economical level, but also on a personal level. People can persevere, and this too shall pass.

“It is a time when we are all really scared, and I think what makes it worse is to when you go outside and to look and think that the person next to you is going to somehow harm you or harm your family. The person at the store is not your enemy\; they’re someone who is going through this with you,” Price said.