“There is Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself”

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Branden Leong, Staff Writer

Famously quoted from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s inaugural speech, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself” is a common quote used when advising others not to fear. In his time, tensions were building in Europe following the First World War, and in our time, people are becoming more and more paranoid about the rising Coronavirus. How can we best respond to this serious situation without fear and help our country to return to normal life?

First, panic is distinctly different from concern. Panic is a much stronger emotion than concern, and it often leads people to make irrational decisions. It is greatly unbeneficial to live in panic or fear, but instead, we should live with concern for situations around us. The spellbinding fear and panic spread like wildfire. Once a person decides to stockpile on supplies, another follows, and soon, everyone is rapidly buying non-perishable supplies. This causes a massive deficit of supplies and depletes stores of their stock. This becomes extremely problematic for those really in need. If you’ve noticed, during this time of global panic, many stores including name-brands such as Costco, Whole Foods, and Ralphs are rapidly running out of toilet paper, masks, and other health items. This situation has been created purely by panic. If everyone is concerned, rather than panicked, the general public will make informed decisions for the betterment of society at large, rather than for an individual cause.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, the world has been growing more fearful by the minute. The U.S. stock market has plunged, and prices of masks and sanitary items have skyrocketed. Fear leads society to make irrational and rash decisions, based on feelings. Panicked by seeing the stock market drop, many withdraw their earnings from the market, causing it to drop even more. This is, as seen many times throughout history, the beginning of an economic recession. In the end, the devastation to the economy will hurt consumers, as many have retirement accounts based on the success of the stock market. Closing non-essential businesses for a while is beneficial, as it can reduce the spread of the virus. And, reducing the spread of the virus prevents hospitals and healthcare agencies from being overwhelmed. Eventually, though, the marketplace must reopen. As President Trump stated, “we can’t have the cure be worse than the problem”. Such a time for businesses to reopen should be determined through frequent assessments of a given area or county. Once officials have deemed the said area to be safe, citizens can resume their daily activities. This balanced approach should prove beneficial, as it lowers the risk of infection but also allows civilians to resume working once their area is deemed safe or of low-risk status. We need growth in the stock market and businesses to operate for a healthy economy, and also to produce more resources that can be allocated to helping other countries fight the disease.

Many people are concerned about catching the coronavirus, and with good reason. Nobody wants to catch the virus, nor see their family members ill with it. But amidst all of this, some normality in daily life must be maintained. We can act on our concern with good reason, but we must not let this concern mutate into unfounded fear. Take precautions wherever you can. Life will and must continue whether or not COVID-19 goes away, so we need to make adjustments to our lifestyles like washing our hands more frequently, and coughing and sneezing into our arms. We can’t stay at home forever, and when we do return to our daily lives, these things are necessary for safe and healthy living. We must stay calm to make rational, thought-out choices that will benefit society at large.

Once a country is infected with the virus, it is only a matter of time before it spreads throughout the country. Right now, it is of the utmost importance to quarantine those infected to prevent an exponential spread of infection. Closing the borders and not allowing any international travel is also beneficial. This will not be permanent, since the goal is to protect the inhabitants within until a cure is discovered or the situation stabilizes. Because of our government’s prompt response in closing international borders, we are fortunate that our casualty ratio is not as severe as other parts of the world. The closure of international travel has not been based on fear, but rather has been a thought-out plan to protect our country. Closing international borders allows us to shorten the timeline of the pandemic, helping us to return to lives as normal as possible.

Yes, the COVID-19 virus is a real, devastating threat that all of humanity is facing. Despite this, it is not a reason for society to panic and act irrationally. It is a time that calls for unity of the people to stand against this threat and conquer it as we did the SARS virus and the smallpox virus. We need to think for the better of the entire, collective humanity, or the virus will get the better of us. If nobody else is concerned about this escalating situation, then it is time for us to panic. But for now, there is nothing to fear but the lack of fear itself.

Photo courtesy of GETTY IMAGES