From the get-go, I’ve been one of the people who has believed that the hype around the Coronavirus is worse than the disease and that this probably won’t be worse than a bad flu season. However, I am also someone who believes that when new information comes in, we should be willing to change our opinion. As we’ve seen the last week, that information is coming in at an extraordinary pace.
Of course, some of that information isn’t very valuable. Just because the NBA, Disney, and UFC have decided to forego holding live events, we have toilet paper shortages or Tom Hanks has gotten COVID-19 isn’t a reason for us to suddenly go, “Wow, this is serious.” The people buying toilet paper, corporations and (I am rooting for him) Tom Hanks don’t have any special knowledge that you don’t.
In fact, the surprising level of seriousness with which the corporate world and Donald Trump have treated this whole virus could conceivably mean that it will do even less damage than we initially anticipated. After all, two weeks ago, who would have expected everything from Broadway to the NCAA tournament to shut down? Reducing crowds has to mean fewer people will get infected, right? Also, while you could certainly fairly criticize Trump for being too rosy about the virus in the beginning, his response since then, which includes stopping China and most of Europe from flying here, along with temporary paid leave and free testing for the virus have been orders of magnitude more robust than anyone could have expected. This is a disease that is being taken seriously at the highest levels.
So, why is there a possibility it will live up to the hype?