Opinion: Choose patience over panic as coronavirus reaches Johnson County 

Students have enough stress on their plate. Panicking over coronavirus should not be added to it. 


Katie Goodale

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is seen on Sept. 17, 2018.

Marina Jaimes, Columnist

After 550 diagnoses, 21 deaths, and 34 states, the coronavirus has made its way to the Hawkeye State. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Sunday that the state has confirmed three cases of the virus here in Johnson County. The virus, first detected in Wuhan, China, made its way to Iowa via a cruise in Egypt. 

Also known as COVID-19, it has caused the world to erupt in massive hysteria. Although less deadly than other pandemics, it has proven to be more contagious. 

Now that it has hit close to home for University of Iowa students, a breakdown of its impact internationally can ease fears exploited by politicians, social-media outlets, and marketplaces selling preventative care accessories. 

In terms of epidemics, the world has seen much worse. Only six years ago, the existence of the ebola virus caused a crisis throughout the world. Today, ebola measured to have a 50 percent fatality rate while the coronavirus has a 3.4 percent fatality rate and is estimated to drop to nearly 1 percent. Ebola is still claiming lives today, but its spread has decreased and so has the delirium around it.

For now, following CDC guidelines is a reasonable measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The current worldwide health scare prompted thousands of sellers on Amazon to price gouge hazmat suits, face masks, and hand sanitizers — predatory sellers knew what a scared audience would be in search of. On average, face masks priced at $13.28 were selling for $195. Amazon has since removed 530,000 sellers for violating price-gouging policies. 

Those intending to panic-buy were stopped by Amazon, and with good reason. Not only would they have been swindled, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the use of face masks on those that are well, only for individuals who show symptoms of the coronavirus.

Panic buying in general can lead to more price gouging, so it is best for students to not engage in it — the situation does not call for it.

What’s more, as global oil prices have dropped 30 percent, it’s best not to unnecessarily add to the financial chaos. If the virus is going to disrupt markets, it doesn’t need us exacerbating the problem.

For now, following CDC guidelines is a reasonable measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and frequent disinfecting are preventative measures that have the ability to ease stress and consume little time of one’s day. 

If students are concerned about their exposure to the virus, the UI recommends contacting the Student Health Nurseline or UI Hospitals & Clinics for after-hours and weekend treatment. 

Wall Street may be panicking, but students at the UI need not fret over conditions that are out of their control.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.