Dear Crabby, Do I Need to be Worried about the Coronavirus?

Dear Crabby,

When news about the coronavirus first broke, I really didn’t pay that much attention. Now, it seems like I’m hearing about it daily and it sounds like the situation is becoming more dire. How worried should I be?

M. Typhoid

Dear M. Typhoid,

How worried should you be? That seems to be the million-dollar question these days. It’s not like these viruses and the panic they cause is anything new. There are a few ‘big’ ones that I can remember. First, there was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) way back in 2003. The next big scare was the Swine Flu panic of 2009, followed by the Zika virus in 2016. Now we have arrived at the latest: the coronavirus. And as with any virus, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, so let me dispel one of the dumbest I’ve heard so far. You cannot, I repeat, you cannot catch the virus from drinking Corona beer. The virus and the beer are not related. There is not anything bad lurking in the hops. Apparently, since news of the virus broke, there’s been an increase in searches for the “beer virus” and “Corona beer virus.” Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up! The only thing Corona beer can give you is a hangover is you drink too much. So, now that we’ve cleared that up, here’s what you should be paying attention to.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

For all you geography buffs, this coronavirus started in Wuhan City, which is in the Hubei Province of China. While there have been cases reported in other parts of the world (including Michigan!) China seems to be the hardest hit by the virus. According to the smarty-pants at the World Health Organization (WHO) China has over 42,000 confirmed cases and unfortunately, the number of people who have died from it seems to change day-to-day. Just know it’s a big number. Naturally, this has caused other countries to stop flying there and also started a mass exodus of folks currently in China trying to hightail it back to their home countries. In the meantime, people are frantically looking up info on how this virus spreads. Just do yourself and everyone else a favor when you’re ‘researching:’ DO NOT USE WebMD! That is the one site where it seems no matter what you’re looking up, it always tells you that you’ll probably die. I’d suggest using a website with a little more science behind it like the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Not only will they be able to give you the facts, but they’ll also probably have the most up-to-date information. Now from what I’ve read, the coronavirus is related to our respiratory system and it sounds like it can be spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs and ‘droplets’ land on folks nearby who unknowingly inhale them. Again, those smart science-y people are trying to figure out the specifics of who, what, when, and where. I certainly don’t envy them. Back in my day, polio was the disease most people worried about, but once a vaccination was created that sure helped. Speaking of vaccinations…

I know in general this is a touchy subject for folks. Some are for them and some are against and both camps are passionate about their positions. I’m not here to say who is wrong or right, but I will tell you right now there is no vaccination or ‘cure’ for the coronavirus. But you can take some precautions and I’m betting they’re probably the same ones your mom drilled into your head when you were a whippersnapper:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Ewww!
  • Stay home when you are sick. No one is going to give you a medal at work for pushing through the pain. What your coworkers will give you is dirty looks for not thinking about their wellbeing.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. It’s not rocket science, people.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. We’re talking a good washing here and not just casually running your hands under the water.

And before you run out and buy all the surgical face masks at Sam’s Club, just know that the CDC doesn’t recommend folks who are well to wear one. But if it makes you feel better or you want to make a fashion statement, go right ahead. Hopefully, those smart folks will get this situation figured out and under control, so we can be nervous nellies about other things like whether or not the new Michigan State football coach is going to be good.

Hope that answers your question!

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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