William Haseltine digs into the question if why, when the flu by the numbers is clearly much more dangerous, so many persons are wigging out over the coronavirus. Here’s part of what he has to say; follow the link for the rest.
Plenty of health challenges lurk at our doorstep that do more damage and take more lives than the coronavirus. Take seasonal influenza or the flu. So far, there have been no less than 19 million cases of flu-related illnesses recorded this flu season, as well as 10,000 deaths. The new coronavirus, on the other hand, has sickened upwards of 64,000 and killed almost 1,400. . . .
Why does the 2019-nCoV outbreak rile our fears so? The discrepancy has to do with how humans perceive risks. Novel threats provoke anxiety in a way that everyday threats do not, triggering a fear response that begins with the part of the brain known as the amygdala and travels via activation of “fight or flight” motor functions throughout the body.
While this evolutionarily honed instinct for the unfamiliar and foreboding can sharpen the senses—a sort of physiological priming for confrontation with a predator—it can also confuse the mind.