The coronavirus, officially named Covid-19, has caused a panic worldwide primarily due to the virus spreading to other cities. It is estimated that more that 78,500 people have been affected and at least 2,465 deaths in China and one death outside of China have been reported. Although these numbers seem to be significant, it is important to remember that the ordinary flu is the cause of thousands of deaths each year and the influenza virus is more common than the coronavirus.
At this point, research on the coronavirus is limited and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) admits that additional research is needed in order to understand this virus better. There has been a focus on learning more how to contain the virus in hopes of slowing down the progression if an outbreak occurs in the United States. There is no known cure; therefore, containing and slowing down any progression of the virus allows researchers to test developing vaccines and possible antiviral medications. In order to prevent the risk of the virus spreading to more areas, the United Stated has imposed travel restrictions and some quarantine measures if individuals have been exposed to the virus.
Widespread concerns of such viruses creates fear and uncertainty for the population as a whole. The psychosocial impact primarily due to fear and anxiety about this widespread epidemic is significant. In China, recent research has shown that almost 43% people in a selected sample reported significant anxiety-related symptoms directly associated to the coronavirus. This widespread impact is typical especially since the media and social media is constantly sharing negative outcomes of this problem.
Ways to Cope with Fear and Coronavirus Anxiety
Although hearing about the coronavirus is scary, it is important for us to cope with fears and anxieties in a healthy way. Limiting your consumption of news coverage may be helpful. The media tends to overreport and overestimate the impact that some of these epidemics may actually have. Being overly consumed by media coverages and social media updates, may actually make an individual feel helpless due to the lack of control we have. As a population in general, it is not our role to find a cure. Scientists and doctors throughout the world are researching this virus and are in communication with organizations, such as the CDC, in order to prevent it from spreading and finding a cure.
Additionally, it is important that we as individuals continue to implement self-care strategies and live a healthy lifestyle. Taking care of ourselves is important for our overall medical and mental health. The cold and flu season makes us more vulnerable to viruses; therefore, it is important that we engage in healthy behaviors that increase our immunity, such as proper nutrition, hydrating, exercising.
Virus outbreaks, such as the coronavirus, do happen occasionally; however, it is important to remember that our risk of contracting such virus is small. The media tends to instill fear, which causes people to panic. If you are having difficulties coping with fear or anxiety related to the coronavirus or other viruses, it may be helpful to meet with a qualified psychologist. Psychotherapy services will provide you with a safe and supportive space to improve your ability to cope with these feelings. Qualified psychologists at Miami Psychology Group are currently accepting patients in the Miami and Miami Beach area.