On a scale of 1 to 10, from mildly concerned to super paranoid, how worried are you about Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Last Thursday, I was probably a 2 or 3 – somewhat concerned but I didn’t give it too much thought since it wasn’t in Los Angeles County (yet) and I practice good hygiene. However, now that there are 6 cases in LA County, I would say that I’m slightly worried at about a 5 or 6.
There’s a fine line between being careful and letting the paranoia wash over you (no pun intended) every time you read another news story. However, I find it reassuring when I read factual advice from organizations like the World Health Organization.
Even Barack Obama agrees! 😉 He’s basically telling us to keep calm and carry on, which is exactly the voice of reason that I want to hear.
Let’s not kid ourselves though, the coronavirus is affecting business in a real way. Take for instance Expo West, a natural food products conference, which cancelled one day prior to opening day. Another interesting example is that the latest James Bond movie is getting its release date pushed out. When movie premieres get moved out, then the businesses that support those events (event planners, caterers, wait staff, limo drivers, etc.) don’t get utilized and people lose out on wages earned.
Probably the biggest industry that has taken a hit is the travel industry. As companies rethink their travel and expense policies – limiting or curbing unnecessary business travel and people postpone their vacations, it has a real trickle-down effect. United Airlines is tightening its belt due to the decline in travel demand.
It makes me wonder how far will people go to avoid coronavirus (COVID-19)? I’ve heard about people canceling their cruise ship plans, rescheduling their international vacations, and even contemplating whether they should push out their visit to a local theme park. Granted that same theme park was also the hot spot location for spreading measles among groups of people who visited during the same day, so rethinking the decision to go is not totally unfounded.
If you were supposed to attend South by Southwest (SXSW) later this month, would you go? If your high school or college-aged kid had tickets to Coachella, would you make him or her cancel? These are all valid questions and personally I think there is no right or wrong answer.
However, I do think some of the hysteria and racism that come as a result of misinformation is horrible. You’ve probably heard the story about people putting on the surgical masks when Asian people get on a subway. Did you hear about the person who linked BTS, the K-Pop group, to coronavirus just because they’re South Korean? That’s just plain ignorant. I mean, even Howard Stern thinks so!
Making ignorant and racist comments about certain ethnicities and their possible link to coronavirus is just plain dumb. This whole situation reminds me of the early days in the 80s & 90s when misinformation about AIDS and HIV was spread so rampantly. Not even certain government officials were clear on how the disease or virus was spread. During that time, the gay community was treated horribly. Now I’m not comparing who got treated worse, I’m simply saying that the false or inaccurate information is making people panic in ways that are not necessary.
Personally for me, all I can do is try to stay educated, use common sense, and have a sense of humor about things (just like Weird Al)!
Am I going to reschedule my upcoming Spring Vacation plans with my family? No…unless something major happens in April. Until then…
So tell me, what has your experience been like so far? Anyone you know have caught exposure to it? Have you cancelled your vacations or has your business or industry been affected by it? Sound off in the comments, I’d love to know!
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The opinions expressed in this blog post are 100% my own. All images are my own unless otherwise noted.