Dear editor,

One of the things I now appreciate most about the education system I grew up in, is that it taught us to challenge everything. To ask questions and seek answers.

Today, with so much being thrown at us as “fact,” with new doomsday predictions and constant fear being advertised daily, having those skills and that mindset is a real plus.

In recent weeks, we have all heard of the virus that is killing so many. It’s a respiratory virus that spreads fairly quickly and has killed over 3,000 in under two months. That’s very nasty!

And its not alone. There are several nasty viruses at work killing people as we speak.

Since October, a respiratory virus called A H1N1 has spread rapidly. Millions  in the USA have contracted it and thousands have died. The CDC estimates it will kill as many as 34,000 this year.

Another respiratory virus, that has been going around for longer than the currently advertised virus, is the HRV-C. Last year, the World Health Organization estimates this respiratory virus led to 11 to 20 million hospitalizations and approximately 5 million children younger than age 5 died from it worldwide.

These two viruses have not created the same health scare the poorly referred to coronavirus has. Why? The numbers are staggering, they infect more people and kill more people. We should be absolutely in a panic. But we aren’t.

For those of you who don’t know, those scary viruses are this year’s flu and the rhinovirus (or the common cold), both are a respiratory virus, like the coronavirus. Both cause death in the very young, the elderly and those with other health issues at an astonishing pace.

However, similarity ends there. So why did I describe the flu and a cold the way I did? Well, because everything I said was true. (Look up CDC and WHO numbers.) I promise I didn’t lie. But I wanted to show how media can take the common cold and create a panic!

Now, the poorly referred to coronavirus: I say that because, according to the CDC and WHO, there have been seven coronaviruses identified since 1968. Named so because the virus has jagged points that look like a crown.

This is the third of this type that has become lethal. WHO called it HOVID-19. It was first known as the Wuhan virus after the city it was discovered in. Of course, in a PC world we don’t want to make it sound like we are blaming the unfortunate  city so … .

But it is less deadly than SARS CoV2 or MERS COV, which killed 10 percent and 35 percent, respectively, until medical science developed effective treatments for them. Oh, damn, the cat is out of the bag. They actually can develop treatments for coronavirus types!

SARS, which first appeared in 2002, killed 10 percent of those infected and hasn’t had a verified case since 2004. MERS, which killed 35 percent of those infected 10 years later in 2012, is a bit more persistent. But death rates have dropped with better treatments and a vaccine is in development, with only a 1,000 cases a year diagnosed!

So why are all the media and so many politicians in a utter panic? Ratings,  power grab, money, politics? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

But to calm things down, the Wuhan version of coronavirus shares 80 percent of its genome with SARS, so medical science has a foundation already to work form. The history of these viruses suggest they start strong then deceased or disappear completely within a year. The Wuhan version may be more easily transmitted but it is far less deadly. Natures trade off?

So relax, do exactly what you do to avoid a cold or flu. If you get sick go to the doctor. I suspect by summer the manufactured scare will be over. (By the way), check your cleaning supplies. Many products actually kill the coronavirus types. (Just a helpful hint.)

Patrick Adams of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly accepts letters to the editor from residents, officials, and candidates for local offices. The views of our readers are not necessarily the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, send to editor@wausaupilotandreview.com.