But remember to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds and take sensible precautions.

Written by Daniel L. Kirsch, Ph.D., DAAPM, FAIS, President of The American Institute of Stress


People are overreacting. I fear that more people will die from stress than our nouveau virus. I do not mean to diminish the threat or lives lost to it, or suggest we just ignore it, but we actually go through this about every 2 years, as evidenced by the following table:

Global Epidemics Virus Outbreaks

2004 – SARS                                                                           

2008 – Avian Flu

2010 – Swine Flu

2012 – MERS

2014 – Ebola

2016 – Zika Virus

2018 – Ebola

2020 – Corona (Covid 19)

As of Friday the 13th, There were 137,000 total confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide resulting in 3,300 deaths and 64,400 recoveries.

Let us compare this to the Usual and Customary influenza. This year in the USA alone, there were 34,000,000 – 49,000,000 cases, resulting in 20,000 – 52,000 deaths.

Our dependence on sensationalist media for information combined with the new national pastime of blaming politicians for everything has created a self-inflicted hysteria. With at least 20,000 deaths from the influenza virus, why haven’t we passed emergency funding to help pay for flu test kits and research? Congress passed a Covid-19 $8.5 billion package just this week. Why have we (along with many other countries) not shut down commerce, travel and public gatherings for influenza-like we have with Covid-19?  Well, maybe because we have just become complacent with the flu, year after year. Maybe because the media needs a good crisis to keep you engaged in this new electronic free flow information world.

Dr. Erik Pepper reminds us that personal and government responses to health risks are not always rational. He wrote an excellent blog on keeping this in perspective.

My wife had the flu this year. She was pretty sick for almost 2 weeks from it. I am a senior citizen who is not particularly healthy at this stage of my life, having just recently recovered from gastroparesis, a severe disease considered incurable. (fun fact: osteopathic manipulative therapy cured me after 19 drugs failed to even manage the symptoms leaving me suffering on Fentanyl for over 2 years). And I sleep with my wife and continued to do so throughout her illness. I just assumed I was already incubating it. I figured I would be down for a while, suffer some, and then most likely recover. But I didn’t get the flu. I took Vitamin C and avoided kissing the patient I was nursing on her mouth but she breathed inches from my mouth all night.

I worry that people’s elevated stress levels will do them more harm than the potential of getting the Coronavirus. People who try too hard to avoid being sick miss out on the challenges and joys of everyday life. Use sensible precautions and carry on. There is nothing that exacerbates pain, anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping more than stress. This is the perfect time to learn how to manage your stress. There are a number of great stress management tips, including many free resources at our website: https://www.stress.org/

Please also consider a donation to help us continue our mission to make the world a happier, less stressed out place.