The mental toll of the coronavirus:

(Image courtesy of Beatrice Magnusson)

By Joe Strong and Noorhan Al- ani.

The rise of the coronavirus has generated worldwide panic, causing anxiety among people who fear the virus because of how quickly and easily it has spread.

 Since the outbreak in December, 125 countries have been affected with 4,716 deaths worldwide and 10 deaths here in the UK.

There have been 127,769 cases worldwide so far, fortunately out of these cases 68, 335 people have fully recovered from the virus.

Over the last few weeks stories about the virus have dominated the main stream media.

Despite being deadly, most healthy people tend to recover from the infection within three days. This raises questions about whether the virus is being exaggerated by the media.

Obviously, it is important for us to follow instructions from governing bodies in order to protect ourselves and others. However, letting the outbreak dictate our daily lives may be a bit extreme.

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the National Infection service said in a statement;

“This is a new and rapidly evolving situation where information on cases and the virus is being gathered and assessed daily.”

The coronavirus spreads through physical contact with the virus and those who have it, as well as  through coughing and sneezing.

Bristol based Psychiatrist, Dr Clare Short, said;

 “The very uncertainty that is associated with the outbreak of the virus is what gives people, young people in particular a sense of anxiety. In truth the virus is similar to climate change in that we don’t really know how bad it’s going to get.  It’s important for people to not become isolated from communities during this period.”

She referred to a quote from journalist, Gary Younge, which sums up how we should think during time. “We must protect ourselves during this time of despair. We must maintain a sense of hope.”

Psychologist, Dr James Brennan, who worked for the NHS for 35 years said;

“Worrying is part of a healthy lifestyle. When we are worried we can prepare for stuff. When we are worried about exams we prepare for them and are more likely to do well.  We need to remind ourselves that as far as we know the virus is temporary. To gain a sense of control one must put their feelings into words.”

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