The psychological effects of the Coronavirus arrived in Malta before the virus itself
The Coronavirus has long been with us … in our minds. This virus has created such a sensation around the world (even in Malta) thanks to the media that we have blown it out of proportion.
At the moment there is a very fine line between hysterics, exaggerated worry and science. There is also another fine line between the ‘science’ as reported on Facebook and the actual science put forward by the authorities. In the international sphere there is great effort, organised and coordinated, to create a vaccine against this virus and a cure.
People are worrying too much. Some are asking whether this is a killer disease, whether one should wear a mask and whether one should go out at all. Others are worried that nothing is being done in Malta to fight this virus.
Doctors and other health specialists are being bombarded with questions. This shows that people are interested in learning more about the Coronavirus. There can never be too much public education and the quest for knowledge should be ongoing. Psychiatrist Mark Xuereb, who was recently interviewed on a television programme, said that “if we are extremely stressed out our immune system will not cope with this issue.”
We need to use our common sense. Let us act according to science and not the ‘science’ that is propagated on social media or exaggerated. Naturally, we need to be cautious and take the necessary precautions. One asks: is this piling up of supermarket trolleys with foodstuffs and provisions and buying masks and sanitisers in bulk helping the issue? I think that the answer is absolutely not.
It is important that we all prepare ourselves psychologically because at the end of the day the Coronavirus is a crisis. But this crisis can also be an opportunity – to take constructive decisions that are not obstructive so that if the virus does arrive in Malta we are ready for it physically, structurally and psychologically.
Over the top worry and stress bring about worse consequences than the virus and it would be wise to educate ourselves and act according to the advice given by the Health authorities. Above all, let us pay attention, prepare for the crisis and not go overboard.