The current Panic has nothing to do with illness or epidemics. All flu-watch indicators just show baseline data. Neither in China nor in Italy nor elsewhere extraordinary cases of severe illness are registered. China threatened its people and the world just for two months in Wuhan and staged how to detect, hype and fight an epidemic. European states follow that theatre and are isolating each other. In Europe the economy is breaking down and human rights are forgotten, while China has just stopped those useless tests and declares the crisis from now on as a foreign problem.
Europe is paralyzed by panic and China is smiling.
We have experienced similar alarmist actions by virologists in the last two decades. WHO’s “swine flu pandemic” was in fact one of the mildest flu waves in history and it is not only migratory birds that are still waiting for “birds flu”. Many institutions that are now again alerting us to the need for caution have let us down and failed us on several occasions. Far too often, they are institutionally corrupted by secondary interests from business and/or politics.
If we do not want to chase frivolous panic messages, but rather to responsibly assess the risk of a spreading infection, we must use solid epidemiological methodology. This includes looking at the “normal”, the baseline, before you can speak of anything exceptional. Until now, hardly anyone has paid attention to corona viruses. For example, in the annual reports of the Robert-Koch-Institute (RKI) they are only marginally mentioned because there was SARS in China in 2002 and because since 2012 some transmissions from dromedaries to humans have been observed in Arabia (MERS). There is nothing about a regularly recurring presence of corona viruses in dogs, cats, pigs, mice, bats and in humans, even in Germany.
However, children’s hospitals are usually well aware, that a considerable proportion of the often severe viral pneumonia is also regularly caused or accompanied by corona viruses worldwide.