There are a lot of concerns about this new virus. And many are valid. It is “new”. It spreads fairly easily. Humanity does not have an immunity to it. And at the moment (3/10/2020) there is no vaccine. Scary stuff.
The good news comes from South Korea. They are doing extensive testing of the population, finding everyone who has the virus. If this is correct or close to correct, the mortality rates drops significantly. Worse than the average flu, about the same as recent “bad flu”, but nothing like the medieval “Black Death” in any of its forms.
With extensive testing, South Korea seems to be finding all of the cases. If the data is correct, the fatality rate is ~0.69%. The Flu in the US, by comparison, last year had a fatality rate of only around 0.1%. So, yes, Coronavirus is worse than the flu. The 10 year average for flu is around ~0.2%. Which means some years are worse and some are better.
I tried to find a WHO report on Korea, but the latest Korea specific report is a month old. These three up to date articles match on the basic data.
Don’t panic. Don’t willy nilly buy lots of items, especially things you do not use on a regular basis. If you need hand sanitizer, buy only what you need so others can buy some.
Wash your hands! I think most people in the USA have been very lax about basic hygiene. This needs to change. Wash your hands often, especially after risky behavior (Hand shaking, visiting the toilet, touching your face, touching stair rails, door knobs, etc.). https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Hand_Hygiene_Why_How_and_When_Brochure.pdf
We need to reduce “nice” but risky behaviors. Hand shaking, cheek kissing, casual hugging, etc. Wave hello instead. Many of my friends are Spanish and French and they are having a hard time not cheek kissing. We need to make sure we “cover our cough”. We need to stop touching our faces, eyes, mouths. And when we absently do these things, we need to wash out hands. Again!
Listen objectively to verified news. If someone is passing around “information” on social media, and it doesn’t link back to a source, the information may be suspect. Don’t forward or share it. And when it does link to a source, verify that it is a source you trust. You can even use a search engine to verify, before you forward. This is a serious time, but we should not make it worse with potential misinformation or exaggerations.
I’ll update this page as more information in known.