Coronavirus: don’t panic, be prepared

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is making news all over the world. But what should you do about it (other than keeping those hands washed)? If the worst happens (but I don’t think it will (but I’m no expert)), prepare but don’t panic.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews got something of an education on the outrage culture of the Left. Did he learn anything from it?

Mentioned links:

Virus pushes beyond Asia, taking aim at Europe, Mideast

Chris Matthews faces calls for resignation after comparing Sanders victory to Nazi invasion

Chris Matthews Begs Bernie for Forgiveness; No Apologies for Despicable Trump Family Remarks

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Show transcript

It’s closing down popular venues, cities, and maybe even countries. It’s caused an explosion of sales of medical masks and had a major impact on the world economy. I speak, of course, of the Coronavirus. While it got its start in China, and where the vast majority of cases and deaths have occurred, new cases have been occurring in countries at an alarming rate. And no matter what statistics I write up this episode, they will be completely out of date by the time the episode hits your podcast player.

Listener Nancy, who is also a college friend of mine, messaged me about this. She was wondering if this topic would be a good one for the show without it sounding like I’m walking around with a sign that said, “The End is Nigh”. At the same time, she sees these videos about people being let off cruise ships in Tokyo that had been quarantined but some folks might still carry the virus. Or the one about quarantines at the US Miramar Air Force Base in California where people can go outside and get some fresh air or play soccer upwind of civilians. And there’s the question of whether China is giving us the whole story on the numbers, or even if a country like Iran would be upfront as well.

This isn’t really a conservative issue, and not even a political issue, although I wonder how governments of any country would handle it in order to not be seen as losing control and losing face. I have more faith in our government, no matter which party was in charge. But as fast and as far as this outbreak has been moving, what can you do? Well, here’s a little public service segment for you.

A few years ago, my family and I took some advice and bought a bunch of those dehydrated meals and stashed them in the basement. The advice is that you should have at least 3 days’ worth of food in case of some disaster, with the idea that within that time governments – whether national, state, or local – will have at least restored basic functioning to either get services back up, or let you know when they will be. Maybe that’s doomsday-ish, but it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and do some Googling for these kinds of survival meals. They claim that they last for around 25 years, and if nothing happens, hey, you’ve got some cheap and easy camping food! And you may want to buy more than just for your household, in case there are others who didn’t prepare.

Do I think it’ll come to that for the coronavirus? Not that I’m any sort of expert, but right now I’d say, “Not really”. The number of new cases in China seems to be slowing, and a tweet I saw from a journalist said that the virologists he’s been talking to figure that while the virus will spread to most countries, those that do get it will have a few symptoms before it passes. The same categories of people need to be careful about the coronavirus – the very young, the very old, and the sick – as with the seasonal flu. So consider this, too.

There are other things you could do to be generally prepared, but food is certainly very high on any list you might make. In the meantime, wash your hands, don’t panic and just keep one eye on the news.


On the night of the Nevada caucuses, it looked like Bernie Sanders was running away with it, which he was. Over on MSNBC, Brian Williams threw it over to Chris Matthews for his analysis of what was going on. Matthews said that Bernie had done well that night, and basically at that point of the night the race was over in Nevada. To give it a little rhetorical flourish, he made a historical reference that he thought Williams would appreciate. Hey, it’s over.

[Matthews “It’s over” audio]

So what’s he saying? Well, he’s using a famous phone call from World War II to suggest that indeed it’s over, regardless of how unlikely that may sound. No big deal.

Ah, but of course someone did make a big deal out of it. Those who did connected the dots from Churchill in England getting a call in 1940 from Renault talking about France about to fall to the Germans who were commanded by (here it is) Hitler! No overt Nazi references at all in Matthews’ reference, but the big guns on Twitter, those with a blue checkmark meaning their identity has been verified, called for him to be fired because Sanders is Jewish. I think that’s totally unfair, as if any reference to the early 1940s is not allowed anywhere within 30 yards of a Jewish person.

To Chris Matthews, I can only say, “Welcome to our world.”  Republicans are routinely called Nazis – be they Gentile or Jew – typically with the same faulty reasoning as your situation. Wear it as a badge of honor.

Well, never mind. A few days later, he started his show with this.

[Matthews “I’m sorry” audio]

No word if he is planning on apologizing for more explicit comparisons of Trump to Nazis by him and many of his Democrat friends.

Filed under: Coronavirus (COVID-19)MedicinePartisanship