Hannah Rosenthal: Hysteria won't curtail virus

Hannah Rosenthal: Hysteria won't curtail virus

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I am a Wisconsin native living and working abroad in Switzerland, which like the United States is facing the Coronavirus outbreak.

During the past three weeks there has been rapid escalation of prevention measures, starting first with companies restricting travel and asking employees to work from home, followed by the government cancelling large events and school, limiting restaurant capacities, and closing the borders. These measures are not unlike those in the U.S.

Most remarkable is the irrational hysteria blanketing social media. The news media is not overstating the severity of the outbreak.

Italy recently reported 368 new deaths, and my own county in Switzerland reported 700 new cases – this is serious.

The government is not infringing on our rights by closing businesses and asking everyone to stay home; they are trying to limit the spread of the virus in order to manage an overwhelmed health-care system. People are not sicker in Europe due to socialized medicine. Switzerland’s health-care system is akin to the U.S. system, and there is still a significant outbreak.

Everyone must take a moment to reflect on the fact that this virus cares not of your personal or professional obligations or political affiliation.

We must take this seriously, but with a measured and common-sense approach. Now is the time for facts to prevail over social media hysteria. Follow the instructions of health-care professionals and the local government. We can and will get through this, but we must do it together with level heads.

Hannah Rosenthal, Onalaska

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