About the Author

Avatar photo

Dr Muriel Newman


Print Friendly and PDF
Posted on

On December 31 last year, the Municipal Health Committee in the city of Wuhan – the capital of the Hubei province in central China – announced a small outbreak of an unknown type of viral pneumonia. It had affected 27 people associated with South China Seafood City, a live-animal market.

Symptoms included a sore throat, fever, and breathing difficulties. Chest x-rays showed the presence of lesions on the lungs. Seven of the patients were reported to be in a serious condition but the remainder were stable.

The patients had been isolated for treatment, and investigations were underway to discover the cause of the infection. No obvious human-to-human transmission was reported. 

China, which had been at the centre of two new viral pneumonia outbreaks in the past – bird flu (H5N1) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) – had been heavily criticised for withholding information for too long. So, when this new outbreak occurred, the World Health Organisation (WHO) was notified

By January 5, the number of patients had increased to 59. Seven were critical. Preliminary investigations had ruled out influenza, bird flu, SARS and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome). While there was still no evidence of human-to-human transmission, 163 close contacts were being followed up for observation.

Two days later it was announced that the virus had been isolated and the genome sequence obtained. It was a new (novel) type of coronavirus (CoV), a family of viruses – named for their  crown-like spikes – that can infect both animals and people, causing a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like SARS and MERS.

Because the new virus could cause severe acute respiratory syndrome it was named SARS-CoV-2. The disease associated with it is now referred to as COVID-19.

Seven coronaviruses are now known to infect humans: the alpha, beta, gamma, and delta strains, SARS, MERS, and COVID-19. While the first four are responsible for influenza-type illnesses, with a fatality rate of 0.1 percent, both SARS and MERS are more deadly.

Since the pneumonia produced by these viruses is not a bacterial infection, antibiotics are ineffective. However, if bacterial infections are also triggered by the disease, then those can be treated with antibiotics.

With no effective antiviral drugs for COVID-19 available, recovery depends on the strength of a person’s immune system.

Initial assessments show that while the effects of the disease can be minor, with some infected people not even aware that they have it, for older people and those in poor health – particularly with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease – the impact can be severe.

According to research carried out by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in mid-February, among those aged 80 and older the death rate was 14.8 percent, compared to 8 percent for those in their seventies, 3.6 percent for those in their sixties, 1.3 percent for those in their fifties, 0.4 percent for those in their forties, and 0.2 percent for those aged 10 to 39. No deaths had been reported among children from birth to age 9.

While the overall death rate in China was 2.3 percent, in the Hubei Province, where the outbreak began, the death rate was 2.9 percent, compared with just 0.4 percent in other provinces — a 7-fold difference.

The spread of the disease has been rapid. According to data provided by the WHO – which is coordinating the global response – at the time of writing, not even 12 weeks after the first case presented itself on December 12, some 87,137 people have been infected in 58 countries, with 2,977 recorded deaths.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Dr Matt Ridley, a science journalist and Member of Britain’s House of Lords, explains that the natural host of the new coronavirus is a bat. He describes how COVID-19 is thought to have spread to humans through a pangolin – an endangered anteater sold at the Wuhan market that had probably been infected by a bat:

“This is not the first disease bats have given us. Rabies possibly originated in bats. So did Ebola, outbreaks of which usually trace back to people coming into contact with bat roosts in caves, trees or buildings… SARS, which originated in China in 2003, is derived from bats, though possibly via civet cats. So is MERS, a similar bat-borne coronavirus that’s killed hundreds of people and camels in the Middle East since 2012.

“Why are bats responsible for so many recent zoonoses (posh Greek for infections acquired from other animal species)? First, bats are mammals, which means they are sufficiently closely related to us for some of their viruses to thrive in our bodies. A virus that lives in a fish or a bird is less likely to be able to infect a human being, influenza being a rare exception, caught from ducks via pigs.

“Second, bats have never been domesticated. On the whole we have already caught the diseases of cows and pigs and dogs. Measles, smallpox, anthrax and tuberculosis were all gifts from our farmed animals.

“Third, unlike most other mammals, bats live in huge flocks — just as we do. They therefore host viruses that spread by casual contact.

“But why now? That is easy to answer too. It’s not because of climate change or the destruction of forests. Bats have lived in belfries, as well as dead trees, for centuries. It’s because we now live at such high densities and travel so much… we are a tempting target. The chances are that plenty of people died of bat-borne infections in the past too, but the epidemic usually petered out because villages were small and long-distance travel was rare.”

Coronaviruses are believed to have evolved from animals to humans to maximise their spread. Most make people sick but will not kill them. This is in contrast to SARS, which has a fatality rate of almost 10 percent and infected more than 8,000 people before being brought under control, and MERS, which has a fatality rate of almost 35 percent but is not so contagious infecting only 2,500 people.

It’s the fact that COVID-19 infects the upper respiratory tract that makes it so easily spread. That’s why health agencies are focussed on containment.

Essentially the advice for keeping yourself safe is common sense.

Because the virus spreads by direct contact, it’s important to maintain a social distance of at least a metre from anyone coughing or sneezing to protect yourself from the small droplets they spray that may contain the virus. Since infected droplets can land on surfaces that may infect your hands, it’s important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the virus entering your body and making you sick.

That’s why the main recommendation is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub, to kill any viruses that may be on your skin.

Anyone who has a cold is advised to cover their mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If they develop a fever or breathing difficulties, they are advised to stay at home and call their doctor or the Ministry of Health Help Line on 0800-358-5453.

While anyone who is sick should consider wearing a facemask to help prevent the spread of their infection, the advice for healthy people is that they only need to wear a mask if they are taking care of a person with a suspected infection.

Those who are vulnerable, such as the elderly or anyone with existing respiratory or immune problems, are advised to protect themselves as much as they can by getting the latest flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

For most people who become infected, the illness will be mild, and they will recover. The incubation period has been found to be between two and 10 days before symptoms start to appear, with an average of five days. That’s why anyone concerned they might have caught the disease is advised to self-isolate for 14 days. If flu-like symptoms start to appear – a fever greater than 38°C along with a shortness of breath, cough or sore throat – they should call the Help Line.

According to the WHO website, lots of false claims are being made about preventing and treating COVID-19, so it’s worthwhile outlining some sensible advice for anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms. 

Firstly, stay home and get plenty of rest, so your body can better battle the infection. If it is more serious, a fever may occur as your body turns up the heat to fight the virus. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your respiratory system hydrated. That way, any mucus that forms will be thin enough to be coughed up – reducing the chances of it infecting the lungs. Sitting in a steamy bathroom or running a humidifier can ease congestion and coughs. Expectorants to help break up mucus and saltwater nasal sprays are effective too.

The global community has responded to this virus threat with unprecedented speed. Clinical trials have already commenced to test existing antiviral drugs, and work on developing a vaccine is now well underway.

Making vaccines is said to be as much an art as a science. It involves finding a viral sequence that will reliably trigger a protective immune-system response, but not acute symptoms. This requires testing in labs and eventually in people. While it took 20 months from obtaining the gene sequence of the SARS virus to clinical trials of a vaccine, scientists are hoping to do the same for COVID-19 in just weeks.

The outbreak has been declared by the WHO as a public health emergency of international concern. While the infection rate is high, fortunately the fatality rate appears to be relatively low.

In comparison, the H5N1 bird flu kills over 50 percent of those it infects. While it spreads rapidly in birds, so far it doesn’t in humans as there are only 455 recorded deaths.

But the WHO has warned, “If the H5N1 virus were to change and become easily transmissible from person to person while retaining its capacity to cause severe disease, the consequences for public health could be very serious.”

Last month, China’s Ministry of Agriculture reported there had been an outbreak of H5N1 in the Hunan province, which borders Hubei where COVID-19 originated. Over half of a farm’s 8,000 chickens had died from the disease. Authorities had culled 20,000 poultry to try to contain the outbreak.

While there were no reports of human contagion, it’s important to remember that viruses are constantly changing, and major concerns remain about the potential for the deadly H5N1 to adapt. With annual deaths from the ordinary flu estimated to be as high as 646,000 globally, it’s not hard to imagine the devastation such a virus mutation could cause.

Since the cost of developing a new vaccine is said to be in the vicinity of $1 billion, maybe it’s time for a greater global effort to protect humans from the threat of deadly viruses. Perhaps some of the estimated $1 trillion-plus that is currently being spent globally on trying to prevent natural climate change could be redirected to a cause that could potentially save humanity from a real threat.

With many people infected by COVID-19 showing no symptoms at all, and new reports emerging that community transmission is occurring in some countries as people fall ill with no known source of infection, shouldn’t we be asking whether it’s realistic to be trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 through the imposition of travel bans and other restrictions – as if the disease is as deadly as, say, H5N1? Or should we be regarding it as another influenza strain that we have to learn to manage and live with?

The evidence is definitely pointing to the latter.


*Do you think there is now too much hysteria around the COVID-19 outbreak?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.


Click to view x 120


I think we have to be conscious of our personal hygiene, but feels like the media have gone a bit over the top with it. Maddi
It seems there is too much by some members of the general public but not enough by some public health organisations Terry
Why don’t those in charge just state in summary and in simple terms how coronavirus is caused, how it is caught, and how it is treated ? Instead we get all this media hype !! Andrew
Would like to see more evidence on either option Jim
Yes – but this is merely part of the overall plan and purpose. Scott
I everyone claimed down and stoped hoarding there would be enough supplies for everyone. Vanesa
As long as we don’t take risks with hygienic practices and avoid crowds, we should all be OK. Mike
Far to much hype for something that was deliberately released on the world!! David
There is no prevention against death so the more knowledge we have the better it is to remain alive. Warren
Common sense dictates we should be cautious and practice safe hygiene standards. Unfortunately common sense is not common any more! Robert
The world has gone mad! Greg
It’s all raising awareness. John
We have to be really vigilant now it has gone person to person. We need to be kept informed as to the places and circumstances it has surfaced Bev
In Australia last year there were 217,000 people infected by the FLU of which 430 died! There is only one thing worse that a socialist system trying to fix things and that is an international socialist body with hooks into countries and a fear of risk! This is just another new FLU – but the WHO will take economies down of those countries silly enough to follow it. Still maybe the penny will drop! The National Party will be hoping it won’t! Frederick
No worries— we have our very own fairy tale princess with a magic wand and she will make all these nasty bugs go away. Michael
Yes, thanks to the left-leaning media, esp. American. Sick of hearing about it, also the Democratic Presidential candidate. Always wash my hands anyway. Monica
The media are certainly not helping with extensive coverage of the world wide spread of this disease and how it may or may not affect those of us living in New Zealand. At least it has taken so called climate change off the agenda at the moment. Colin
The flu has killed more people and will continue to do so and yet you don’t see panic buying as has been seen since the covid-19 outbreak, people are bloody stupid and should get on with there life. Richard
they do not tell us about the people who have got over virus Barry
Influenza kills more than 600,000 people EVERY year. Every DAY there are 28,283 deaths from cancer, 24,641 deaths from heart disease, 4,300 deaths from Diabetes, over 2,000 deaths from suicide, and 2,740 deaths from mosquitoes. Pus it in perspective somewhat !! Doug
We need to be mindful/aware but not panic Bryan
The media sell news. Hype keeps people interested. It appears it is not much more serious than a bad case of flu. It will come anyway, just be prepared and accept it. Graeme
It is a bit early to be sure whether the hype is warranted or not. Probably not when we see the picture after the dust settles, David
It is normal to advise people how to take care of themselves and their immediate family but the whole thing has turned into a scaremongering circus. Diana
It’s a useful distraction for what is going on in our COL Govt, at present. What ever happened to pure and simple hygiene, such as washing your hands, cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and not spitting on footpaths and the ground in general. Common sense seems to be in short supply. Merryl
definitely clark
it always is when something like this arises. Brian
“Hysteria” is the wrong word here. There is certainly misinformation and the news media must take some of the blame for this. Peter
I’m 88 so I’m cautious John
The outbreak is a fact and like so many facts we have to deal to it but all the news is not helping us to do that. Common sense is what everyone needs for any illness. Look to the positive and keep you and your family abreast of it by using hygiene all the time, they are working on a vaccine so time is of the essence. Barbara 
How many times can these WHO clowns ‘cry wolf’ ??? Steve
I put the blame on to the hysterical outbursts and headlines of the MSM. The flu kills hundreds of thousands of people annually and nothing is said about that. In time this will settle down and life will go on. People are born and people will die of various causes, that is the circle of life and this is just another bug that will cause some deaths. Also a good number of those who have died have been either elderly and weak or had other health problems and this virus was the final straw. Allan
caution is needed around this kind of out break and it is a good test of our medical institutions Steven
Just another scare mongering to keep the masses focused on the trivia of life Bill
The unnecessary hysteria is shutting down the world economy, which is worse than the effect of the virus! Jan
We need to stay very very aware of the potential risk of dismissing it as just a case of another flu. Richard
The Media ramping up about this Virus with very emotive language in order to either get People to watch T V news or buy Newspapers. There should be a more balanced approach.. they do the same thing about Climate Change !! Geoff
$500,000 people worldwide die every year from ordinary flu. It would seem to be an overreaction the same as bird flu was. (I believe our Government of the time spent $100,000,000 on Tamiflu to protect from an event that never took place here !!!! — maybe the same again or similar) Alan
And foolish, as Covid19 will come to NZ and be an annual problem for the elderly and ill as is influenza [and most other infections in this age group] Rochelle
I certainly think that more effective travel bans should be implemented and the thought of people “self isolating” may have worked in days gone by, but not with the younger generation. Ted
Too soon to have an opinion Peter
Once the news media get on to these things they tend to quickly be turned into ” the world is ending” which is specifically due to their need to have news to report so they develop a her mentality and it sucks in easy targets. and so the effect builds. I’ll just wait and see. Mike
It is the media that whips up hysteria. They should be prevented from this sort of lying that is so damaging. Derek
Social media has become the new disease. Talk about disseminating false information. Of course one of the biggest problems is vulnerable people believing what they hear or read. Common sense is needed. Fraser
This virus is been totally over hyped and our government have created a problem by sending some people into panic mode. So less tv time spent and more on the positive side of life. ken
Absolutely. Muriel’s article was clear and spot on. The panic for masks and some of the ads for them is over the top(as were the prices). You cannot stop a virus with a mask, but if you are infected you can mitigate the spread – that’s all. Hand wash – hand wash-hand wash, until it becomes automatic. At meetings after hand shakes -wash. After the supermarket – hand wash. Viruses have a finite life, but wash wash wash. Even wipe your steering wheel if you want to feel a bit paranoid . Won’t do any harm ! Dick
Some of the reporting is over the top, however in saying that, the message is out there and has comprehensively been covered. A percentage of New Zealanders have gone stupid and began panic buying which normally happens to things new. Why not just keep calm and carry on. Dennis
It is unbelievable how hyped the issue is. Seeing as it appears it was originally developed as a biological weapon that was leaked or accidentally escaped the lab, the Chinese have panicked and so the media have obliged and carried on the hype. People are dumb David
The economic side effects are getting worse John
Perhaps some of the estimated $1 trillion-plus that is currently being spent globally on trying to prevent natural climate change could be redirected to a cause that could potentially save humanity from a real threat. Allan
As always the media exaggerates John
So much depends on government intervention. A neighbour of a friend of mine came back from trip to Israel. Stop off in South Korea, disembark, plane cleaned, depart for Tel Aviv. Entry refused. Plane returned to South Korea, disembark, plane cleaned, return to Auckland. Everyone returned to NZ with no controls at all at the airport. Now we shall see if there are further infections from that trip. Deborah
The hysteria is ridiculous and the futile efforts to contain it must be politically motivated to have any credence at all. A ‘normal’ flu has a comparable fatality rate of the compromised. mark
People still need to be sensible and do good hygiene particular when in a public place or transport.WE should be more strict at airports and overseas terminals Barry
However, I think travel bans are a sensible precaution and I am beginning to think that it’s time there was some constraint on air travel anyway. I think the time has come when travellers need to have a good reason for their travel. it is such a frivolous use of resource. How many of the people puzzling about how they can afford a house, have spent a large fortune tripping around the world and then wonder why they arrive at 25 and are totally broke. Travel doesn’t necessarily broaden the mind. Nothing improves the mind if it is not a very useful mind in the first place. 🙂 Dianna
Why is Jacinda not photographed hugging COVID19 victims like she hugs all the others? Discrimination? Yup Mark
The media love to play up issues like this. Michael
Way too much. The media has found something to fill most news broadcasts. Roger
For some people and some parts of the world yes. Andrew
The media has applified the issue enormously as it attempts to scare the bejesus out of everyone. Strangely this strategy has not worked for climate change… Richard
This is to scare people, and to get people buying into vaxes, which will become mandatory as part of agenda 21/50 David
I do not think that we should sit back and say” well it is here now” so just live with it We have to take every step to ensure that it is contained, regardless Tom
Hysteria is a strong word. I would there is anxiety about and rightly so. China has to stop these ghastly markets where wild animals are mixed with domestic creatures. Surely, after this outbreak such events will be banned. Barbara
Typical of humans. John
This virus does not appear to represent as much of a threat to humanity as the worldwide outbreak of stupidity that we see symptoms of on the TV every day. It is very possible to die of stupidity and we are well on the way to a global pandemic! TOBY
fear and hysteria from the fake news, same old MO……whats this, about number 7 virus that’s going to get us!!!!! Wayne
Most flu viruses are much more virulent Bruce
The Media delight in providing material for everyone to worry about. Our society now lives in fear of many things. No wonder young people are insecure and prone to self harm. The ‘old’ flue kills many more than we realise. Maurice
It is possible to keep ourselves safe without stocking up on stuff, as long as we keep out people from infected countries. Kerry
Its very hard to sort the reality from the noise. This leads to panic and excessive behaviours. We need more effort from authorities to relay reality. Stewart
There is NO need to panic. It is just a strong strain of the Flu virus. It will pass. Graham
The panic at the supermarket last Saturday just shows how stupid the population can be. Did they really think the Waikato River was about to dry up or that farmers wouldn’t be milking their cows? Peter
I think we should take responsibility 4 ourselves, I also think the head of WHO is in china,s pocket he said Praises to china 4 their response,He,s NOT worth listening to as it was china who caused this virus & they LIED about how serious it was but a head of WHO 2 praise them shows he,s not 2 be trusted,countries ignored him & looked after their people when he said it was,nt needed ONLY jacinda listened to him & NO TESTING at our airports have let this virus into NZ & EVERY OTHER COUNTRY but NZ its compolsuary to isolate except NZ its voluntary-jacinda is NOT TELLING NZealanders the truth about caring or she,d take note of what other countries have done & STOP LIARING & PROPERLY LOOK AFTER NZ & this voluntree isolating STOPPED.At the moment wash your hands a lot,at supermarkets wear gloves.Wash them when you come home. Cindy
I do think it is another sort of influenza, and the media of course are hyping it up but we do have to do what we can do to control it by washing our hands, masks (if they help) and self isolating if we have it. The elderly and the people with low a immune system are at risk. We should all have a flue jab, I do every year. Kerin
At the same time -NZ Government is bludgeoning the legal right to terminate a child in the womb. Were panicking over a virus? Tony
I’m hoping that there is an exaggeration as more people die from the flu but the scary thing is that it spreads from people who display no symptoms Rayward
Unfortunately the media since 1970 have bombarded us with a coming ice age, global warming, Y2K, climate change , SARS and now Covid-19. We are becoming immune. Lee
a media beat up causing unnecessary panic amongst the public . Peter
The hysteria is about climate change – a natural phenomenon – not man made. So called climate science is NOT science Doug
Yes the news media is having a ball hyping it up and scaring hell out of all those JAFAs john
With humans insatiable desire to over-populate some areas of the planet, then a natural ‘die-back’ is part of evolution. Maybe viruses will do this for us? Ced
Whenever social media gets involved subjects get blown out of all proportion unfortunately. David
if not kept in check it will be a universal, uncontrollable disease which will and can be fatal to millions of people worldwide. IAN
Another media frenzy. Kris
The CEO of WHO is a well known supporter of the Chinese regime and when the chinese played down the seriousness of the outbreak he followed suite. Knowing that Ardern is also a WHO sycophant, my decision to stock up on essentials was based on a lack of faith in Ardern to do the right thing for the country. Better to play safe than rely on the word and inaction of a sycophant. Rex
Hysteria Yes, far too much. Common sense measures not enough. Incoming passengers needed temperature test as well as advice sheets on what to do if any symptoms developed. May have caused serious delays but would have underlined the matter was serious but being well taken care of. Bruce Bruce
China’s response to the Hong Kong democratic riots….just another germ-warfare strategy to control Humanity. ChrisH
Governments love “emergencies” Derrick
And Jacinda nodding her head with sincereity and trying to convey confidence and sincereity in process with her bullshit toothy smile is less than effective management of this global health crisis. Anon
The more information the better. I do object to false cures and information and these persons should be prosecuted. Carl
Viewed purely dispassionately, the planet’s biggest problem fundamentally, is human over population. Given that COVID-19 has higher mortality rate proportionally with age, it could be seen as a blessing. I include myself [potentially] in that bracket. Geoff
I don’t know how bad this is going to get but hysterical headlines from the media will not help anything, other than to sell more newspapers. Roy
Better that we are all exposed. Fred
It seems to be beyond containment and not a lot worse than many other current viruses. Kirke
This will not be the end of humanity, most people will just get the sniffles and have a couple of weeks of work ! john
no comment David
Once again the news media need a good story and in the meantime as the Australia fires are now out this provides them with just that. Murray
Yes, Just another strain of influenza (not a cold) where the usual hygienic precautions should be taken while strengthening one’s immune system. Don
The media are certainly having a field day. Masks are but one precaution, but covering one’s eyes is also important as the virus can be quickly carried into the body via the tearducts Laurence
Not sure at this stage. Kevin
yes I do, it is a pity the same hysteria does not arise over the other pandemic which has been on the rise in nz since 1840??? james
You are begging the question: it is by no means certain that there is ‘hysteria’ around this virus outbreak., rather than sensible caution. It is far too early to make this judgement. In the meantime, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Graham
All media hype. fatality rate very low. Just another “flu” nick
Flu kills more people all in the same age spectrum John
One needs to keep it in perspective. Sandra
We have to be careful Jimmy
Of course there is to much hysteria around this flue news media have a field day the UN keep it fuelled and us pawns are just to be used to keep the pot boiling Russell
I believe this is very serious Peter
The thousands that succumb to flu annually is in the thousands and in NZ the number of COVID-19 cases is very low. sheryl
The media have sensationalised this event without trying at any point to provide a balanced view that might diffuse the panic that has caused supermarket shelves being cleared of stock … ridiculous! Nev
Nothing media likes more than a good doom and gloom story, this one is almost as good as global warming. John
Especially the NZ Herald headline on Saturday which was utterly irresponsible journalism. lorne
The panic stripping of supermarket shelves was pathetic, and unnecessary… Don
Caused by News media over reaction as usual David
With so many varied opinions it’s hard to know what to believe. Chris
Hysteria because of the lack of information or action by our NZ government is of more concern. Penina
All part of the One world govt’s agenda 21 population control. Wait until they bring out a “vaccine” and then the media will go into overdrive. After all, they’ll want part of that 35 billion dollar enterprise, as always, no matter what the contents are….no matter how bad the side effects… Harriet
Yes there is a great deal of hype But lets get the truth out there Frank
the 1% are going to make trillions by buying panic sold stocks and shares. chris
Systems normal . If in doubt, PANIC> Terry
Too early to be sure Robert
China’s way of Sabre rattling to show their power Greg
Just Mother Nature attempt ion to rid the planet of its most devastating plague. Too many humans Geoff.
People should be made aware of how deadly this disease can be, and also how to help prevent the spread of it. Far too many of us are quite laid back about such things, then we are shocked when it does actually effect us. The consequences to our food supply, our tourism and many other day to day things we take for granted, could be catastrophic if we do not get on top of this thing. Kevin
Concerned about the over 60s. Diane
The Caronavirus has an R0 at least of 3 which will stress out our hospitals if we don’t control it. China doesn’t threaten its economy for no reason Colin
Because we cannot trust the media after the last few years of being totally politicised Graeme
There are greater concern in nZ than COVID 19. the biggest illness is an out of control government infecting the lives of every Kiwi michael
I think that fear is an agenda being pushed by the media with a purpose that is tied to the UN NWO Elizabeth
I want to be prepared for self isolation so I plan to stock up on some essential items, but I’m not panicking. If I miss out on the toilet paper, I’ll use newspaper or corn cobs, ha ha. Gotta keep a sense of humour in the face of dilemma. I don’t really know what other people are doing. Joyce
Its an eye opener to the volatility of how air travel can move viruses. Like Civil Defence it has exposed most Nations poor preventative measures. Hone
This one spreads like nothing seen before! Gail
One cannot help but feel the tail of Pharma Cartel is wagging the dog of mainstream media DJ
It’s mainstream media driven and their goal is to fear for our lives James
The death rate is very low! Compare it to the bubonic plague or Spanish flu. Hysteria sells the media, and gets the hit counts up on news websites that generate revenue by showing you things you ‘should’ buy, and getting your thinking manipulated into conformity. Why
A severe indictment on our “human race”!!! Bruza
Anyone that thinks covid 19 came from Bats or ebola came from monkeys has more than bats in their belfry. Investigation has revealed that this strain (which is a modern adaptation of a long list of bio-warfare strains), has no less than four gene splice insertions, which do not occur naturally in nature. The bats theory is just bats, this is a product of biological weaponization. Only a few nations have the resources, the budget and the deep lack of conscience to carry out such morally repugnant science. No mention here of the huge list of patents made in respect of this type of product, no doubt because it directly links to any vaccine or antidote which would see global manufacture and windfall profits on the back of fear. As such and given the exponential growth in transmission, we have a responsibility especially to the vulnerable children, youths and elderly. to use all measures of hygiene and practice to minimize the risk of increasing infection. While the idiocy of this thick administration and kowtowing to asian trade interests has seen the horse well bolted regards isolation protection, we still need to ensure extra vigilance at the personal level to ensure the safety of our families. Richard
with no true reliable data out of China and the “coalition of losers” dithering and being “wishy washy”about finding people who have crossed our borders with possible contact of it, we have a right to feel uneasy Tom
Ive been following 2x a day for 3 weeks, 76 countries now have it, Iran has 60 deaths, China only admits to 3000 deaths, id ad 2 noughts to that from new that has come from the public inside China. Sth Korea 3750, 21 deaths, Most countries have a 2% death rate, 80% for those over 70 George
Its global hysteria and is affecting travel businesses, tourism, livelihoods, investments, sharemarkets and so it goes on. Angela
It is very easy for the average person to get very worried about these things with the Media Hype but we do need to know about them as well and their potential for harm. It is a fine line between too much information and not enough and the type of that information/. Laurel
Concern is OK and appropriate and sensible, hysteria (fostered by online media and others) is not. Graeme
Total fear mongering Peter
It looks like it is going to spread here anyway, so perhaps the restrictions should be relaxed so that can happen before the winter when people are more vulnerable to infections.   Evelyn
All of these travel bans are over the top. Common sense should prevail. Everyone should remain careful, but there’s no use in keeping on with extreme measures when the disease looks like it is here to stay.  Graham
I think the reaction to date by everyone has been good, but now that the virus is emerging without known sources of infection, it is time to approach it in the same way as the flu.   Paul
There’s definitely too much hysteria. Its not the plague.  Robert
This virus cannot be stopped. The government should accept that and let life get back to normal. Simon