We humans reason by anecdote rather than by understanding large datasets. Stories terrify us, statistics are mostly incomprehensible. The media adores sensation because it grabs eyeballs and thus boosts ad revenues. All this creates hysteria.

But let’s think about relative risk. Every day, around 4,000 people die in road traffic accidents (actually probably more, because many countries vastly under-report road deaths). Every day, around 12,000 people die of obesity-related diseases. So far the daily death rate for the corona virus is…. under 10.

In other words, the average person’s likelihood of dying from the corona virus, even if it spreads widely, is negligible compared to other daily risk factors. Furthermore, if we really want to avoid dying there are simple steps we can take: don’t eat McSlop but instead eat healthy foods than support the immune system. Exercise, to support the immune system. Wash hands and don’t touch the face. All these things will be infinitely more efficacious than running around like a headless chicken while wearing a face mask.

Only the very old and those with compromised immune systems should be considering additional measures. The rest of us should simply stop being led by the nose by a media-driven campaign of hysteria.

But maybe it’s easier just to panic, because that’s what the media tells us to do. And the media is always right. After all, someone’s got to keep paying for Rupert Murdoch’s super-yacht and Gulfstream jet and unless we’re all staring helplessly at his newspapers and his TV programs, the ad revenue won’t keep rising….

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.