Dr. Hopland urges common sense over panic

Published 8:50 am Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dr. Arnold Hopland urges common sense over panic in the wake of the coronavirus getting closer to home.

With new reports of the coronavirus spreading every day, many are beginning to worry. Such worries have intensified after recent news of a case in Sullivan County. As a reaction, many have taken to stores, bulking up on everything from masks to food and toilet paper. Hopland, who has been working on the front lines combatting the virus and seen it firsthand, says such reactions are unwarranted.

“You compare this to two inches of snow in Northeast Tennessee,” he said. “Everyone goes out and buys a month worth of groceries and all the stores run out of food, then two days later when the snow passes, people have a pantry full of food they need to get rid of.”

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Instead of stockpiling such items, Hopland says that people should grocery shop, aiming to get everything that they need for the week. Likewise, he says that using common sense is the best way to be. Such practices that people should be doing include proper handwashing for about 40 seconds, keeping social distances and staying home if you feel ill, even from church.

“The panic is not warranted,” he said, “but the truth of it is, comments about there only being one case and no one else having it is crap. Eighty percent of people who have this virus don’t have any symptoms. So the truth of it is, if you are going out in public, you need to practice social distancing and good handwashing.”

Hopland described that many who get the illness will have mild symptoms and stressed social distancing. Those who have weakened immune systems, smokers, the elderly, etc. should also remain vigilant when out in public during this time. Additionally, he said limited visits to nursing homes is a great idea for the time being as they are more at risk. Those over the age of 80 are more at risk for the virus being fatal.

Besides social distancing, he said people need to be wary in decisions of traveling outside the United States. Hopland warned that those who travel are at risk of not being allowed back inside the country.

Should a cluster of the virus be detected here as it has in other areas, more strict quarantine measures could go into effect. However, Hopland urges remaining in good spirits and maintaining the basic hygiene procedures of handwashing and being aware.

“Good health is primarily having a good attitude,” he said. “When you are anxious and depressed, your immune system doesn’t work really well and you are more at risk. A positive attitude is the best defense followed by common sense, good hygiene and social distancing.”

While many do have a fear of the unknown, Hopland says this will pass and soon the virus will probably be classified along with other respiratory illnesses we commonly face that there is treatment for.

“This is not the apocalypse,” he said. “This too shall pass.”