WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
You are reading this because of your ancestors’ immune system.
The odds of your predecessors surviving the myriad microbes that have stalked humanity every step of its march toward becoming Earth’s dominant species were incalculably long. More Homo sapiens have probably died from infectious disease than all other causes combined.
Only in the past 150 years, owing to nutritional and medical advances, have we emerged from living in constant worry that a cough or fever or scrape might be a death sentence. But that fear of infectious disease remains embedded in the brain, as visceral as our sudden alarm when encountering a snake in the wild. Despite all our medical and technological breakthroughs, when confronted by the prospect of an epidemic, we are not that different from a farmer in an ancient Sumerian settlement making offerings to a local fertility deity so that he might survive the mysterious pustules killing everyone in town. …
Panic is exhausting. Only so many witches can be tossed into wells or rolls of toilet paper hoarded before knee-jerk anxiety progresses to a steady state of fear. …
If you want to panic, go right ahead. It’s what we do. It’s what your ancestors did. Then be afraid. Eventually, however, roll up your sleeves and get to work, scrubbing this bug back to whatever its host species happens to be. We’ll get there.
Humanity has so far survived every microbe that has jumped the species barrier, and we will survive this one.
Karl Taro Greenfeld, The Atlantic