COVID-19 and Mental Stress

My objective is to share information on nutrition. However, in the current concern over COVID-19, mental health is at stake for some undergoing blind panic. This is to share extracts from another writer plus information from the Singapore Govt on the virus. Hope some logic will prevail over the blind panic. My last posting on the COVID-19 before returning to herbs for diabetes control.

Flw an extract from Tan Suee Chieh ex NTUC Income CEO and ex NTUC Enterprise CEO who is an actuarist (calculates risks of people dying or getting sick to calculate premiums to charge for insurance) as he gives his views on the current situation :

Extract :
COVID-19 – A psychological and an actuarial approach.

There is a lot of fear of COVID-19 coronavirus. Largely, it is the FEAR OF UNKNOWN, as this virus is new.

As a trained psychologist and an actuary, … I would like to bring a sense of perspective, different contexts and rationality into the discussion on COVID-19 to dispel fear.

As of 15 February, we have 1527 number of deaths in the last three months arising from 67,000 infections (99 % from China). These numbers are certain to rise to tens and maybe hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of infections. So when you hear about more deaths, you should not be alarmed. This is how pandemics work. For me, the increase in numbers were not particularly alarming, as they look like ARITHMETIC progressions rather than geometric progressions.

So we do not have to be paralysed by fear of these statistics. We can be rational, objective and calm in our our response because

1. In 2009, the H1N1 swine flu which emanated in USA caused 360,000 deaths (range 150,000 -575,000) in the first year – CDC/Lancet. And 762 million infections in the first year. (Science Alert). The fatality rate was 0.1 %. Were you panicking then?

2. Do you know according CDC (Center of Disease Control – USA) about 40,000 people die from seasonal flus worldwide MONTHLY? Do you worry about dying from seasonal flus?

3. Do you know that according to WHO (World Health Organisation, a United Nations organization) on a worldwide basis,

• 65,000 die from HIV monthly
• 112,000 die from car accidents monthly
• 130,000 die from diabetes monthly, and an additional 185,000 die from high blood glucose monthly
• 250,000 die from alcoholism monthly
• 600,000 die from smoking monthly
• 1.5 million from heart disease monthly

Also, according to John Hopkins University, 20,000 die monthly from from Iatrogenic causes (medical errors) in USA alone!

4. Current estimates of fatality rate of CPVID-19 is 1.5% to 2.5% but some scientists believe that eventually this rate will come closer to the swine flu of 0.1%.

For comparison, mortality rates of Singaporeans

Age 50-54 0.376%
Age 55-59 0.619%
Age 60-64 1.318%

This means if you are infected with nCOV-19, your chance of dying from it is quite close to a Singaporean person age 63 dying at the age of 63 of all causes. Does a 63-year-old man going around worrying he will die that year?

Don’t you think you should worry more about the above causes of death, which are more threatening to you than COVID-19 and which you have a better control of?

One of the philosophers I admire is Bertrand Russell. He said

“Fear is the main source of superstition… To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”

If you agree with my sentiments, please share my posting.


As to fear of being infected? The Singapore Govt has done a very meticulous job of contact tracing and explained the rate of infection is very limited. My assessment, based on the information provided the past two weeks, is that infection probably come from physical contacts or PASSING/TOUCHING of CONTAMINATED objects or surfaces. Thus WASHING OF HANDS may be the most important.

Useful information from the Singapore govt. :

[Sent by – 12 Feb]
Your questions about9 Coronavirus (COVID-19) answered – by infectious disease expert Dr Leong Hoe Nam

*How does it spread?*
Much like familiar cold viruses or influenza, COVID-19 spreads primarily by respiratory droplets, which come out through saliva or when we sneeze. It is NOT IN THE AIR.

*Is it possible to contract COVID-19 from someone who is not showing symptoms?*
Those with no symptoms are less likely to have nasal discharge or cough, and are hence less likely to transmit. In truth, we suspect the ACTUAL RISK TO BE VERY LOW.

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