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Opinion: Coronavirus Overreaction? No dummy, it’s the right reaction

Speak No Evil, See No Evil, Hear No Evil (Getty Images)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

Is this whole coronavirus thing really a big deal, or is it just a big overreaction?

“People hate to think about bad things happening, so they always underestimate their likelihood.”

It is entirely possible that this amazing line from the movie, “The Big Short”, is speaking directly to me, because:

I’m not worried.

I’m not worried.

I’m not worried.

That’s been my automatic tune during the coronavirus–COVID-19– outbreak.

But after a conversation I just had, I’m singing a different tune.

Are we having an overreaction to the coronavirus?

That conversation was with former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, who served as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.

My worry was that we’re making a big deal out of nothing. The chances of contracting COVID-19 in Utah are slim— at least for now.

With a United States population of over 327-million people and only 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the states– my question to former Governor Leavitt, are we overreacting?

“Is it an overreaction to cancel events and limit travel,” Leavitt told us on Dave and Dujanovic Wednesday, “It’s costly. It’s inconvenient and it’s certainly not something that we would like to have happen, but it’s the right reaction.”

It’s the right reaction.

This is where I feel my father looking me square in the eyeballs and saying, “Listen to the experts, dummy.”

Am I going to continue to close my eyes and plug my ears?

Italy has quarantined the nation and California just banned any gatherings of more than 1,000 in Santa Clara County.

The NBA has told its’ teams to prepare to play games in their arenas, but without fans.

Wait… BREAKING NEWS, the Golden State Warriors will now play home games without fans in the stands, “for the foreseeable future”, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wait… does that mean Jazz games next? NO JAZZ GAMES? Are you kidding me? Is this the kind of response we want?

Take it seriously

“I’m quite optimistic about the fact that people are responding,” said Leavitt. “I believe we are responding in a very responsible way as a culture.”

I’m trying to let this sink in.

“This is to be taken very seriously,” said Leavitt, “Pandemics don’t happen often, but when they do– they reshape the politics, they reshape the economics, they reshape sociology.”

I’m going to go with the assumption that public officials naturally downplay what’s going on– to prevent widespread panic.

So, if the former Secretary of Health and Human Services—who was in that position and oversaw the Bird Flu outbreak—says that we are demonstrating the appropriate level of panic, maybe it’s time for me to change my tune and not the other way around.

I think I’m going to be fine watching my Jazz games on TV.


Hear our full conversation with Governor Leavitt right here.

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