SHSU disaster researcher on Coronavirus: ‘It feels scary because it’s new’

BRYAN, Tex (KBTX)- As fears surround the Coronavirus epidemic in China and its slow spread to other countries, world health officials are working not only to combat the risk but also to combat misinformation.

Natalie Baker is a professor in the Department of Security Studies at Sam Houston State University. She researches, among other topics, the social construction of and response to the threat.

“The headlines are portraying it correctly, but what they fail to mention is the case fatality rate,” said Baker—basically, what percentage of infected people die from the disease.

Baker says Coronavirus’s case fatality rate is reported at 2% but is likely much lower due to lack of or missing diagnoses.

“If you catch the Coronavirus…you are most likely not going to die from it,” said Baker.

Baker says she believes that the actions taken by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control are an overresponse at this point, including the 14-day mandatory quarantine for evacuees from China.

“The reason it feels scary is because it’s new,” said Baker, citing similar fears surrounding Ebola and Zika virus. “Also it feels scary because it’s not from the West.”

For the full conversation with Baker, see the video player above.