We are allowing the crisis-driven media to do it to us again, people. When the hell are we going to smarten up? The coronavirus is a thing to be reckoned with but it is not what is going to drive humanity into extinction.

The truth of the matter is the coronavirus is good for the media business. It keeps you tuned in for longer periods of time and that's good for ratings. It is also a good political tool since politicians love to beat each other up over things they have no control over but that they can use to help sway public opinion.

There is certainly a chance that you could contract the coronavirus, but according to everything that we are being told by health officials here in Massachusetts, the risk is low. We are also told that the overwhelming majority of people who might test positive for the coronavirus would never even know it because they won't display symptoms of being ill.

Yet the headlines on one Massachusetts news site breathlessly reported that new cases had "exploded" overnight. The number of cases has "nearly doubled" while we slept – to 15 total confirmed cases. Keep in mind that more than 12,000 people in this country have died from the flu so far this winter, hundreds of them children.

The most at-risk people are the same people who are most at-risk for the flu each year. They include the very old, the very young and those with chronic illnesses. We need to focus our concern on these folks rather than running around buying up all of the face masks, hand sanitizer and toilet paper we can find. Yes, people are actually brawling over toilet paper in stores in California.

Wash your hands. Fist or elbow bump instead of shaking hands and keep your fingers out of your mouth and nose. Wash your hands frequently, especially if you have been out in public. Most flights are safe and going to work, school or the mall won't kill you, either. Unless there have been specific warnings from state or federal health officials, keep living your life.

Keep in mind the media is in crisis mode and as a result of that, your savings are being wiped out and jobs could be at risk because many events are being unnecessarily canceled.

This too shall pass, but in the meantime can we just shut the TV off for a bit and enjoy the extra hour of sunlight?

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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