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Fears over corona virus

February 8th, 2020

Two medical doctors suggest that what they regard as fearmongering over the corona virus may have more severe implications than the actual spread of the virus. A left-wing columnist, on the other hand, ponders the political and social implications of a potential global pandemic.

In Magyar Nemzet, Dr Gábor Kemenesi and Dr Ferenc Jakab write that Hungarians have no reason to fear the corona virus. The two medical doctors suggest that panic and fearmongering pose a bigger threat than the virus itself. The spread of the virus can effectively be contained by international and Hungarian health authorities, and Hungarians cannot be contaminated by packages sent from China, as the virus survives only a couple of hours. Hysteria, on the other hand, can result in discrimination and prejudice against the Chinese, overstrain health care systems and slow down economic growth, Kemenesi and Jakab point out.

Népszava’s Gergely Bártfai looks back on the history of devastating epidemics. The left-liberal commentator recalls that plague pandemics in the Middle Ages unleashed anti-Semitism as Jews were blamed for the disease. Nevertheless, Bártfai claims, the devastating epidemic had positive implications in the more developed Western countries, where labor shortages resulting from mass death contributed to the end of feudalism, the weakening of the authority of the Catholic church and ended with of the liberation of serfs. ‘In retrospect, the plague was necessary as well as beneficial from an evolutionary point of view,’ Bártfai writes. He concludes by adding that a global pandemic would again ‘be a natural solution to some problems of mankind,’ but it would also cause tremendous suffering.

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