‘Fear is the most contagious part of the virus’: Local doctor weighs in on the Coronavirus

Local News

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – As the number of coronavirus cases increases across the United States and Southeast, some fear an outbreak in our area in imminent.

Right now there are confirmed cases in 15 states, one of those being North Carolina, but none in South Carolina.

News13 talked to a local doctor about several of the misconceptions about the virus, this as rumors of cases or potential quarantines have swirled online and on social media.

Hospital officials at Grand Strand Medical Center say, if they had a confirmed case, there would be an immediate press release sent.

Emergency care physician, Doctor Jon Pangia says the two places he looks for the most up-to-date and reliable information about the virus are the CDC and DHEC’s website.

He adds, the most contagious part of this virus is fear. 

“That is spreading way faster than the virus ever could, and causing more damage,” Dr. Pangia said. “A lot of the fear is coming from there have been some people who have died from this, and we continue to see that. That said, there are far greater things that we are at risk of every day. COVID-19 is a little more dangerous than influenza, but just a touch and it’s also about on par with riding a motorcycle on any given day.”

He also explained most people have already had the coronavirus as it is the second most common cause of the common cold. The particular strain of the virus causing global concern is referred to as COVID-19.

Doctor Pangia says based on data from China, where the outbreak originated, children are at the lowest risk for complications with COVID-19. While adults older than 65 with medical conditions and a smoking habit are at the highest risk.

In recent weeks, hand sanitizers and face masks have flown off the shelves in stores across the country, even forcing Amazon to crack down on price gouging on some of the items on it’s website. However, Doctor Pangia says the masks are not intended for everyone to use.

“It’s really those who are going to go knowingly into close contact with people who have it,” he said. “Really that really only applies to healthcare workers. Again, if you’re going out in the general public, the chance of you being exposed to COVID-19 with or without a mask is very, very low because it’s not in our community yet.”

News13 will continue to closely monitor the virus. Count on us for continued coverage.

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