While driving for work, my boss saw a man wearing a medical face mask on the street.
What followed was a scene reminiscent of bad Hollywood movies. He slammed on the brakes, and made a 360-degree spin with the creaking of the tires on his Mercedes.
He is a journalist of the „old kind“ and he just sniffed a scoop.
He slowly drove towards the man wearing a face mask and asked him does he need a ride.
„Oh, you are going to the city“, said the pedestrian and accepted the invitation to get in the car.
While driving to the city, an old journalist asked him about the mask.
„Are you infected with the coronavirus?“
He knew that the virus is thousands of miles away and he believed he just found an interesting interviewee, one of those persons who get caught up in the media hype surrounding every time when a new disease appears, no matter is it the coronavirus, bird flu, cow madness…
And he was right. The man said that he doesn’t have symptoms but he decided to buy a mask just to be sure.
„You can never be too careful“, he explained. They were talking about the virus, and the whole time, old journalist was thinking about headlines…
„Panic infected even our little town…“
However, a simple question a man with the mask asked him next, made him laugh so hard that he almost crashed his car.
„If I get infected and, for example, I transmit the virus to you, does that mean that I no longer have the virus?“
The man was apparently of the kind that is best described with the word „simpleton“.
After he told me the story, I remembered that I just read a column that mocked the very type of people my boss encountered.
„Collective madness, it seems to me, first catches on in bigger cities, as fools are more common to be found in bigger cities“, wrote the columnist.
The fact is that pharmacies across the country have been running out of face masks.
My friend that owns a pharmacy was telling how he is thinking about ordering more masks because people are buying them despite all the warnings that regular surgical mask will not help you steer clear of the virus.
I remembered that this collective madness is running rampant all over the world.
I have read somewhere that Coronavirus has Americans rushing to buy face masks although there are just 60 cases of coronavirus in the United States at this point.
Meanwhile, influenza will infect, hospitalize and even kill thousands upon thousands of Americans this year, but most people aren’t thinking of taking the same precautions for that illness.
And even if they did, masks won’t help prevent virus to spread.
In Italy, authorities have begun an investigation into rocketing online prices for hygienic masks and sanitising gels following the coronavirus outbreak in north of the country. Recently Amazon warned third-party sellers on its Marketplace platform against exorbitant price hikes to face masks.
For some, panic is good for business.