Today we speak to experts in Korea and the
UK. We’re seeing a wave of panic across the
world, with people emptying supermarket shelves queuing outside pharmacies and worried about
leaving the house in case of contracting the coronavirus.
It’s understandable that the pandemic is causing stress but for some of us, it’s becoming all
too much. To discuss how we can handle panic and fear
as a society, and on an individual level, we connect with Robert Dingwall, a sociologist
and Professor of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University. We also have Suh Sooyeon,
Professor of Psychology at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul.
Dr. Dingwall: The level of panic and the intensity seems to be on a different scale when compared
to the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Why is that? Dr. Suh: It’s an emotional time, as people fear for their health and their loved ones too, especially if they’re in quarantine
or their loved ones contract the virus. But for some of us, it’s all too much. What are
some signs that you may be overly stressed by this pandemic, and what are the consequences? Dr. Dingwall: What are the social, or societal
consequences of people panicking, and reacting in fear? Dr. Suh: Authorities are advising us to stay
at home, and self-quarantine if we feel we may pose a health risk to others. Of course,
in countries like Italy and Germany, whole cities have been shut down. But being isolated
at home — we are constantly exposed to depressing news stories.
How can we stop ourselves becoming too stressed? Dr. Dingwall: Pandemics not only affect us
physically but it disrupt social order, making us anxious as we don’t know what to expect.
What steps are needed to stabilize our societies
and help us weather this storm? Dr. Suh: How should people handle bad news
and even grief, and also support those around them? That’s all
we have time for today. But if you are feeling
overly stressed, fearful or anxious about the coronavirus, call 1339 if you are in South
Korea for counselling and support free of charge.
If you are watching this from another country,
please seek support from your national healthcare provider
as well. Thank you for joining us today Dr. Robert Dingwall in Nottingham and Dr. Suh Soo-yeon in Seoul.