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“Just a flu” or global panic? This is why some people are much more afraid of coronavirus than others

It's all about how we each perceive risk

By Michael Blastland  

Sanguined or panic, our response to the risk posed by coronavirus is all about how we interpret threats. Photo: Prospect composite

Let’s begin by imagining two simple scenarios for coronavirus.

A: each case infects 2 others in a week.

B: each case infects 3 others in five days.

I’m making these up, but bear with me. Assuming each case infects this many and no more, and is infectious only for this long, after 10 weeks, scenario A has clocked up about 2,000 cases. B is heading rapidly to 10 million.

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