from the world's big
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
If you were awaiting screaming death from the skies, you can relax. For now.
- China's Long March 5 rocket core has landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean following an uncontrolled entry.
- Most of the time, returning hardware that doesn't burn up plunges into the ocean or uninhabited areas.
- There have been two larger returnees in the past, though this one was quite big.
Maybe future generations will look back on these early days of space exploration and chuckle at what we had to suffer through. We live in a time when, every now and then, word goes out that some giant chunk of uncontrolled defunct space junk is about to crash down upon us somewhere, so, um, duck? The hope during such moments is that the deadly debris will land in the ocean that covers most of the Earth's surface or in some unpopulated area, and it usually does. Usually.
Anyhow, if you've been anxiously looking up this week — either at the sky or your ceiling in quarantine — waiting for the core section of China's Long March 5 (CZ-5B) rocket to end you, you can breathe a sigh of relief. It landed safely, for humans anyway, in the ocean off the west coast of Mauritania in northwest Africa on May 11.
Long March into the sea
The CZ-5B-Y1 core stage is in a 155 x 366 km orbit, and is expected to reenter around May 11. At 17.8 tonnes, it is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled reentry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 in 1991, unless you count OV-102 Columbia in 2003.— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) May 7, 2020
Though CZ-5B is one of the largest craft to come down in an uncontrolled reentry, its size is not the only thing that had astronomers like Jonathan McDowell, of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, on the edge of their seats. "I've never seen a major reentry pass directly over so many major conurbations!" he tweeted. (A conurbation is an extended urban area.)
While some debris comes down via a controlled landing, that was not the plan for CZ-5B. McDowell tells CNN, "For a large object like this, dense pieces like parts of the rocket engines could survive reentry and crash to Earth." No biggie, he says, since, "Once they reach the lower atmosphere they are traveling relatively slowly, so worst case is they could take out a house."
CZ-5B took off just a week or so ago, on May 5 for just a few days in orbit. Some of its 30-meter-long core stage burned up on reentry, and apparently none of what remained hit anyone, but there are reports of property damage in the Côte d'Ivoire village of N'guinou.
We’ve ducked debris before
A no-doubt radioactive piece of Cosmos 954
Image source: Natural Resources Canada/Wikimedia
At this point, there have been a number of well-publicized spacecraft plummeting down destination-unknown. Probably the scariest was the return of the 4.4-ton Soviet-era spy satellite Cosmos 954. What made its uncontrolled re-entry so frightening is that it was nuclear-powered and threatened to spew radioactive material all over wherever or whomever. The original plan had been to boost it high into a nuclear-safe orbit, but a separation failure doomed the craft to fall back to Earth.
In the end, Cosmos 954 did crash in Northwestern Canada, blowing radioactive debris over a wide area. Canada billed the U.S.S.R $6 million for the cleanup, of which only $3 million was eventually paid.
Probably the first widely publicized uncontrolled return, and one of the two most massive, was of Skylab in 1979. It was another case of a craft coming back earlier than intended, and though NASA couldn't control the 77-ton craft's reentry point, it could control the manner in which it tumbled on down. The nail-biting ended on July 11, 1979, when most of Skylab burned up over the Indian Ocean, though some big pieces survived the descent and landed southeast of Perth, Australia. No one got hurt. The Australian town of Esperance charged NASA $400 for littering. The U.S. also didn't pay up.
Another piece of debris larger than CZ-5B was the Soviet Salyut 7 after nine years in orbit. At the time it came down, it was docked with another spaceship, Cosmos 1686. Salyut 7 weighted in at about 22 tons, as did Cosmos 1686. The connected pair of craft reentered together, burning up and breaking apart over Argentina, with bits raining down on the town of Capitan Bermudez. Amazingly, no one was injured.
One could say we've been pretty lucky so far, though it's hard not to look forward to a time when dying spacecraft can be somehow vaporized out in space where it's safe instead putting those of us down here at absolutely-nothing-you-can-do-about-it risk.
From travel restrictions to forced isolation, the new coronavirus brings psychological threats, too.
- The novel coronavirus has spread to all continents except Antarctica, and it's infected more than 90,000 people as of early March.
- In China, mental health officials are trying to keep up with thousands of service requests from doctors and civilians facing fear, anxiety and exhaustion.
- It's unclear how Americans will react if the outbreak intensifies.
Carl Court / Getty<p>However, it wouldn't be the first time the U.S. government compromised citizens' individual liberties to control the outbreak of a contagious disease. In <a href="https://virus.stanford.edu/uda/fluresponse.html" target="_blank">response to the 1918 Spanish Flu</a>, for example, officials in some U.S. states banned public gatherings, forcibly isolated and quarantined the ill, and closed public schools for weeks at a time. This was the last time the government exercised large-scale quarantine and isolation measures.</p><p>In recent weeks, Americans have undergone mandatory quarantine at the nation's borders, where the federal government's protective powers are most clearly defined. On March 3, more than 100 Americans who had been passengers aboard a Diamond Princess cruise ship <a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/texas/articles/2020-03-03/quarantined-ship-passengers-to-be-released-in-san-antonio" target="_blank">were released after spending two weeks in quarantine</a>. Americans who recently returned home from China have also had to undergo quarantine.</p><p>Although the federal government is within its power to isolate and quarantine at-risk citizens, some civil rights activists say these measures violate individual liberty.</p><p>"Quarantining somebody is an extraordinary deprivation of their liberties," American Civil Liberties Union senior policy analyst Jay Stanley told <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/05/life-under-quarantine-civil-rights-activists-criticize-unprecedented-coronavirus-lockdowns.html" target="_blank">CNBC</a>. "There's a burden on the government to determine that it's really using the least restrictive alternative."</p>
Courtesy CDC/Alissa Eckert<p>Beyond political implications, quarantining people may yield negative psychological effects. In a recent episode of the American Psychological Association's "Speaking Psychology" podcast, host Kaitlin Luna cited <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323345/" target="_blank">research</a> on people who were quarantined during the SARS epidemic.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They found that many had psychological distress including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression," she said. They found that the longer someone was quarantined, the higher likelihood that he or she would experience PTSD symptoms. Obviously, this shows that being isolated from others can bring up a host of negative feelings."</p><p>But what about the millions of Americans who will never be quarantined or become infected? How will they respond psychologically? The advice from most health professionals seems to be: start preparing yourself.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The most important recommendation is don't panic, but prepare," Dr. Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, told <a href="https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/2/28/21156128/coronavirus-prepare-outbreak-covid19-health" target="_blank">Vox</a>. "We're not going into a crazy movie situation where the world is on fire, but we may be going into a situation where there are people walking around who are sick."</p>
The 'adjustment reaction'<p>Part of mentally preparing yourself involves understanding what some crisis communicators and psychiatrists call the "adjustment reaction." This phenomenon describes how people typically react to a new and potentially serious risk, like coronavirus. For example, people tend to: pause, become over-vigilant, personalize the risk, and take extra precautions.</p><p>The adjustment reaction isn't necessarily a negative or naive response to crisis. Rather, it seems to help people cope, and to prevent overreactions down the road.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The '<a href="http://www.psandman.com/col/teachable.htm" target="_blank">adjustment reaction</a>' is a step that is hard to skip on the way to the new normal," risk communications experts Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman <a href="http://www.psandman.com/articles/Corona7.htm" target="_blank">wrote</a> in a blog post about coronavirus. "Going through it before a crisis is full-blown is more conducive to resilience, coping, and rational response than going through it mid-crisis."</p>
Being ahead of the curve can be a dangerous place. These 7 thinkers were driven from their homelands over it.
- Many thinkers have been killed for their ideas. Some got away with exile.
- Most of the ones we'll look at here were driven out by the government, but others fled for their own safety.
- The fact that some of these thinkers are still famous centuries after their exile suggests they might have been on to something, even if their countrymen disagreed.
Anaxagoras<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="vOtshT1n" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="190a2988d5363854c73cddb7fd26ab97"> <div id="botr_vOtshT1n_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/vOtshT1n-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/vOtshT1n-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/vOtshT1n-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>A pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/anaxagoras/" target="_blank">Anaxagoras</a> was driven from Athens for the crime of realizing the moon is made of <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ancient-greek-philosopher-was-exiled-claiming-moon-was-rock-not-god-180972447/" target="_blank">rock</a>. </p><p> A scientifically minded thinker, he spent a great deal of time devising models to explain cosmology. He was one of the first people to understand how the moon reflects light from the sun and how this creates the phases we see in the moon. He was the first to explain solar and lunar eclipses accurately, suggested that the moon has mountains, and argued that the sun was a burning mass "larger than the Peloponnese." </p><p>At the time, these ideas were utterly radical. Many Greek city-states treated the sun and moon as divine entities or gods. He was tried for impiety, as Socrates would later be, and sentenced to death in a trial that was as much concerned with his philosophy as it was with his political circle. </p><p>His friend Pericles, the leading citizen of Athens, was able to convince the voters to reduce the penalty down to exile. Anaxagoras moved to Lampsacus in what is now Turkey, where he quietly continued to work. </p>
Diogenes<p>One of the most brilliant and eccentric philosophers of all time, <a href="https://www.iep.utm.edu/diogsino/" target="_blank">Diogenes </a>is well remembered for his bizarre lifestyle and educational antics. </p><p> Less often recalled is that he got his start in philosophy after being kicked out of his hometown. His father, Hicesias, was a banker, and it is likely that Diogenes was at least somewhat involved in his business. While the details are fuzzy, it appears that they were engaged in a scheme to debase the currency. For this, we have some corroborating archaeological evidence, as a large number of coins from the time in the area around Sinope have been found to be adulterated.</p><p>They were caught, and Diogenes was stripped of his citizenship and sent into exile. </p><p>After this setback, he moved to Athens. He took a visit to the Oracle at Delphi, who encouraged him to "deface the currency" yet again. However, knowing that the Oracle was famously cryptic, he took the suggestion to mean that he should strive to change accepted norms, customs, and values rather than ruin coins.</p><p> He took the message to heart and spent his life living in a barrel, walking backward, begging from statues, and searching for an honest man in the marketplace. The people of the cities he lived in were utterly baffled. </p>
Confucius<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="dQuKBsqc" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="6492c0e7648cac09ebed0046038a8cec"> <div id="botr_dQuKBsqc_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/dQuKBsqc-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/dQuKBsqc-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/dQuKBsqc-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The undeniable heavyweight champion of <a href="https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/confucius-explained-in-10-quotes" target="_blank">Chinese philosophy</a>, <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/confucius/" target="_blank">Confucius </a>spent much of his working life in exile. </p><p> His career began not in philosophy, but government, where he was a well-known minister to the Duke of Lu. The neighboring state of Qi, fearful at the potential of the reforms Confucius was trying to implement and wary of Lu's increasing power, sent the Duke of Lu a gift of 100 excellent horses and 80 dancing girls. </p><p>He promptly spent most of his time with these gifts and forgot to run the country for a few days. </p><p>Confucius, disappointed in the Duke's behavior, took the next chance to resign, waiting until a good excuse came up so everybody could save face over the incident. He spent the next 13 years on the road visiting the courts of several states and trying to find one which would implement his reforms for good governance. None of them would.</p><p>Somewhat discouraged, he returned home where he spent his final years teaching his 70 odd disciples his philosophy. After his death, his disciples collected his works and continued teaching them. In the end, his philosophy would be adopted by several Chinese dynasties and continue to influence Chinese society to this day. </p>
Aristotle<p><a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle/" target="_blank">Aristotle</a> is one of the most famous philosophers in world history. He functionally invented logic, wrote on every subject imaginable, and devised a system of ethics that still holds up pretty <a href="https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/aristotles-11-guidelines-for-living-a-good-life" target="_blank">well</a>. However, his tutoring of and continued association with Alexander the Great would cause him to die in exile.</p><p>Aristotle was made the head of the Macedonian Royal Academy by King Phillip II and tutored his son Alexander alongside several others who would later become kings and leading generals of the ancient world. How long this arrangement lasted is a subject of continued debate, but it was at least a few years. </p><p>Years later, after Alexander had consolidated his power over Greece, Aristotle moved back to Athens, where he opened his school, taught many students, and wrote some of his most famous works.</p><p>After the death of Alexander, there was widespread anti-Macedonian sentiment throughout Greece. In Athens, leading citizens accused Aristotle of "impiety," one of the crimes that got Socrates the death penalty.</p><p>Seeing the writing on the wall, Aristotle declared that Athens "would not sin twice against philosophy" and fled the city. He spent his final year in exile on the island of Euboea at an estate owned by his mother's family.</p>
Jean Jacques Rousseau<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="SL0zY6pB" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c19553e743788f6635f4aa68091dc8a9"> <div id="botr_SL0zY6pB_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/SL0zY6pB-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/SL0zY6pB-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/SL0zY6pB-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>A Swiss philosopher working during the Enlightenment, <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rousseau/" target="_blank">Rousseau </a>was a well-known radical who was always aware of how close to the line he was playing it. While working in pre-revolutionary France, he often chose to live very near the Swiss border just in case the need to flee came up.</p><p>In 1762, his radical ideas caught up with him. He published <em>Emile, or On Education</em>, a book that focused primarily on how to educate children in a way that will not cause their innate human nature, which Rousseau thought to be good, to become corrupted. These parts of the book would go on to inspire both the educational system of France during the revolution and the Montessori method. His simultaneously radical and reactionary ideas on women's education would also earn tremendous <a href="https://www.thoughtco.com/rousseau-on-women-and-education-3528799" target="_blank">attention</a>. </p><p>It was a section on religion that would get the book banned, Rousseau exiled, and the bonfires lit, however. In this section, a catholic priest is depicted as suggesting that the real benefit of any religion is its ability to instill virtue in a person and that the particular religion it is doesn't matter. This character also espoused unitarianism, rejected original sin, and thought little of revelation.</p><p>After reading the book, the French government issued a warrant for Rousseau's arrest, causing him to flee to Switzerland. However, the Swiss had read the book too and told him he could not remain in Bern. After rejecting an offer to live with Voltaire, he fled to Môtiers, which was governed by Prussia at the time. This arrangement only lasted two years, however, as local priests decided he was the Anti-Christ and drove him from town. </p><p>He continued to move frequently for the next few years. His reputation later improved, and he ultimately moved back to France, though his experiences instilled paranoia in him that never entirely went away.</p>
Karl Marx<p>Admit it; this one doesn't surprise you.</p><p> <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/" target="_blank">Marx </a>is well known as the father of modern communism and one of the few modern philosophers who can be said to have created an entire philosophy, Marxism, largely by himself. </p><p>After the closure of his radical newspaper by Prussian authorities in 1843, Marx moved to Paris to continue writing. It was there that he met several people who would be significant partners and rivals in his life, including Fredrick Engels and Mikhail Bakunin. It was at this time that the philosophy that we now call "Marxism" began to take shape. In 1845, at the request of the Prussian government, the French closed down his paper there and threw him out of the country. Marx moved to Brussels. He also lost his Prussian citizenship at this time and would be stateless for the rest of his life.</p><p>After promising the Belgian government he wouldn't write on contemporary politics, he returned to more abstract philosophy while also keeping contacts with radical organizations. It was here that he wrote <em>The Communist Manifesto</em> in 1848. Later that year, as riots and revolutions spread across Europe, the Belgian government accused Marx of being part of a plot to launch a revolution in Belgium. The evidence for either side of the argument is thin, but he was arrested nonetheless. He subsequently fled to newly Republican France after getting out of jail. </p><p>After a brief stay in France, he returned to Cologne, where he continued to agitate for a full communist uprising in the aftermath of the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_revolutions_of_1848%E2%80%931849" target="_blank">German Revolution</a>. This failed to materialize, and Marx was again thrown out of his homeland.</p><p>He returned to Paris, but they didn't want him either. He moved to London, where he would remain for the remainder of his life.</p>
Hannah Arendt<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="ZFyUgMAU" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="f04cf5002a1948f7db7b6a29c43bb82d"> <div id="botr_ZFyUgMAU_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/ZFyUgMAU-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/ZFyUgMAU-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/ZFyUgMAU-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>A German-American philosopher who wrote on the banality of evil and the methods of totalitarian regimes, <a href="https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/arendt/" target="_blank">Arendt</a> is one of the greatest political philosophers of the 20<sup>th</sup> century.</p><p>Born into a Jewish family in Germany, Arendt came of age just before the rise of Nazism. A bold writer, she wrote numerous essays attacking the Nazi party both before and after they came to power. She associated with many leading Zionists and used her access to state resources to study anti-Semitism in hopes of an announcement to the world on how bad things were in Germany.</p><p> She was turned in by a librarian for "anti-state" propaganda. Arendt and her mother were both arrested by the Gestapo and held for several days. As their journals were in code, the police were unable to determine precisely what they had written, and they were released to await trial. <br> <br> They fled immediately. Crossing a mountainous path by night from Saxony to Bohemia, they worked their way to France. Hannah lost her citizenship and made due as she could in Paris. Just before the German Invasion of France in 1940, she was arrested by the French as an "enemy alien" and detained. After the fall of France, she and her family again fled the Nazis, this time to America, by way of Portugal. </p><p>It is little wonder that her greatest works focus on totalitarianism. In her masterpiece, <em>The Origins of Totalitarianism, </em>she devotes a lengthy chapter to the issue of human rights and refugees undoubtedly inspired, at least in part, by her time as one. </p>
The CDC estimates that more than 210,000 people in the U.S. have been hospitalized by the flu this season.
- The 2019-2020 flu season, which began in late September, is estimated to have already killed 12,000 to 30,000 people in the U.S., according to the CDC.
- The death toll for the new strain of coronavirus remains far lower, prompting some people to argue that the public's concern about coronavirus is misplaced.
- Still, there are valid reasons to be concerned about the new virus.
CDC<p>The 2019-2020 flu season has been relatively bad, caused in roughly equal parts by the two main strains of influenza: A and B.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Currently, we have high levels of influenza in the country, which started out really early this year, around Thanksgiving," Dr. Bernard Camins, medical director for infection prevention at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, <a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-02-07/theres-a-virus-spreading-in-us-thats-killed-10-000-the-flu" target="_blank">told</a> U.S. News & World Report. "Pretty much the entire country has high levels of influenza-like illness right now."</p>
Coronavirus Outbreak : Illustration
(Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)<p>In light of the data, is the public's hysteria over coronavirus misplaced? Some think so. <a href="https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/danvergano/coronavirus-cases-deaths-flu" target="_blank">Buzzfeed</a> said: "Don't worry about the new coronavirus, worry about the flu." <a href="https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-influenza-disease-china-united-states-64311582-2031-40af-8ec3-9ff68341d4f3.html" target="_blank">Axios</a> suggested: "If you're freaking out about coronavirus but you didn't get a flu shot, you've got it backwards." And health officials in <a href="https://wgme.com/news/local/maine-cdc-flu-is-much-bigger-concern-than-coronavirus" target="_blank">Maine</a> and <a href="https://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/distinguishing-between-coronavirus-and-flu/2261939/" target="_blank">California</a> offered similar reality checks.</p><p>But these "viral whataboutism" critiques — as <a href="https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-is-bad-comparing-it-to-the-flu-is-worse/" target="_blank"><em>Wired's</em></a> Roxanne Khamsi dubbed them — might be missing the point. Sure, the public may be falling prey to saliency bias — our tendency to focus on information that's more prominent or emotionally striking, while ignoring less remarkable (but potentially more important) information.</p><p>However, it's not an either-or situation, where being concerned about coronavirus means you're necessarily ignorant about the dangers of the common flu. What's more, there are reasons to be uniquely concerned about coronavirus. </p>