How coronavirus panic is making virus containment more difficult

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Happy Friday, readers.

Here’s a lesson in how an outbreak like the coronavirus—and the panic which comes with it—can threaten the broader efforts to contain the pathogen worldwide.

On Friday, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that hospitals and other health agencies around the world are facing a shortage of essential protective gear such as masks, gloves, and other medical equipment. Where is it all going? Frightened people are snatching the equipment up in a frenzy to protect themselves.

The concerns and prophylactic measures are understandable, especially in the regions most deeply affected by the 2019-nCoV outbreak, which has now claimed nearly 650 lives and infected more than 31,000 people.

But the downstream effects underscore the importance—and complexities—of balancing personal care versus public responsibility.

“The world is facing a chronic shortage of personnel protective equipment, as you might imagine,” said Ghebreyesus on Friday.

Hoarding medical equipment could be a detriment to health professionals who rely on such products. The big lesson is one most people learn during their early years: sharing is caring. And, in this case, it’s also a lifesaving measure.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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