This resource was selected by SMI Adviser content partners and approved by the SMI Adviser clinical expert team for inclusion in the knowledge base.
When the public learns of an outbreak of an infectious disease such as COVID-19, they may experience anxiety and show signs of stress, even if the objective risk of getting sick is very low. Concerns about transmission from person to person may affect accessibility of social supports and reduce community cohesion. Although public health authorities are working to contain the spread of the virus, epidemics are unpredictable in nature. If more cases occur, members of the public may well become increasingly concerned and some may begin to panic.
This stress is normal and may be more pronounced in people with loved ones in parts of the world hardest hit by the outbreak. Health care providers, community and religious leaders, and government officials all have a role to play in helping people cope effectively and manage their stress in the current climate of concerns about COVID-19 transmission.