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Could it be we’re overreacting?

Drive-thru coronavirus testing at UW Medicine. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

With normal life increasingly disrupted by the terrifying COVID-19 pandemic, millions of skeptical Americans wonder whether we could, possibly, be overreacting.

A new poll from NPR and the PBS News Hour shows only 40% of Republicans and half of Independents believing coronavirus is a “real threat”—with 54% of Republicans saying the alarm has “been blown out of proportion.”

Nothing partisan about coronavirus

Of course, we’ll never know whether these doubters are correct—if the horrors turn out to be less cataclysmic than feared, we’ll credit the drastic, decisive action taken by public health officials. If, on the other hand, the pandemic does claim hundreds of thousands of lives, we’ll assume it would have been even worse without the preventive measures.

In the long-term, when lives are at stake it is better to overreact than underreact, and however this pandemic ends, we can hope to gain know-how and perspective in confronting future threats.

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