Should I panic?
No, there's no reason to panic.
As doctors we're actually more concerned about people's responses than the actual virus. Shortage of toilet paper is one thing, but we're already seeing shortages of pain and fever medications, including for children.
We like data and we like facts. The reality is that based on what's happened so far in the country currently affected the most (China), only a small percentage of people will be significantly affects, and it's THESE at-risk patients that we would prefer to focus our time and healthcare resources on.
In Canada, our health system is prepared for this situation. Since the outset, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)—along with public health authorities at all levels of government across the country—have been working together to ensure that our preparedness and response measures are appropriate and adaptable, based on the latest science and the evolving situation.
At this time, PHAC has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for the general population in Canada but this could change rapidly. There is an increased risk of more severe outcomes for Canadians:
aged 65 and over
with compromised immune systems
with underlying medical conditions
Our public health efforts will continue to focus on containment to delay the onset of community spread by rapidly identifying cases, meticulously finding close contacts and using tried and true public health measures such as isolation and social distancing.
In the event of community transmission, these actions will continue as long as feasible to interrupt chains of transmission in the community and to delay and reduce an outbreak where possible.
The following myth vs. fact page from the World Health Organization is very helpful: