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Why health care professionals say dramatic restrictions are the proper reaction to COVID-19?

Experts say the coronavirus is far different than the seasonal flu.

ATLANTA — ATLANTA – Cities across America have taken drastic measures to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus while defending their responses to those who claim it’s an overreaction.

The city of Atlanta is among the cities that have ordered residents to “shelter in place” until the spread is abated. The Olympics, scheduled for this summer in Tokyo, have been postponed.

Some say it isn’t enough. Dr. Carlos Del Rio of Emory University has pushed Georgia’s Governor to lock down the entire state.

“Atlanta, Savannah, Chamblee, and Peachtree Corners have issued shelter at home orders,” Del Rio wrote on Twitter. “We need more done in Georgia to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

There are some who continue to argue that the reaction has harmed the economy, pointing out that deaths from the seasonal flu have not sparked the same reaction.

“It’s better to decrease social contact than allow it and have a much bigger epidemic,” argues Dr. Jose Cordero of the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health.

Here’s why medical experts say lockdowns and cancelations have not been an overreaction to the spread of the coronavirus.

There is a vaccine to help prevent the flu and antiviral medications to use if you get it. There’s nothing like that yet for the coronavirus.

While it’s true that the flu has taken more lives this year, medical experts point to percentages. Typically, the flu ends in death for less than 1% of the people who get it. The data we have so far shows it’s closer to 3% with the coronavirus.

In a relatively short period of time, COVID-19 has spread from one region of China to countries across the globe.

“You’re at a game with 40-thousand people, you can imagine that is a recipe for spreading it very quickly,” says Dr. Cordero. “It’s better to decrease social contact than allow it and have a much bigger epidemic.”

Most people have mild reactions to the virus, which may help it spread. Those who don’t feel that sick and go on with their routine can pass it to someone who has a serious reaction.

The flu has a season. This virus is so new its future is uncertain.

“It’s too early to tell if this virus is going to sort of go away,” says Cordero.

To many health care professionals, being cautious, even overly cautious, is the best way to go.

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