Doctor on coronavirus outbreak: ‘Prepare but don’t panic’

Dr. Donna Rockwell advises keeping coronavirus outbreak in perspective

DETROIT – Concerns about the coronavirus are spreading across the world, and many people in the United States are feeling anxious and stressed. Experts said it’s important to stay informed and, no matter what, try not to panic.

News of where and who is getting the coronavirus is coming at us fast, and it can be a lot to take in.

“I like the advice that we need to prepare but not panic,” Dr. Donna Rockwell said. “I think that will stand us in good stead physically, emotionally and mentally.”

Rockwell is a clinical psychologist. She said people should really think things through carefully and fully, keep the outbreak in perspective and get the facts.

“Well, I think it’s important to continue having a pulse on what’s happening right now,” Rockwell said. “To listen to news reports that you trust, to listen to the radio, perhaps, and to understand what you need to do to prepare, but not to stop living completely. We need to continue to do all the things we’ve always done."

If you have children, talk to them about what they might be hearing and seeing about the coronavirus.

“Our kids are watching us all the time for cues on how they should react to things,” Rockwell said. “So we need to stay common grounded and we really need to talk to them and hear them at the level at which they are concerned and speak to them at that level so that we can assure them, calm them and know that they have our unconditional support that they’re safe.”

She said mindfulness can help with focus.

“We’re always either catastrophizing about the future or bemoaning something in the past,” Rockwell said. “So to come back to right here, right now, and to just be in this moment -- there’s no problem right now. Also, be diligent. Keep your ear to the ground of what the new information is and what we need to do to keep our family safe.”

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