I read these things and it puts our current social-media fueled panic into perspective. AIDS killed 36 million. A flu pandemic in 1968 killed one million, and the one in 1918 killed 20 to 50 million.

It is dark stuff to be talking about, but our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents dealt with much worse in their lifetimes. Just because our world has social media you get this feedback loop of instant information and a spread of misinformation and panic that we have not seen before.

This is not to say what we are facing isn't serious - it is serious and we should take precautions. We should be prepared for emergencies at anywhere, and at anytime. We should practice good hygiene, hand-washing, reduce contact with others if we feel ill, and avoid crowds at times like these if we feel uncomfortable.

But we should not panic.

The panic may cause more damage to our world than the illness itself.

How did I respond? I got my kitchen in order. I made sure I had staples, storage containers, and some basic supplies on hand. I started to use my staple foods and add them to a part of my diet - once you buy them, you should start using them and replenish them when you start to run low. This is nothing different than what the pioneer families did in the old days, you keep a stock of dried beans, rice, flour, and other staples and you learn how to cook and prepare meals with them.

I stored some water in a spare bathroom. I filled up my gas tank. I made sure I didn't have to venture to the supermarket for a month with things I ordered online. I have enough for my house, and I feel comfortable that I will get through any local disruptions with little impact should things go crazy for a week or two.

I did my best to prepare for any hard time, for even earthquakes or other natural disasters, and I feel good about my ability to get through anything which happens. I should have been prepared like this always, but it took this to finally shock me into action.

I am careful when I go out. I remove and wash my clothes with every trip out, and wash my hands and disinfect things like doorknobs. I don't touch my food when eating out, or order things I have to touch. I am avoiding eating out for the next few weeks anyways, and what I make at home will be enough for now.

I don't touch my mouth and eyes, not at any time, or I use a clean tissue and dispose of it.

Beyond that, I pray to my goddess and take care of my health. I work out. I can't do much more except keep up on the news and avoid rumor and misinformation. It is so hard since the mainstream news is trying to frame the current outbreak in political terms, an offense for which I shall never forgive them for since lives are at stake here. I don't spread misinformation, nor do I take part in those gotcha wank-fests online. There is a point where we put the bullshit politics aside, and this is it.

I care about you, even if we are on the opposite sides of opinion. I want you to be here tomorrow so we can continue the discussion. I turn off the news when they get stupid and try to blame someone for the disease. I filter my news sources on a private Twitter list of people I trust and that aren't hyperbolic. I turned off some cable news sources that are too political. They are not helping.

But using this to score points, push a viewpoint, or crash the economy is a terrible, terrible thing that will cause the loss of lives and livelihoods of the innocent. It is unforgivable behavior.

Not now.

Put your hate aside, show some restraint and compassion, and help your fellow neighbor.