Stay Well: Psychology of coronavirus

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It is ‘Stay Well Day’ here at Channel 8. We are prioritizing your health and how to best protect yourself. With coronavirus cases on the rise worldwide due to more people being tested, some local shoppers have been clearing shelves at stores across the valley.

Many say they are preparing for the worst. 8 News NOW Reporter Sally Jaramillo discusses the psychology of coronavirus.

Stephen Benning is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UNLV and he explained the psychology of coronavirus and what’s leading some to act a certain way.

“When we perceive societal immediate threats our minds immediately go to how can we save ourselves,” said Stephen Benning, Assistant Professor of Psychology, UNLV.

Benning says ordinarily, coughing or sneezing could be related to a cold, allergies, perhaps the flu, but recently, it’s being compared to something worse.

“Even the most innocuous even the most mundane everyday kinds of things that people do becomes magnified,” added Benning,” added Benning.

Especially once we start hearing statistics of people dying, the concern magnifies.

“Just the possibility of having to deal with it sparks fear in people’s minds,” added Benning.

Benning says there is always a push for disaster plans, but it is often ignored.

The concerns regarding the virus are causing customers to stock up on water, hand sanitizers, and masks.

“Now that there is an acute threat to people’s health it seems like all possible disaster preparedness things are getting activated at once,” added Benning.

Then there is the panic over the empty shelves.

“This is what we sometimes call the tragedy of the commons where everyone is acting in their own self-interest in a way that ends up depleting the resources for everyone,” added Benning.

Benning recommends getting your information from well-sourced locations rather than rumors or social media posts.

“It may be helpful not to read those kinds of things or if that’s prevalent in a person’s timeline or feed to take a break,” said Stephen Benning- Assistant Professor of Psychology UNLV.

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