Pandemic Fear: Types and Tips for Coping

Coronavirus fear is real and affecting individuals and entities in unique ways. This coronavirus pandemic that we are fighting against is serious and deserving of attention. It’s affecting our cultures, economies, lifestyles and mental health.

Countries, communities, families and individuals are mourning the loss of their loved ones to COVID-19. Some of us are battling for our lives in hospitals right now due to this microscopic agent.

No wonder, people have shown through their behaviours that their coronavirus fears are as real as the coronavirus itself. Some have panicked and gone for irrational panic buying others have taken it with faith and hope that this too shall be overcome.

Which side are you on? 

Check out this useful resource by the World Health Organization: Mental Health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak

How Realistic is Your Coronavirus Fear?

Of course, humanity is always mourning. People are always fighting for their lives while in hospital; there’s nothing new to that. Humanity has faced pandemics before, there’s nothing new to that either.

However, COVID-19 is happening here, now, at this moment, and to a great magnitude, affecting people all over the world. So, what exactly is it that you fear about this pandemic? Is it so much the fear of death or the fear of disease?

Don’t let your COVID-19 fear to turn irrational.

Extreme exposure to fear isn’t good for your mental and physical health. That is, your immunity requires you to be in a good mental state. 

In the wake of this pandemic, the fear of coronavirus can develop into phobias of people, places, situations and the like. You can take preventive measures to curb this.

Before you can reduce your coronavirus fear, think about what your exact fear is concerning the virus. Then ascertain whether your fear is based on facts or myths. 

Check out this WHO link: COVID-19 Myth Busters

Types of Coronavirus Fears

The following are common coronavirus fears in the general population.

Fear of isolation

Staying away from people is one of the measures we have been advised to take to contain COVID-19. For some, the idea of social distancing is difficult to pull off because it requires multiple adjustments. You may fear loneliness as a result of limited contact with others. You may fear being separated from loved ones.

Fear of lacking basic needs

How am I going to pay my rent? How will I eat if I stay at home? There’s the fear of being unable to meet basic needs if the containment measures prolong over a long period. Especially for people who can’t work from home. There is the risk of losing sources of income due to the necessary containment measures such as social distancing. 

Fear of infection

It’s normal to fear for the health of your family and friends. COVID-19 increased the fear of getting infected (or infecting others.) It’s scary how fast and easy it is to contract the virus. The discomfort caused by the disease is also a valid reason for fear. You might fear people or the mere thought of leaving your house.

Fear of death

Like any other diseases, some circumstances account for individual risk factors of severe infection. You might be fearful if you or your loved one falls in the categories of people identified as being at high risk of getting COVID-19 such as health workers dealing firsthand with affected patients, people with already existing medical conditions, and those in old age.

Fear of the future

An absence of facts is frightening. You may fear drastic change or to lose your lifestyle as you know it and start to live a different life in future. You might fear that this is the end of the world and it’s the apocalypse. 

Adapt and Embrace Change-Why is it Difficult to Change?

50 Inspirational Quotes About Adapting to Change

Coping with Coronavirus Fear

coping with coronavirus fear

How have you coped with fear of illness before? Did you successfully manage to avoid it completely?

Here are more tips for coping with coronavirus fears. Individuals have different ways of coping and maybe you have used some of these tips before. If you are scared about coronavirus, try these tips.

Be prepared 

There’s a thin line between panic and preparedness. Panic aggravates fear.  Preparedness alleviates fear. And to be prepared you need to keep updated about the spread of the virus especially where you live. The adage knowledge is power is relevant in this case.

Be prepared to give up old behaviours that were previously harmless but now are not conducive. It’s about not denying or minimizing the seriousness of coronavirus and avoiding the precautionary measures. Have a simple plan of curbing the virus in case it affects you or a loved one.

Check out this Detailed Planning Guidance to help you prepare.

For instance, we were used to big gatherings in places of worship, celebrations, sports, funerals and conferences. However, now such have been banned in various places as a way to curb COVID-19. Be prepared to adapt to such changes and many more to come as a matter of survival. Choose preparedness over panic. If already infected, choose patience over fear.

Stick to trustworthy sources of information

We now have a universal goal that requires your active participation. The goal is to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which if otherwise left unchecked, will affect more people.

Knowing how COVID-19 is spread, transmitted, prevented, or treated may help to balance your coronavirus fears.

Unfortunately, some people are spreading fake, alarmist, stereotypical, and panic-ridden information thus worsening people’s fears. It’s kind not to be a source of alarm and panic to others by spreading your fears as if they were the truth.

To minimize your chances of increased fear, follow updates from renowned reliable sources like the World Health Organization instead of doomsday naysayers. WHO has regional offices which can help you keep track of COVID-19 in your area.

Remember that “reliable information” doesn’t always mean good news, but at least you get facts rather than mere opinions and speculations. 

Some reliable links:

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention – Scientific Publications

Oxford University Press COOVID-19 Resources

Accept uncertainty

There’s uncertainty about when COVID-19 will come to an end, if you will get it, or if you already have it whether you will be among the successful patients who have healed or not.

Under normal circumstances, we often face an uncertain future. However, this pandemic has enhanced the uncertainty and the realization of how some things are within, and some beyond, our control.

Counter your fearful thoughts of the uncertain future such as “what will happen next? or “how long will it take?” by focusing on the now and looking at the positive effects of staying home more such as spending time with your family.

If you are already infected, take heart in the knowledge that thousands of people have responded well to treatment and tested negative for the virus. Choose hope over fear and do your part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

coping with coronavirus fear

Practise self-discipline

Now is not the time for aimless scrolling social media feeds and reading everything about COVID-19 that comes your way. It’s time to take individual responsibility for the sake of your well being and consequently that of your community.

It’s needless to worry and let your fear turn to anger when other people seem to forego precautions. Take precautions at a personal level and keep reminding each other and helping those who are needy at this time if you can.

We have received the directives from experts dealing with the virus, but no one will follow you to check if you have washed your hands. It takes self-discipline to do that.

Maintain connections

You can still maintain connections with people although social lives cannot continue being the same as before. Maintaining connections with other people will help you to cope.

Coronavirus fear is not like other individual fears which are hard to understand since you are not alone in this. It’s universal.

Having a support system has always proved useful as a coping mechanism. Thanks to modern technology, though the sense of touch has been compromised, you can connect with others.

Continue focusing on your life NOW

Not everything has to change, although a lot has to. It’s sadly cliche, but true that “life goes on.” COVID-19 has not put a standstill to your need for food.  Although many of us are losing our sources of income, continue taking care of yourself and living in the moment.

We are keeping a physical distance between each other, but we are not foregoing basic self-care. Go outside and get some fresh air, continue exercising your mind and body, maintain healthy eating habits etc.

Also, we need one another more than ever, we can’t fear everybody otherwise starvation will get you before coronavirus. It’s irrational to hold prejudices against people simply because they come from known “COVID-19 hotspot.”

The world has enough to deal with now, it’s not a time for subjective prejudices and biases regarding people’s skin colour, gender or other discriminatory factors. COVID-19 is already here and it doesn’t discriminate. Reduce the Stigma.

Fear is only helpful if it moves you to do useful actions like seeking treatment or adopting preventive measures against coronavirus. Adapting to precautionary habits will go a long way to lower the risk of infection.


If you are having a hard time coping with coronavirus fears, or are developing irrational fears (like fear of digital coronavirus infection) there’s no harm in seeking professional help through online counselling. 

Life is for living. Keep living. Don’t give up.

Disclaimer: The material in this article is factual and true to the best understanding of the author and should not substitute professional advice. Check WHO website for COVID-19 updates: World Health Organization

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