The facts on coronavirus aren’t all scary. So why are we so afraid?

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Coronavirus has the world on edge.

The outbreak is now a global pandemic, and seven weeks after the first U.S. case was announced outside of Seattle, the number of people in the U.S. now known to be infected with the new strain has surpassed 1,000, with 38 dead. And the numbers keep climbing.

Coast to coast, large public gatherings and major events have been canceled. Employees have been told to work from home, universities have moved all classes online and elementary schools have closed for sanitizing. The stock market has seen meteoric crashes. Declarations of emergency are being proclaimed and New York has deployed the National Guard.

As the number of confirmed cases of illness caused by the coronavirus grows, so too does the nation’s collective uncertainty. Psychologists and public health experts say public anxiety is high, and it’s largely fueled by a feeling of powerlessness.

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