I can agree with @13 that the government itself isn't displaying exponential levels of panic, but most individuals absolutely are. This is why I get more and more pissed off by the day. I live with people who legitimately believe that this virus is bio warfare, that 60% of the world's population is going to be dead within the next three months, and other wild conspiracy theories. Hell, there was even a discussion in my household about how this is no different than how AIDS was manufactured in a lab to wipe out gay people. I 1000% do not condone these views, and was horrified that people actually think such things, though given the source, I guess I shouldn't have been shocked.
So you know what? Until I see thousands of bodies stacked up in the streets, literally no access to food/meds/essentials, and complete economic devastation, I'm going to continue on with my regular routine, thank you very much. Now, don't get me wrong here, if I was sick, I would stay home, but that's just common sense. Or, it would be, if this country's employers actually gave a damn about their workers. Fortunately, I am in a position where I'm not employed, so I don't have to worry about that, but I agree that it's bad for people who have no choice but to risk infecting others to continue earning their living.
Also, odds are that, if you do get sick, you're going to have a normal, run of the mill case of the flu anyway, or a cold. Not fun things to be sure, but guess what? You should try not to spread any kind of bug around at all! Does it really take the threat of a pandemic to remind people to wash their hands, and to cover their mouths when they cough? If so, that's just stupid, those are things you should be doing all the time, and I can't believe I actually had to write that sentence. Perhaps all the journalists who keep having to say it feel the same way, at least I hope so.
A couple of you mentioned following the news to track the spread of the virus. Bad idea; the media is having a fucking field day with this, as they usually do. A lot of the blame for individual panic being as high as it is falls squarely on their shoulders. I'm not saying that you shouldn't stay informed, but at least vet your sources, and don't anxiously wait for 5 o'clock to roll around so you can suck up the day's doom and gloom like some kind of misery junkie. And, don't forget that this is an election year in the US, so all the reporting on this issue should definitely be viewed through that lens.
The glass is neither half empty nor half full. It's just holding half the amount it can potentially hold.