Social and news media reports triggered a bed bug panic in Paris during the city’s Fashion Week. But, experts say it has been ‘hyped up” because the tiny insects have been feeding on human blood for thousands of years and are found worldwide. The number of bed bugs rises and falls, and it seemed to drop in the COVID pandemic when people traveled less. The creatures often hitchhike in luggage. Public panic over the bugs also rises and falls as it travels about the globe. A decade ago it swept New York City. Panic eventually ends, but not the bugs.
Class discussion: There is no evidence bed bugs spread disease, but the irritating bites can cause skin rashes or allergic reactions. Are you scared of these tiny bugs? Why or why not? Would you avoid traveling to Paris or some other city because of bed bug reports? Would you cancel a trip to next summer’s Olympic Games in Paris? What panics have been spread by social media and news reports? How can you tell if a threat is real or just hype? What evidence do believe? Do you proceed with caution or hide away after an alarming report? Can you Keep Calm and Carry On?