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Take Your Best Guess

Do people commonly panic during public health emergencies?

The correct answer is No.

True panic—excessive, irrational, and hysterical behavior based on fear—is relatively rare. But keep in mind that people do feel highly emotional during emergencies, and they want to take action to protect themselves. So when they swamp emergency hotlines with calls, they aren’t panicking—they just want information to keep themselves safe. Individual survival behaviors are not forms of panic.