Coronavirus has a lot to teach us.


Or rather, the way the world has responded to it does.


There are those who are overreacting and those who are underreacting. There are those in denial and those in overdrive. And then there are those who are controlling the message.


We can take something from all of it.


When the New York Stock Exchange closed on Friday, it ended the worst week the stock market had seen since 2008 — and that was definitely not a good year. American investors weren't alone in their suddenly tepid strategies. Markets in China, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy, Australia and South Korea all dropped, too. If coronavirus is a pandemic, it is accompanied by a kind of economic flu that is just as contagious.


The flow of information in China seemed better than 17 years ago with SARS. But two weeks ago, the way they counted the number of cases changed in a blink and the diagnosed totals ballooned. On Friday, the worldwide number of cases approached 85,000. The number of deaths crept closer to 3,000, according to the World Health Organization.


The U.S. has been luckier. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting just


62 total cases, 47 of which were contracted in China or on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and then brought home.


But we fight a different battle as different agencies and experts put out conflicting information.


"I don't think it's inevitable," President Trump said in a press conference on Wednesday.


"I think we are in the beginning stages of a pandemic," said Pittsburgh-based infectious disease and critical care physician Dr. Amesh Adalja in an interview with the Tribune-Review.


"Are you going to see some schools shut down? Probably. May you see impacts on public transportation? Sure," said White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland on Friday.


There are few diagnosed cases, but there are more people waiting to be tested.


An Associated Press fact-checking article said Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Mike Bloomberg made inaccurate comments on coronavirus readiness.


Our leaders need to learn two lessons from what they have all done so far. Give people information and make sure it's correct.


The economic response is a writ-large, monetary version of what people are thinking and feeling about the virus. They are confused and unsure, soothed on one side and alarmed on the other. Investors don't know what to do because people don't know what to do.


We need more information, not less. We need consistent information that is scientifically based, not political.


In short, we all need a good, strong dose of the truth.


Originally published by The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.