Compound word: panic + epidemic = pandemic . . . .
(For the literary critics out there, I prefer four dots when I dangle an ellipsis, but hey, that's just the Olde-English part of KEB. The North American proof-readers hate it!)
Without wishing to diminish the absolute gravity of the plague that has been (and surely still is) amongst us, have you noticed how the powers-that-be never want us - the general public, the faceless masses, the ordinary folk, the people who pay their wages - to panic? You can do just about every other darned stupid thing that you can possibly imagine during a major crisis, but whatever you do, do not panic. You can protest with assault rifles within the hallowed halls of the state legislative buildings; you can maim and kill black people in the name of the law; you can advise people from the highest position of trust and power to inject bleach into their veins as a means of inoculation; but by all that is right and decent, you must not panic.
They've gotta take the fun out of everything. There's nothing more refreshingly joyful in the midst of a hellacious catastrophe than to have a good old-fashioned, let-it-all-hang-loose panicking session. Let fear take over. Fight or flight? Let's do the flight thing and run away from the monster! We all want to do it. It's part of human nature and to heck with staying cool, calm and collected. I'm sure even the stone-faced doctors on TV issuing their frighteningly sober edicts to all and sundry would enjoy a little private time to seriously and jubilantly freak out and really put the 'panic' in pandemic. I wonder what exactly it is about the population going into panic mode that is so terribly worrisome to our lords and masters. Could it be that panic represents the dreaded and unthinkable threshold past which all authoritarian control is lost? The point at which the masses turn on their masters?