First it was Y2K, then it was SARS, then it was bird flu, then it was the financial crisis, then it was swine flu, then it was a presidential candidate (pick whichever one you hated most), then it was Ebola, and now it is Covid-19 (coronavirus).

Point being, if you are a millennial or older, the end has been nigh more than once, and though sometimes things can get pretty bad--swine flu, or H1N1, killed thousands of Americans during the worst economic downturn in decades--America and the world are still here and still kicking.

Of course, if you scrolled through your social media feed, you would be forgiven for thinking that this time, things are different. 

Probably not, according to public health officials.

Unfortunately, our culture long ago disregarded the claims of experts.

Instead, we often prefer the all-caps opinions of the woefully uninformed, distant family members and casual acquaintances who populate our social media feeds--many of whom are already more than ready to offer up expert analysis on a wide variety of topics.

So, what can you do--besides practicing basic hygiene, approaching travel with reasonable precaution.

You can use your platform--no matter how small--to wield influence wisely.

"There is obviously a serious risk to public health with this virus, especially among specific segments of the population," said Mathieu Sanders, chief operating officer of ApexDrop Influence Marketing, and a former emergency manager and business continuity expert. "However, each of us can influence the behavior of others, especially if we have some level of trust among our social media connections and followers. Right now, it is essential that we all focus on sharing factual, accurate information from public health officials--rather than attempting to be public health professionals."

You do not need to be Kendall Jenner in order to change the behavior of others. If you choose to post about the virus, share accurate, value-added information. The stock market may drop, because that is what the stock market can do when there is bad news. Sharing minute-by-minute updates about perceived financial calamity or new coronavirus cases only adds to the noise--and to the fear.

Do what you can to help truly vulnerable populations.

Use your platform wisely.

Use your influence wisely.

Exercise reason and logic, and you'll find that your influence will grow.