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article imageOp-Ed: Coronavirus — How definitely not to report an epidemic

By Paul Wallis     Mar 4, 2020 in World
From the sheer hysteria generated by the media about coronavirus, you’d think the world was about to end. It isn’t. The people who gave you the disinformation industry are just being their usual skankish selves.
Check out any search and you’ll find the doom and gloom. I’m ashamed to say that in Australia we seem to be more hysterical than usual, with someone pulling a knife in a fight about buying toilet paper. Absurd headlines like “Another human to human infection in Sydney” add what to the issue? Do tell.
This is tabloid trash stuff. We move on down the endless rows of headlines to “Official coronavirus figures are wrong and everybody knows it.” This is from The Atlantic, a good news site, and they actually do have a point to make, but that headline….?
The problem is that all this negative reporting is based on generating clicks, not actual information. Statistics can be wrong, and having multiple reporting systems in different countries doesn’t help. Add to this the fact that many news sources are basically repeating information, so you’re really seeing the same information, just from somewhere else.
Information about basic hygiene in a pandemic/epidemic is never wasted. Issue being, of course, that it plugs in to the paranoia, and produces people flashing knives in supermarkets trying to get the healthy things they need.
Look at it this way:
Out of a population of 1.4 billion people in China, 2700 have died. Many have recovered and been released. The total number of infected people barely scratched a few percent of the total Chinese population.
Kids and healthy people aren’t considered at risk. The elderly and those with medical conditions are. Obviously the death toll is low, around 3 percent or considerably less, depending on which figures you believe.
So everybody goes nuts? The actual death toll is around 3,000 globally according to one source. So -3,000 people die, billions panic? Markets go nuts?
What, exactly, do you think you can do about it, fools?
The situation isn’t great, but we’re not talking about total disaster or serious numbers of dead by any stretch. More people die on the roads and from just about every other medical condition than this thing every day. It is absurd to beat up numbers like these into anything more than they are.
Reporting of such an important issue should be based on proven information, credible sources, and at least semi-credible commentators. The rest is clickbait of the worst kind. This epidemic is serious, but hardly at catastrophic levels or anything like it.
Panic can’t achieve anything good. It certainly isn’t achieving anything good. The markets are stampeding like cattle. Information quality isn’t focusing on anything but innuendo.
Leadership, there is none. None of the world’s leaders are saying “Focus!”Nobody’s saying “Get these ridiculously managed obscenely overpriced health systems in order,” either, I notice.
Coronavirus will come and go. With any luck, this idiotic, totally counterproductive approach to reporting health issues will go with it.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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