Are you feeling muddled about the facts of the Coronavirus? I know that I am. This is partly due to conflicting messages in the media, and let’s face it, it is so very difficult these days to know whether what we read in the media is true. It seems increasingly common to read a ‘shock’ headline, which turns out to have no basis in truth at all. For example, the headline: “Black’s Bank Investigated for Fraud” turns out to be a story about a routine investigation, which all banks undergo routinely every year, and which includes a check for fraud. But what we remember, is the link between the fraud and the bank—even though there never was one.
This is dangerous. This results in the media becoming little more than entertaining gossip, so we stop taking it seriously, and the hugely important function of keeping us informed, of keeping our leaders accountable, of spreading useful information, becomes obsolete. We need a media that we can trust.
Now, back to Coronavirus, how do we know what to believe? We are told that it is similar to seasonal flu, and it can be dangerous for the elderly and vulnerable. We are told how many new cases there are, on a daily basis, and how many people have died from the virus.
But have none of those patients recovered? Why are we not hearing about the thousands of people who have contracted the disease, been mildly ill, and now are well again? Why are we not hearing about the progress of a possible vaccine, and when scientists hope it might be available? Are they even working on a vaccine—I assume they are, but I have heard nothing about it. The news has been full of new hospitals being built, and increased risk, and new laws. Nothing on a vaccine or cure.
We are told it originated in China, and this seems to have provoked a stream of racism against Asian people, which reminds me of the very worst parts of our history, when we refused to learn anything about other cultures and anything different was deemed inferior. Undoubtedly some cultural differences are inferior—but others are incredibly superior. We focus less on those.
For example, the wearing of face masks. All the Asian people who I know (and I know a lot) tell me that people wear face masks to protect other people. If a Chinese person has a nasty cold, when they are shopping, or using public transport, they will wear a face mask to protect others. This seems to be beyond the scope of most English people, who automatically assume that a face mask is to protect the wearer. If you want to buy a face mask on Amazon, the write-up is all about whether the mask will protect the wearer, absolutely nothing about whether it will stop the spread of germs from the wearer to others. This is the sort of point that the media could highlight. But it doesn’t.
I have no idea what to expect from the spread of Coronavirus. I don’t know whether to prepare to catch it, or assume it will have died out this time next week. But I do know that I would like the media to change, and for it to start giving us actual facts and unbiassed information, and less sensational reports; because then we can start to make informed decisions.
Thanks for reading.
If you do happen to be ill, confined to bed, and need entertaining, the ideal book to read is:
UK link: Here
US link: Here