Well, what a world we’re living in, eh? In the UK, until the general election on 12 December 2019 where 43% of the vote resulted in an 80 seat majority for the winning party, everything prior to that was about Brexit.
Here we are now, coming up four months into this Government’s ‘rule’ and Brexit is hardly mentioned. It will be again believe me, but just not for the moment.
We have had floods, front page for a while and now hardly remembered, and now Corona virus, aka COVID-19.
The media are going wild, seemingly enjoying the tensions they are raising by their coverage of this virus. ‘Death Ship’ was one of the ‘best’ I read recently. It was about an elderly passenger with previous medical issues who had left a cruise ship some weeks before, and had died due to COVID-19. Death Ship? Really?
You can almost imagine the morning meeting in some of these so-called responsible rags with the Editor saying, ‘Okay, folks, as we all know, readership has been dropping for some time now and marketing has told me that we can increase sales by mentioning Corona virus on the front page and the following seven. What’s that, Boris? Corona beer? No you idiot, Corona virus, y’know, that thing that’s killing millions of people.’
Except that it’s not, killing millions of people that is. A quick look at the research, (and not just one source), confirms this. In comparison to SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), COVID-19 is likely more highly transmissible but not as deadly.
SARS had a Case Fatality Rate, CFR, of 9.6%; MERS a CFR of 34.4%. Since the end of December 2019 and as of 9 March 2020, there have been 109,695 cases of COVID-19 reported including 3,811 deaths.
In the majority of the research reports, the CFR for COVID-19 is 2.3% with older age and acute respiratory distress syndrome correlated with mortality.
Yes, it’s horrible, and yes, disruptive, and yes, causing financial and social mayhem. But it’s not helped by the lack of balance I’m seeing in many news providers or those low-lifes who exist in the foetid swamps of Facebook and Twitter. There are also some who think it’s part of a plot by, (just put your own prejudice here – religion, race, sexual orientation, skin colour, oh, the list can go on, and on, and on…) The current incumbent in the White House comes to mind with some of his recent rants.
So, let’s have some balance here. COVID-19 will pass. Some outcomes of this virus will be very, very unpleasant. However, the world will move on. The decency and caring that is the usual approach to challenges faced by the people I have in my life, and mirrored in countless others, will remain. They’re balanced, they’re caring, and they’re very human. We will all move on.
To repeat, let’s have some balance here. Shit happens, okay? It’s how this particular challenge is dealt with that will define us.
J J Mitchell
‘No one left behind’