Covid-19 Media Coverage Is More Than Any Recent Outbreak But Is It Too Much?
Some people question: is Covid-19 getting too much media coverage?
After all, it’s similar to a flu (a comparison that even we here at TRP have made). Its fatality rate is markedly less than other viruses such as Ebola and SARS. Most people recover from it.
But the way the outbreak started had garnered wide-spread attention. Initial conversation around the novel coronavirus ranged from its origins in a Wuhan wet market to the racist backlash felt by Asians around the world.
This, coupled with the extensive use of social media, the many sensationalized aspects of the epidemic, and false news has led to extensive coverage of Covid-19 in all forms of media.
It was only later when more information was readily available that the world started to prepare prevention measures and guides on dealing with the epidemic.
Even then, the social stigma associated with Covid-19 is so high the World Health Organization had to release a guide to maintain factual and neutral when discussing the virus.
But is the Covid-19 simply media hype? Is it sensationalism? Is it fear-mongering?
The key things to note about Covid-19 is that it is a worry: a rapid human-spread virus that has no current vaccine is a call for us to take additional precautions.
Italy found out the hard way when preventive measures were not adopted, leading to the largest number of infected individuals outside of China.
Since 9th March 2020, Italy has effectively been shut down with no one allowed to travel freely without a pre-approved legally binding document.
Yet the biggest problem with a lackadaisical attitude to prevention is the risk it poses to others.
During an outbreak, there is immense stress on hospitals. When large numbers of patients are diagnosed with the disease in a day, hospitals may not be able to cope.
Overseas, epidemiologists call for stronger cases of prevention to “flatten the curve” and avoid overwhelming hospitals. Slowing down the rate of an epidemic basically buys time for everyone.
Because the coronavirus is new, there is no known cure. Vaccines are being developed, but can take up to a year before it’s ready for the public. Which is why prevention is the only thing the public can actively do.
Luckily for us, Malaysia’s healthcare is solid and the Ministry of Health is already prepared for any eventual spike of Covid-19 patients. But our focus should still be on prevention.
Preventing the spread of Covid-19 is similar to the concept of herd immunity. Even if young healthy adults are able to recover from the virus, they can still easily spread it to those who won’t be able to recover.
However, by limiting the number of infected individuals in the first place, there will be less of a risk of infecting the high-risk population.
It’s already known that the virus is deadlier to the elderly, those with preexisting respiratory illnesses, and the immuno-compromised.
So to protect the vulnerable population of our society, everyone should practice preventive measures, not just those in the high-risk group.
While it is true that there are plenty of other diseases that are far deadlier, the media hype is a reminder for us to just do these easy preventive measures, because it’s the only thing we can do in the face of Covid-19.
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Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.