In the late 60’s, a new virus started spreading through the world. People have speculated that it’s origins were somewhere in Africa, where the virus made the jump from chimpanzees to humans. This virus spread unbeknownst to anyone, and with little to no knowledge or awareness, by the 80’s, this virus started wreaking havoc. The virus was labeled AIDS, and a world wide pandemic alert was raised, causing the WHO to aggressively start treatment research, putting in preventative measures and spreading awareness of the virus. All this in a time well before the internet, let alone social media.
I write this story not to directly compare the severity of AIDS to COVID-19, but rather use as an example why the narrative of “overblown media” and “overhyping the virus” is wrong.
You see, COVID-19 as a single entity is not the worst virus to ever exist on earth. But it has the potential to kill hundreds of million of people. It is a virus that spreads easily, has mild symptoms, and mimics other less scary diseases. It is a virus you may have any never think about getting tested and getting really checked out, rather just drinking your flu medicine and waiting for it to pass. It is a virus that can seriously spread around the world at an alarming rate.
COVID-19 at the moment has a 2-3% mortality rate, a rate as reported on the current numbers, and from developed countries with good health systems. Imagine what the mortality rate would be is more people from countries with less in place health systems
And so, COVID-19 dominates media coverage. Less than one month after it’s discovery, the whole world sprung into action, putting in place preventative measures, talking about it, raising awareness, trying to curb the spread of a disease that could kill millions. And so, in an effort to combat this, many companies and countries put in place strict travel rules, additional health checks etc. Even in SA you will find a few more cleaning requirements to do before being admitted to certain hospitals.
So what about other diseases that is currently killing more people? What about TB, the flu, or anything else? Well, awareness campaigns and discussion in media of these diseases means that at the moment, while they may be deadly, they do not pose a massive threat to the world. The world knows about them, known how to prevent them, knows where they come from, and how to treat them. COVID-19 is not there yet. There is way too much misinformation about it’s origin, its mortality, and how fast it mutates. But it’s good that the greater population of earth is made aware of this in order to combat it far earlier than other viruses.
In summary, the media coverage might seem overblown and a bit too much, but the awareness it creates is EXACTLY why such media coverage is needed. Here we are, geeks and nerds, on a gaming website, talking about it, creating awareness and spreading information about it. This is the best way this virus will not become a world wide pandemic catastrophe.