Pandemic or Media Hype?

Probably a little bit of both!

At the restaurant last night, they wouldn’t allow us to hold a menu. We had to read it taped to the window, but they were fine with handing us a wine list and serving us directly without gloves.

Speculation that is whirling in the psyches of the population causing a frenzy of anxiety is because of extreme media coverage in my mind.

The media ‘report’ that we may have a second wave – we may have a peak in the first wave – it may not be a good time to open schools- we may expose people to too much risk. We may … it could … we may … the truth is, there isn’t much news on the News these days.  Rather, what I observe is a lot of speculation.


There is no better time than now to remove the emotion out of decision-making to help yourself.  When we are motivated by fear, we typically do the wrong thing.  Two major non pandemic examples from my life to demonstrate:


I got married the first time because I thought I was getting old and would never find a husband.  I was 27. I got divorced 9 years later after ‘trying’ to make it work when I knew our match wasn’t right from the start.  Saying yes was a fear-based decision.


4 years ago, I decided to ski the last run of the day on Whistler mountain because I knew my husband wanted to continue skiing, even though my intuition was telling me not to.  I didn’t want him to be disappointed.    On that last run, I wiped out and fractured my pelvis in several places.  My body has never been the same.  The result of a fear-based decision.


Now, when I make an important decision or find myself in a difficult negotiation personally or professionally, I step into Observer.  I put myself in 3rd position, looking at events around me, how the other person(s) is reacting, and how I am reacting and feeling.  It’s a kind of Zen stance.  I like to think of Observer as my inner monk watching the movie that is playing out in front of me.


And oh, what a movie the world is wrapped up in right now!  The non-stop media COVID-19 feed has a large percentage of the population living in fear. Some people take on what the media says as gospel when really some of the information is true and some of it isn’t.  And what we must remember is that the end game for the ‘News’ is to get ratings, so the more sensational the better.


I am not suggesting that all the media messages are bad.  I choose to be discerning with my time on media.  Below are two exceptional bits of information. One from a celebrity broadcaster out of Oz and the other from a Professor from the USA.  Two very different but likeminded people.


Sky News Australia host Alan Jones get some things off his chest in the broadcast link below. He is described as the nation’s greatest orator and motivational speaker; he has the mind and capacity to make complex issues understandable to the largest breakfast audience in Australia with his Alan Jones Breakfast Show.


I found him refreshingly pleasing to listen to.  He rates high for me taking a step back and making sense among the media frenzy of the pandemic.  This is an amazing feat as I am weary of the constant stream of speculation by the media.


Key messages that I paraphrase from Mr. Jones:


The private sector has made all the economic sacrifices while government officials haven’t. They continue to get paid.


This pandemic has had the greatest negative economic effect the world has ever seen.  Things are out of control because the bureaucrats are running the show saying we’ll get back to normal when there is a vaccine.  Yet a vaccine may never be developed.  The economy is smashed.


People getting the virus each year is like getting the flu.  For most of us, the symptoms will be mild.  Yes, it will affect the more vulnerable, but we know how to protect them.”


Me:  According to the South China Morning Post, 17 years after the SARS and Mers outbreaks, there is still no coronavirus vaccine despite dozens of attempts to develop them.


At the time of his broadcast, 2.6 million people had the virus out of a global population of 7.7 billion and of the 2.6 million, 98.3% of the cases were mild.  Why the alarmism?”


He quotes Professor John Ioannidis of Stanford University in California.  Prof Ioannides is a physician-scientist & writer who has made major contributions to evidence-based medicine, epidemiology and clinical research.  Ioannidis studies scientific research itself, meta-research primarily in clinical medicine and the social sciences.


“If we had not known about a new virus out there and had not checked individuals and the PRC tests, the number of total deaths due to influenza-like illness’ would not seem unusual this year”. 


“On May 20th, globally, 320,000 people died of Covid-19 whereas 3.1 million people died of cancer, 5 million from communicable disease (such as cholera, malaria, hepatitis) and 1. 9 million from smoking. 


Billions of lives are at stake as a result of the actions taken by governments to combat Covid-19.  There are businesses without business, people without jobs, children cooped up at home, children not in school, nobody able to take a holiday.  We are now a damaged society. We know how to look after the vulnerable.  It doesn’t have to be like this.”


From my perspective, I agree with him. It doesn’t have to be like this.  Observer sees a lot more people dying because they cannot be attended to because hospitals are shut to non-essential procedures and through the likes of alcoholism, increased depression leading to greater suicides and physical abuse.


Perhaps now that we know what it is like to be locked in cages, we will be kinder to animals?


Another to watch to get something beyond speculation is Anne Marie Knot of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Admittedly not an epidemiologist.  Her primary research interest is innovation.  Her work takes two forms:  large scale R & D and entrepreneurship. She created the venture amkANALYTICS to help firms identify their optimal R & D investment and improve their R & D productivity.


For me, this means she is a great analyser.


Check out her presentation, ‘Why you haven’t caught Covid-19’ on YouTube.


She likens the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the US Navy, as a petri dish from which we can garner good data about the pandemic.


Again, I paraphrase, “It is densely populated with the equivalent population of 1 million per square mile, in other words, 98 people in your house.  They sleep on stacked bunk beds, stacked 3 high.  Of the 4954 men on board, in the first 15 days, 856 of them tested positive, while 4098 were negative for a ‘R’ rating of 0.48%. Thus 82.7% of the population won’t get the virus even if living with someone who has it.


She goes on to site the Diamond Princess cruise ship who had a slightly higher infection rate at 0.48% with 9 deaths.  This is because the average age on board was 69 where the average on the USS Theodore Roosevelt was 19 years old.


Let’s look at Los Angeles Country that has stringent lock-down procedures versus Sweden with a laxer regime.  True, Sweden does have double the cases but when one breaks it down, L.A. has 1/1000 while Sweden has 2/1000 people.


Presently the US Government is spending 50X more on Covid-19 than on heart disease and 80X more than on the flu resulting in an extra annual tax bill of $880 per year for each American. This will increase as government aid increases.


An antibody is of little value.


Deaths have peaked in most countries and there is no evidence of second waves.”


Personally, I think there is a greater good behind all the hubbub. Forever an optimist I see good things happening all around us because of how we’re not accepting how we’ve been treated as a society by our governments.  Politicians who capitalize on this pandemic better best beware.  Companies that do not help society when they have deep pockets will suffer a brand nightmare.


And I can imagine someone reading this blog offended because I’ve called this ‘pandemic’ hubbub.  The disease is real and anyone who is in pain from it, my heart goes out to you.  My heart goes out to anyone who has fallen ill or lost someone. Believe me, in life I have had my share of health issues and heart ache.  That is real.


From my perspective, the world’s reaction is disproportionate to the virus and that is what is causing us real harm.  An interesting diddy across Facebook the other day. Unfortunately, I don’t know who first said it so I cannot quote them.   They summed the current beautifully.


Who would have thought we’d see a virus so intelligent that it knows not to infect anyone in grocery stores, only in bars and restaurants.



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