Coronavirus, is there a more topical subject to blog on at the moment? The ‘pandemic’ that has gripped the world, shut down regions and dominated news stations recently. Reports lead us to believe that the world is coming to an end. Action plans are in place to close down schools, villages and entire regions should the number of cases rise. At the time of writing this the fear is that there are a large number of undiagnosed patients as the number of cases ‘soars’ by 13.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading over the weekend about the dreaded Covid 19 and all this did was stir me. The facts are that, at the time of writing, there are 88,347 confirmed cases of coronavirus. It is the most contagious disease of modern times, it has the potential to infect a lot more people, but does it warrant the response it is getting? To provide a little context. Of the 88,000 people infected, 3,001 have died. A mortality rate of 3.4%, sadly it is claiming lives. Compare this to the Ebola outbreak some years ago, of the 28,000 people who contracted Ebola, over 11,000 died, a mortality rate of 40%. There is quite a difference, the difference between coronavirus deaths and other causes of death is pretty big as well. 

On the deadliest night of the coronavirus epidemic, the virus claimed the lives of 108 people. Looking at averages, on the same night, 2,174 people will have committed suicide, 2,615 people will have died from HIV/Aids, 4301 people will have died from diarrheal diseases, 26,192 people will have died from cancer and 48,740 people will have died from heart disease. On that day, and every subsequent day, over 23,000 people will have died from hunger. In fact, since the first confirmed coronavirus case, 2.1 million people have died of hunger. Those figures suddenly don’t make it look like such an apocalyptic prospect.

The funding that goes into this ‘pandemic’ has intrigued me a little as well. I look at the constant coverage on the news, the persistent newspaper headlines and the thousands spent ‘researching the origins’ and I can’t help but think that the money would be best used elsewhere. There are action plans in place that allow public sectors to take the law into their own hands and react as they see fit. As a teacher I’m not sure which is the most terrifying prospect, coronavirus or increased class sizes due to potential staff absence! Couldn’t this be put to better use? Especially given that of those that contract coronavirus only 20% will need specialised medical care.  

Could we use the platforms that we have, news rooms, newspaper headlines and social media followings, to fight other killers, hunger for example? Could we not do so much more with our money and our efforts? I definitely do not want to trivialise coronavirus or the death and destruction that it has caused but I do want to provide some context. If the same funding that went into reporting coronavirus, instead went into providing food for the hundreds of thousands of young children that go to sleep hungry, wouldn’t the world look like a much better place? 

What I am trying to say is that we need to take a long hard look at our priorities, and perhaps, change our perspective. What is it that we value? Where do we really want to see change? I feel a great sense of injustice when I look at the investment that coronavirus coverage has versus the real issues that face our world. The fact that in our own country people have to choose between heating their house and eating, that in eastern Europe mothers have to decide between giving their baby a bottle or a nappy and in Africa where countless parents listen to their children cry because they haven’t eaten, and have no meal in sight.

Instead of perpetuating the hype around coronavirus let’s make a real difference, let’s resolve to make the world a better place, whether that is through a donation to a humanitarian organisation or simply spreading the word on social media. Together we can make a difference.

 

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