- Mainstream media accused of downplaying coronavirus by deceptively comparing it to the flu.
- Tucker Carlson at Fox News says official tally in the U.S. is misleading.
- With only three health centers in place to detect the virus, many more people could be infected.
Despite the coronavirus outbreak infecting more than 80,000 people and showing signs of a true pandemic by as early as January, the media was quick to spread the “coronavirus is less dangerous than the seasonal flu” narrative.
Tucker Carlson at Fox News heavily criticized the media for downplaying the seriousness of coronavirus.
Even before South Korea, Italy, and Iran confirmed the emergence of local epidemics affecting nearly 2,000 people combined, the coronavirus outbreak had all the signs of turning into a global pandemic.
The most critical hint that the Chinese government was anticipating the outbreak to expand at the current pace was the lockdown of the entire Hubei area.
The Hubei Province and its capital Wuhan have a population of over 58 million. It is not in the interest of China to impose such a severe lockdown and home quarantine on tens of millions of people because it imposes significant pressure on its economy.
Major banks are reportedly at risk of defaults and millions of businesses are vulnerable to bankruptcy as banks struggle to finance companies in the country.
Yet, even after the lockdown was initiated, the narrative that the seasonal flu is somehow more dangerous than coronavirus started to spread.
The theory was easily rebutted; while the seasonal flu has a fatality rate of a mere 0.1 percent, it exceeds 2.3 percent for coronavirus.
As CCN.com reported, recent estimates have shown that coronavirus is at least 20 times deadlier than the seasonal flu.
Carlson condemned the media that told readers to not worry about the coronavirus outbreak, adding:
Countless publications wagged their fingers in the face of readers and told them it was irrational and probably immoral, in fact, to worry more about coronavirus than the annual flu.
Numbers likely to be much higher in the U.S.
As of Friday, February 21st, the New York Times reported 34 cases of the coronavirus infection citing federal health officials. Tucker claimed that the number is misleading.
There are not enough health centers in the U.S. to detect the disease to begin with, and less than 500 people have been tested.
Officials in our country have reported about three dozen cases of the virus in the U.S. so far. But that is a misleading number. The truth is, we have no real idea how many Americans are infected. Why? Here’s why. As of Yesterday, only three public health labs in the entire country were properly equipped to detect the virus.
Compared to the stance China, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Austria, and several other countries are taking, the response of the U.S. to the coronavirus outbreak has been lackluster to date.
Considering the deceptive narrative around coronavirus and the seriousness of the pandemic that flooded the media up until late January, it could take even more time for awareness to increase and for both the people and officials to take the right approach.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.