Coronavirus and Media Hype

Coronavirus and Media Hype

By Maryam Farooq Nisar

Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19 is the much talked about and alarming virus of the day. Those who have encountered this disease have reportedly fallen prey to fever, accompanied by cough, followed by difficulty in breathing. Acute cases can result in organ failure. Antibiotics can play no role in this viral pneumonia.

Recovery is dependent on the power of resistance in an individual. Many who have lost their lives were already suffering from poor health.

Recently first two cases of coronavirus have been detected in Pakistan. These two carriers of coronavirus had arrived from Iran where they contracted this virus. As a result most schools have been closed down in Karachi, and flights suspended to and fro Iran. It has been reported that there is a grave shortage of masks in markets, causing baffling fear and distress among people. However, the government has repeatedly asked people to stay calm and not to panic.

Anxiety and distress about this strange deadly virus seems to be spreading at a rapid pace. At times, it seems that this scare is spreading quicker than the virus itself as the subject endures to take over the media. This virus has been stated as an ‘irrepressible epidemic’ which will ultimately lead to the culmination of the world. Take the example of CNN which has published approximately 1,200 articles stating this outburst whereas, Fox News has taken the lead by producing 1,300 articles. A coronavirus tab has been attached to the homepage of NBC News, placing it on equal footing as sports, business, and world. Shortly after the news of the outbreak of coronavirus, more than half of the news stories on Reuters’ newswire were about this, pushing aside other topics.

The colossal worldwide hype created by media about coronavirus is principally due to WHO’s (World Health Organization) pronouncement, to state this a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Once that is declared, it is simply natural that the problem would dominate the broadcasting frequencies internationally.

The media hype is both beneficial as well terrifying as the former can helps provide facts and material on modus operandi of prevention from this virus. At the same time it can be terrifying as it can create superfluous trauma and misapprehensions.

Consequently, if the media and government are declaring that all of us are going to perish due to coronavirus, people would stop participating wholeheartedly in all the basic activities of life, except waiting for life to end soon. Pak Destiny

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