THE 24 HOURS COVID-19 NEWS CYCLE IS A SYMPHONY OF PANIC.
As we write this, there have been 681,706 cases and 31,882 deaths worldwide and 124,686 cases and 2,192 deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19. COVID-19 has wiped out over $16 trillion in market cap from major world stock markets and is in the processes of crushing world economies. We are in a very serious global crisis and people should recognize the severity of the current situation and follow the instructions of government officials and experts. Now that we have stated the obvious, is it good for us or even constructive to be bombarded by COVID-19 news every minute of every day? TPA would argue that the constant updates and coverage is causing unnecessary panic and emotional and psychological scars that will be around for decades. Furthermore, there are healthier ways of dealing with the crisis.
Listening to Radiolab while I ran in the woods on Saturday, a different take on all these menacing numbers was offered. Just because we have developed great ways of collecting and presenting data, does that mean we should and, if we should, should we be doing it on every news station and website all the time? What if everything that was and always is going on in the world was constantly updated and broadcast to us as COVID-19 has been for 4 weeks?
The most obvious parallel is the regular Flu that happens every year. Regular Flu Deaths in the 2018-2019 Flu Season were approximately 34,157 and estimated Flu deaths for the 2019-2020 Flu season are 46,000. Yet, we not only never hear this news on a daily basis, we may never listen to news about it the whole year. What if the number of regular Flu deaths were sent to us every 5 minutes? In fact, 347 people died because of the common flu last week.
There are other possibly fatal ailments that we could get updates on regularly. 890 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed each day in 2020. 9300 people will be diagnosed with skin cancer each day this year. If these numbers were sent out on the newswires every day, how would that affect anxiety and panic?
On the other hand, what if we broadcasted happier numbers? How many jars of peanut butter had been sold? In fact, 246,575 jars of a single brand of peanut butter are purchased daily. 365,000 babies are born every day and 172,800,000 gallons of wine are drunk a day. If we have to hear about COVID-19, then let’s broadcast these numbers every 5 minutes.
Here are things that happen EVERY DAY from Brightside:
· Each day, 365,000 new human beings arrive on our planet.
· 231 million people will make love
· Around 18 million people will celebrate their birthday.
· There will be 8.6 million lightning strikes.
· Every tree will provide enough oxygen for two of the planet’s inhabitants.
· People in China will harvest 510,000 tons of rice.
· The world’s chickens will lay 190 million eggs.
· On average, each one of us will laugh 15 times.
· Your heart will beat 104,000 times.
· Each person will inhale around 23,000 times.
· Each of us will take, on average, 8,000 steps.
· Each bat will eat 1,000 insects.
· There will be 7 separate earthquakes and 18,000 storms around the world.
· Each person will spend around 12 minutes in the shower.
· Our bodies will lose and reproduce up to 50 trillion cells.
· On average, each person will spend 20 minutes in the toilet.
· Your hair will grow 0.35 millimetres. At the same time, you will lose between 40 and 100 hairs.
· Each of us will say about 48,000 words.
· A mayfly will live out its entire life.
We need to focus on the crisis at hand, but we also need to live our lives. No one performs well while they are panicking and the drumbeat of COVID-19 is a symphony of panic.