Whether real or perceived, threats like COVID-19 can still lead to an emergency situation.
Updated: Feb 17
Turn on any TV news station long enough and you’re likely to hear about the Corona virus pandemic (COVID-19), the latest and hottest talking point. Some are reporting COVID-19 is a pandemic threatening the existence of humanity, while others are reporting it is just another flu strain. Perhaps the truth exists somewhere between the two extremes. But convoluted information can lead to a disastrous outcome in public response as much as the threat itself. Whether real or perceived, threats like COVID-19 can still lead to an emergency situation and it is important to prepare for such an event.
If you speak to 10 people about the COVID-19, they will likely have 10 different opinions on the severity and the level of danger the disease poses. In the current age of information, we all have different means of obtaining our news. Some people prefer to rely on traditional news outlets like broadcast television, newspapers, and magazines. Others look to independent journalists, blogs and social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Reddit. While easily accessible information is a good thing, it carries the potential in creating additional confusion.
Information is now decentralized and regurgitated across multi-platforms of the internet from various sources. This can be a recipe for disaster for authorities trying to communicate a concise plan to the public. Consider the childhood game of telephone, where a story is passed along from one person to another, and by the time it reaches the final participant, it is distorted. With the multitude of media outlets, important public information suffers a similar fate. Without clear public communication and accurate reporting of facts, information regarding a public safety can cause detrimental consequences affecting one’s decision making ability.
For some, Covid-19 it as just another flu strain so they don’t think past the health issue itself, while others believe it will lead to the end of humanity and so are stockpiling supplies. In the United States, local supply stores are already selling out of hand sanitizer and other protective equipment. Even recently, an overseas friend of mine contacted me to discuss starting a medical supply chain to the US market in response to what he was witnessing from the mainstream media outlets. Audiences continues to tune in to get the latest story on COVID-19 and there is legitimate financial opportunity with a pandemic, even if this demand is based on a panicked response and not entirely based in fact.
During a White House press briefing March 9th 2020, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said: “People over the age of 60 are much more likely to develop complications from the coronavirus and to be hospitalized. The average age of death is age 80. If you are a child or young adult you are more likely to die from the flu - if you get it - than you are to die from coronavirus. So there is something about being young that is protective" Source: US Coronavirus Task Force Press Briefing
Regular flu Global Rates: 290,000 - 650,000 deaths per year
I’m not suggesting we don’t take this current pandemic seriously; I look at this as a glimpse into the response systems from government level down to the average citizen. Domestic air travel has helped spread the virus exponentially during the asymptomatic phase and it’s likely to impact every major city now that its containment is broken. Supply chains have been disrupted. For example, at the Port of Los Angeles, shipping imports have slowed significantly. Jobs, stock markets and consumer goods are affected. Hysteria can create a fear which is a contagion of its own during a time of confusion.
Everyone will learn unique lessons regarding the impact the internet has had during a time of importance and these lessons will be unique to the individual depending on position, perspective and how information is being interpreted. With all this in mind, I don’t believe the Corona virus is here to wipe out humanity, but I do believe it’s important to plan as though it is.
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