The Media’s Portrayal of the Coronavirus

Sydney Campbell, Design Editor

In wake of the possible pandemic, COV-19, misinformation has spread through social media. The media also has to “up-play” the virus in order to make sure that civilians are safe and prepare for an event that could possibly be much worse. 

News of the outbreak has come with a “reality gap” driven by the media’s need for views more than the displaying of facts. 

The media has to exaggerate the death rate and seriousness of the virus to insure that the public takes action and that they take it seriously with 4,515 cases and 106 deaths, the fatality rate is close to 2%, meaning the virus is not nearly as deadly or dangerous as the media has made it out to be.

“They [the media] exaggerate. There is no need for people to be posting about it 24/7, this is how mass hysteria starts because everyone starts to think that they have it and it causes a big problem,” junior Ben Tundidor said. 

According to TIME, the mortality rate in South Korea alone, came out to just 0.6% after more than 1,100 tests were administered (granted their population reaches a million). Compare this to the seasonal flu, which infects about 34 million people each year and has a mortality rate of 0.1% on average.

The media chooses to hyperfocus on the number of deaths, not the actual mortality rate. At the time of writing, there are 92,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and over 3,100 resulting deaths. Though 3,100 deaths seems like a large number, the actual death rate of those with the virus to those who die only comes out to about 2%.    

“Because the media chooses to focus on the amount of deaths people hear it and think ‘Woah, that’s a lot of people.’ So it’s twisted because the death rate is only like 3%,” said Tundidor. “The public is overeating due to the information the media provides.” 

Coronavirus appears dangerous only to those, much like the flu, 65 and older, people with immune problems or serious health conditions the youngest death was a 48-year-old who was also suffering from diabetes and a stroke. 

COV-19 causes illness and symptoms much like the flu, including aches, fevers and a cough. Both viruses can range from mild, severe and may ultimately result in death. 

Basically, wash your hands, avoid touching your mouth and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Masks may not be helpful as they only prevent individuals from touching their mouths, they do not prevent particles or block the virus from entering someone’s system. Wash your hands often and carry hand sanitizer with above 60% alcohol content use when necessary.