Monday, March 9, 2020

Converging narratives on Covid-19

Much more on this soon, but I wanted to point out another of those weird narrative convergences between the mainstream press and conservative media. In this case both are heavily pushing the idea that most people's concerns about the pandemic are overblown and irrational.

Here are two of many examples.

Cass R. Sunstein writing for Bloomberg
At this stage, no one can specify the magnitude of the threat from the coronavirus. But one thing is clear: A lot of people are more scared than they have any reason to be. They have an exaggerated sense of their own personal risk.

Turn to the coronavirus in this light. The situation is very fluid, but as of now, most people in North America and Europe do not need to worry much about the risk of contracting the disease. That’s true even for people who are traveling to nations such as Italy that have seen outbreaks of the disease.

Max Fisher writing for the New York Times (see also here):
 For most people, the disease is probably not particularly deadly; health officials tend to put it somewhere within range of an unusually severe seasonal flu. Even in a global pandemic, it’s expected to kill fewer people than the flu virus. Data so far suggests that if you catch the coronavirus, you may be likelier to have no symptoms at all than to require hospitalization.
And from the right (in more dramatic fashion).
(Worth noting that there are a lot of seniors in Gaetz's district.)

The reasons for the convergence vary based on side. The mainstream press loves to think of itself as the voice of reason which may be part of the reason it's so fond of the irrationality-of-the-common-man narrative. Fox et al. are trying to hold to administration line and avoid spooking the economy and the electorate.

It's worth noting that the narrative I've been from researchers is a bit more concerned.

No comments:

Post a Comment