Raising awareness versus raising alarm; the public can’t be better informed if the information isn’t better. — T.K. NALIAKA
In the wake of everything happening today, I think this is an important quote (unfortunately, I couldn’t find a source).
People are confused, scared and angry and as far as I can see, no one has really come up with an adequate way to keep the general public informed without regurgitating a series of numbers and data sets that won’t offset their anxiety.
“What’s the death count today?” is now common question as opposed to, “what’s the latest information?”
For example, while Wikipedia has an extensive timeline for COVID-19. When you click onto April, it’s mainly a report of cases and deaths – that’s great for statisticians, but not so much for the general public. The Financial Times has an interactive guide that is much better, but the graphs may be tiresome to people who don’t find them easy to follow.
General members of the public tend to feel at ease when they can understand what is happening. Presenting the information as numbers/data makes it difficult for everybody to follow what’s happening beyond the dark nature of COVID-19. Two months ago, it was unheard of to hear that 20,000+ people had died. Today, after hearing that hundreds have been dying every day – that number loses its bite.
It’s clear that information channels need to be improved in order to prevent alarm and desensitization to what’s happening.
That being said, it’s unsurprising that there are so many resources and not much clarity. A virus of this nature is one that nobody was prepared for. Here’s hoping that in time, the information will be better.
© Purplexed Science 2020
P.S. I’ve compiled a small list of resources here (and will continue to add to it).