So one of my favorite health web sites for dealing with news for lay people has this headline today: As Health Experts Fear Possible Pandemic, 2nd Death Reported Outside China.
And the first paragraph goes on: While health experts fear that the coronavirus outbreak in China will become a pandemic as infections topped 20,600 worldwide, the second death outside China was reported in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Which is accurate, of course, but decidedly one-sided “if it bleeds, it leads” reporting, and its reporting that is prone to making you even more anxious than you already are, which is great for getting eyeballs on to more stories about this virus but which is, I think , very unfair in its balance.
Because if you read on, later in the article, the author cites a couple of quotes from Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who says, there are “a lot of unknowns” surrounding the virus and its transmission path”, and then adds “The number of cases have steeply inclined with every day”.
Which may turn out to be good news.
So, sure, it’s still a pretty scary scene out there.
But we simply don’t know what will happen over the next few weeks and that – the uncertainty of it all – should be the main message to impart information about this virus at this stage.
I very much doubt that will happen, however.