The Other Side Of The Corona-virus “Coin”
Don’t let the emotional part of the crisis blind your critical thinking
There are two sides to every coin. And these sides coexist. It’s like the tip of the iceberg and its piece that is below the surface. The same is true of situations, stimuli, actions, events, choices, times of crisis. People usually choose to see only one side; the one they want to see, the one that seems more pleasant or easier. The other one is covered by the veil of voluntary “blindness”.
Mass Media and the public
We are going through a critical period. COVID-19 makes its sweeping passage from many countries around the globe. Many people have become ill, others have died, and the rest of us, are taking the necessary precautionary measures to halt its progress and reduce its rate of spread. Mass media play a key role in such situations. The way they transmit the information has an impact on the psychology of the audience. I have often emphasized the pathogens of the mass media system(fake news, misinformation, confusion, news that serve specific interests of corporations and governments, etc.) through articles. I realize now that, by doing this, it was like focusing solely on the responsibility of the media, and not of those who receive the information. Media do what they do, as they do it, and WE have the responsibility to use our capacity to think, to filter, to separate the wheat from the chaff…
The question is: To what extent does our critical thinking work?
In my country (Greece), the Government’s attitude in managing the corona-virus crisis is presented by the majority of the mass media as an excellent tactic. Though I agree that as a country, we have been operating dynamically and with good reflexes making key moves, I also see here a tendency to think in a one-dimensional way and evaluate all aspects of the issue from only one point of view.
The measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have undoubtedly played a role in Greece’s positive — compared to global data — image of the transmission rate of the virus. Among these, some emergency measures and hires for the Public Health System were announced, which were welcomed by most of the people here with “cheers”.
I wonder: “Should we thank for self-evident things that someone first deprived us and then gives us in times of a crisis”?
Reduced government budget for the Public Health System
Over the last decade, Greece (and other E.U. members as well) reduce government spending on the Public Health System, following orders from …above (not from God, but the EU). In consequence, our hospitals had a lack of medical staff, medical equipment, and more. In many cases, citizens had to bring their own sheets, if they needed to be hospitalized! So, when the Prime Minister announced that 2000 nurses and doctors will be hired and become part of the Public Health System because of the corona-virus crisis, we — suddenly — had to clap and forget that these people should have already been part of it, anyway, regardless of the corona-virus crisis (and it would not adequately meet our needs in this area).
The Governments, first deprive their citizens’ necessary goods and self-evident rights with their policies, measures, and so forth, and then re-offer, for example, one percent of them, as an indication of their philanthropy during a crisis! And we “should” suddenly be grateful.
Beyond the Greek borders, China built a hospital within a few days and dispatched a billion yuan to Hubei province, where COVID-19 was first originated. In general, despite this coronavirus, Hubei residents’ financial data make them choose between eating and being able to have medical support. Of course, they choose to eat and no one can blame them. So you understand both the condition of their immune system in general, and the possibilities of being diagnosed early when they feel something is wrong with their body (the simple flu, for example). And they too, “should” suddenly be grateful for the positive emergency measures…
The business part of Research
Pharmaceutical companies have been directing research into “treatments” that are more like suppression of symptoms. A large part of them, care about diseases that are more profitable than those treated with a single drug. Their action is largely part of the business industry and there are other “big players” or companies behind them. I’m not saying that there are no conscious people in this field, nor that there are no significant achievements in the work of various scientists in the field of medicine. But there is also, as we have said, the other side of the coin.
In April 2018, Goldman Sachs published a study titled “The Genome Revolution” that asked: “Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” Research shows that “The potential to deliver ‘one-shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies”.
Severe and Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) could have been the motive for humanity’s preparedness for similar subsequent dangers, but “some very early research ended up sitting on a shelf because that outbreak ended before a vaccine needed to be aggressively developed.”, according to Jason Schwartz of the Yale University School of Public Health. “Had we not set the SARS-vaccine-research program aside, we would have had a lot more of this foundational work that we could apply to this new, closely related virus, ” he said.
Therefore, seeing the President of the United States declare that procedures have been initiated and a vaccine for COVID-19 will be prepared sooner than expected, let us know the background, and let’s not ignore it, affected by the criticality of the situation and the general emotionally charged atmosphere. Because the play in the “background” is not cut off from what happens on the “stage”.
Another reminder on the list of corona-virus management instructions
So, on the list of our reminders these days, along with frequent hand washing, avoiding overcrowding, staying at home, protecting ourselves and others for the common good, let’s also add this:
Not to swallow whatever is served to me, without chewing it with my own teeth first.
Anthi Psomiadou — CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International : Credit must be given to the creator/ Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted/ No derivatives