Another day, another round of shrill headlines. The coronavirus could spread to “every country in the world” (like chickenpox), we might have to cancel the Olympics. Ban handshakes! We’re running out of masks!
And yet…here we are. A world on the verge of all-out, no-holds-barred panic.
Two days ago the scare was related to a woman in Japan who allegedly got the disease twice.
Fewer than fifty people, total, have been infected across those two countries.
The media are certainly taking to the task of spreading as much hysteria as they can, as quickly as they can.
The Guardian is especially on the ball, as they always seem to be when it comes to spreading baseless, ephemeral fear. Firstly they have a neat little “fact check” piece, trying to stop people gaining any sense of perspective.
“Yes, it is worse than the flu: busting the coronavirus myths”, it headlines, before telling us coronavirus is “10 times more deadly” than the flu, which they claim has a death rate of “only 0.1%”.
This is a)clearly aimed at countering articles like this one that try to bring some realism to bear (apparently that now counts as myth-making), and b)so deceptive it verges on a total lie.
If you include every single known or estimated case of flu in the world then sure you can bring the death rate down to 0.1%. But if you more properly compare hospitalised flu cases with the hospitalised COVID19 cases, the regular flu actually has a much highermortality rate. 5.6% (in the US) compared with 1-3%.
So, why aren’t they closing the world down to save us from this familiar but deadly pathogen?
Elsewhere, one headline warns us of the dangers of “superspreaders”, and another declares that “An epidemic is coming: Europe struggles to contain coronavirus.” It doesn’t mention that the “epidemic” Europe is “struggling to contain” has only infected 1093 people on the entire continent, or that only 23 of them have died. (They have since changed the headline to something less theatrical)
That’s just the “facts” (formerly sacred), the opinion is even better.
Gabby Hinsliff, the forgettable face of the dystopian future-builders, think’s Britain is “too selfish” to properly deal with the coronavirus these days (all 20 victims of it). Rounding on people who haven’t had their kids vaccinated, and rambling incoherently about the “greater good”.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Freedland talks about the “war on disease”, slapping the West on the back for being “open and honest” (unlike China and Iran), whilst taking aim at the only person he ever criticises now Jeremy Corbyn is standing down as Labour leader – Donald Trump.
Apparently Trump should be doing more to combat the disease which, thus far, has infected only 60 US citizens, none fatally. More Americans are in danger from high-fructose corn syrup, or Flint’s poisoned water (but as those can’t be lazily attributed to the political monster of the week, Freedland will never write about them).
But what is all this in aid of? It’s hard to say, except that every authoritarian agenda seems to be sticking its oar in.
More generally, we’re being encouraged to think of the “big picture”, that being curfewed and quarantined and banned from travelling will all be best for the group. There hasn’t been much talk of mandatory vaccinations…yet, but you see whispers of it here and there (that Gabby Hinslif piece is very much a straw in the wind for that issue).
There’s also the money angle. Not just the vaccine research grants or the tests being sold and shipped out by the case, but also the stock market game. It’s all over the headlines that this “pandemic” is causing the biggest crashes in stock prices since 2008, but markets declining are still opportunities to make a lot of money.
Buying stocks low and waiting for the market recovery, shorting currency, or the ridiculous derivatives market (essentially gambling on whether stocks will go up or down). All can make you a fortune if you play the recession right, which is made much easier when you can predict a crash coming…say, by stoking a lot of fear.
Anybody familiar with Event 201, a staged exercise focusing on a zoonotic form of a novel coronavirus, will have known it predicted a complete crash in the financial markets.
When a very similar real-life event started occurring, they would have a motive to start trading some derivatives and stoking up the fear machine. It’s easy money, like gambling on a fixed game.
The event was held by the NGO Center for Health Security, and sponsored by Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Medicine and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (The exercise ended with a list of seven recommendations, which you can read here.)
All the while, an important trial is getting no coverage at all, whilst Turkey might actually start a full-fledged war with Syria. Crickets chirp in the media where these stories might appear. Reality has no place in our headlines right now.
This is greatest mass-panic I can remember in a long time, maybe since Y2K. Either the world is truly facing a global instance of mass hysteria, or some powerful hand is about to make a big play.