Do not lose hope: we can defeat the virus

Jack Ma: The Alibaba founder is leading the global fight against the coronavirus.

Should the media publish more good news? The Covid-19 outbreak is frightening and deserves our attention. But amidst all the doom and gloom, there are hundreds of encouraging developments.

Bad news is never the only news. Even amidst the global struggle to combat the spread of Covid-19, there are inspirational stories and exciting discoveries:

Jack Ma’s chequebook: The richest man in China has decided to use his billions to help struggling medical communities around the world defeat the virus. He wrote: “To each of the 54 African countries, we will donate 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical-use protective suits and face shields.”

China’s turnaround: Though the Coronavirus outbreak started in the Chinese megacity of Wuhan, there were no new domestic cases there yesterday. A 103-year old woman who was infected has recovered and returned home.

’s experiment: Despite being the location of the first Covid-19 death in Italy, Vò has now completely stopped the spread of the disease.

Pandemic’s medic: According to officials in China, a Japanese influenza drug has been successful in speeding up the recovery of coronavirus patients with mild or minor symptoms.

Should the media publish more good news?

No news is good news

People need to have hope. We have constant access to the news. If we only hear negative stories, we will either be overwhelmed with sadness, or learn to stop caring. Constructive, forward-thinking reporting is not fiction. Media companies should do a better job of presenting what good is being done to combat the crisis, and what we can learn from it.

The media has a duty to keep everyone informed. During a public health crisis, the focus has to be on the most critical developments, the hard facts, and little else. If there is good news that is important, then it should be published. But failure to present the world as it is can have deadly consequences. The information in an article is more important than how it makes readers feel.

You Decide

  1. Do you find it difficult or upsetting to read the news at the moment? How would you make it better?

Activities

  1. Sticking to mainstream news sources, find another encouraging news story about the coronavirus and summarise it on half a sheet of paper.

Some People Say...

“The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.”

Winston Churchill (1874-1965), former British prime minister

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Of the 200,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide, there have been 8,000 deaths – but there have also been 80,000 confirmed recoveries. The number of new cases of coronavirus have been decreasing in both China and South Korea, two of the first countries to declare cases of the disease.
What do we not know?
How long any possible vaccine will take to be released (experts estimate between 12 and 18 months). We do not know if journalists see their job as providing anything more than simply balanced information. We do not know if there will always be enough good stories to provide relief during major crises like the coronavirus.

Word Watch

Covid-19
The new disease caused by the coronavirus which has spread to most countries around the world and killed thousands.
Wuhan
Large city in the Chinese province of Hubei, where the outbreak is believed to have started in a wild foods market.
A comune (municipality) in the province of Padua in the Italian Veneto region, with a population of around 3,000.
Influenza
Commonly known as “the flu”, an infectious respiratory disease caused by one of four types of virus. It is distinct from the coronavirus.

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