Is COVID-19 the real cause of fear?


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Hannah Lorenzo, Copy Chief

The year 2020 has brought the entire world into a whirlwind of action. Instead of rejoicing in the excitement for a year to reinvent oneself and enjoy new experiences, people have found their hopes shattered due to an unprecedented obstacle. With the introduction of COVID-19, an airborne virus that is sweeping nations worldwide, panic is ensuing in every home and community.

Due to this widespread virus, people all over the world are found cowering in fear of getting the disease. Ever since the quarantine in Italy took place, the U.S. has taken similar precautions, specifically in California, and many other states, where citizens are required to stay at home. From information about the surge in known cases where people have the virus to the death tolls in individual states and countries, it is no surprise that the world is in constant shock with every new update. 

Of course, as there is no miracle cure present at the moment, drastic measures have already been enacted to counteract COVID-19, but it raises the question as to whether or not people are becoming too paranoid. Already, a lack of resources has taken place regarding household items, such as toilet paper and tissues, and the growing demand for hand sanitizer is absolutely shocking. One can witness lines of people outside grocery stores just to get their hands on the last of the resources in stock. Each day, it seems that the world is preparing for the worst, but are people taking this a little too far?

It has been well known that the media projects differing views on certain situations, and the spread of a virus is no different. On every news channel, there are prominent figures voicing their own opinions on COVID-19, ranging from apocalyptic expressions to fatalistic remarks. The problem here is that in a stressful event, people look to the leaders of the world to guide and support them through the tough times. This does not mean that they should coddle the public and look at everything with rose colored glasses, but instead, inform the people on the truth and facts to create a better solution overall.

The media plays a huge role in influencing others to agree with their way of thinking, and this cycle continues over and over again to fuel the addiction. In times of crises, the media suddenly becomes more addicting because the search for more news never stops. People have no choice but to rely on the internet and the news reporters on the television screens to produce the desired information, but a lot of our information is now skewed, especially in a crisis.

Instead of a complete focus on the raw news, there will always be that one website that exaggerates the facts and brings more panic to the public eye than what is actually necessary. And do not forget about the various social media accounts that treat the situation like a zombie outbreak. News channels always seem to have headlines emphasizing the increasing death toll, and politicians never hesitate to make their own opinions known, screaming at people to stay home and even wondering whether or not the nation would be cured if everyone came down with the virus. Solution or not, that is not a sensible choice of words from so-called right-minded leaders to share to a fearful public. Of course, the focus of COVID-19 should bring attention to how it is impacting lives everyday, but a more positive view on the virus’s effects should make the front page more than just once in a while.

What is sad about this is that people tend to pay more attention to the radical thoughts and feelings in the media as they grow more popular with every retweet, share, and post. It is not even the fault of the public because the more outspoken a source is, the more it is spread like a virus to gain more influence than the sources that share the truth, and the results are clear. Although Doctor Mike, a popular YouTuber, can share a good laugh over medical memes, we have to deal with the pain of seeing horrid rumors come to life, such as hand sanitizer being the ultimate savior and China becoming a symbol of death. The growth of fear brings out the worst in people, and in this case, it proves to be our worst enemy in today’s society.

To refer back to the original cause of all of these problems, it is true that COVID-19 is impacting lives every day, and it has been predicted that it will do so for the days to come. Problems are inevitable with every crisis, but that does not make it justifiable to add to the panic. The media needs to take a good look at itself and reevaluate its purpose in sharing information. Hopefully, it learns its lesson and benefits the people instead of continuing to act like the virus it can be.