The Media Should Stop Providing a Daily Virus Death Total (and occasionally report some encouraging news)

financeabc's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 3,173

While there is reason to be very concerned about becoming inflected, when the media gives a daily death total they exacerbate the fears of one's own mortality. I would want to know more about the characteristics of the people who died. What percentage were elderly? What percentage were younger and in very good health? , etc. We all know the answer to these questions but I think we tend to forget reality when the worst possible outcome is constantly being thrown in your face. The media should focus more how many people contracted the virus and survived and/or had few few symptoms. If the media only focuses on all worst outcomes, more people are going to start panic.

I am not suggesting in anyway that people should not take precautions... I am taking precautions by only going out in public when necessary and creating a couple of masks out of a t-shirt.

Comments (39)

  • Works at Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Apr 5, 2020

Fear sells...

Apr 6, 2020

Once the advertising money starts drying up guarantee they will change their tune. Already you're seeing the media story line shift from the covid-19 crisis to an economic crisis. The estimated death toll is consistently being lowered as more data becomes available. I've been watching the news quite a bit and we have heard public officials and media pundits claim the worst is yet to come for like 4 weeks now. There were people claiming we would have a significantly higher death toll by this point.

Once people start hearing the amount of job losses and compare it to a death toll that is considerably less than what many projected, people are going to be pissed off.

I bet fewer people in America will die this year than last year despite the pandemic. Less people out and about = less opportunity to get in accidents and die. There were also going to be alot of people who would pass away regardless of whether a pandemic occurred or not. A 92 year old guy that passed away in my state had stage 4 kidney disease and cirrhosis (about to die anyway), but they said it was covid-19 that killed him... facepalm

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Apr 7, 2020
Guywithtoaster:

Once the advertising money starts drying up guarantee they will change their tune. Already you're seeing the media story line shift from the covid-19 crisis to an economic crisis. The estimated death toll is consistently being lowered as more data becomes available.

Or as more counties/states initiate sensible public health policies, perhaps?

I've been watching the news quite a bit and we have heard public officials and media pundits claim the worst is yet to come for like 4 weeks now. There were people claiming we would have a significantly higher death toll by this point.

The number of reported deaths has gone up every single day. So... saying the worst is yet to come has been accurate for all those weeks. Moreover, things might start getting better in places like New York or Ohio that didn't treat the lives of their citizens as callously as states like Florida or Georgia. The worst can be yet to come in different places, because every municipality had a different reaction 4 weeks ago. Come on, man, this is common sense stuff.

Moreover, there is an extremely good chance that the number of deaths is being underreported. We don't have adequate testing even in hospitals, so we have no idea what the true case load is. And, of course, lets not forget the secondary effects, of people who die from other illnesses because they couldn't be treated due to coronavirus overload in ICU beds.

Once people start hearing the amount of job losses and compare it to a death toll that is considerably less than what many projected, people are going to be pissed off.

Because people are stupid. What a callous statement. Unless someone is willing to have everyone they know and love be the people to die in order to have averted the economic consequences of this, then you can tell them to shut the fuck right up.

I bet fewer people in America will die this year than last year despite the pandemic. Less people out and about = less opportunity to get in accidents and die.

So logically, the public health measures designed to prevent coronavirus saved those lives too! Further justification for the shelter in place orders being well designed.

There were also going to be alot of people who would pass away regardless of whether a pandemic occurred or not. A 92 year old guy that passed away in my state had stage 4 kidney disease and cirrhosis (about to die anyway), but they said it was covid-19 that killed him... facepalm

This is quite possibly the dumbest argument I've ever heard. You're going to die, of old age if not something else. Are you arguing that if someone murders you, we shouldn't prosecute them, because you were going to die anyway? Of course not. Likewise, the fact that the elderly guy with cirrhosis was going to die anyway doesn't mean coronavirus wasn't the proximate cause of death (I assume from your story it was). What a dumb argument.

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Most Helpful
Apr 6, 2020

I dunno man, I have a refrigerator truck full of bodies behind my apt building who would probably argue they should keep pushing it. only reason this seems to be slowing in nyc is that people are locked inside... if they hadn't pushed it, and people hadn't taken it seriously, like they weren't a couple weeks ago, this situation would be very different IMO.

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Funniest
Apr 6, 2020
Billy Ray Valentine:

I dunno man, I have a refrigerator truck full of bodies behind my apt building

https://media.giphy.com/media/qxtxlL4sFFle/giphy.gif

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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Apr 6, 2020

Yeah... that's a thing... refrigerator truck outside the hospital cause they don't have enough room for the bodies...

Apr 6, 2020

Yeah, that has to be a little troubling for anyone who has to see it on a daily basis. I assume you are in NYC. How are you managing to get food and other essentials items? I would think there are long waits to get deliveries.

Apr 6, 2020

I literally finish my run and walk into Whole Foods or my local grocery every morning when they open. No lines. It's only the dingdongs who wake up at 9:30am and decide to go to the store at noon that end up waiting in lines wrapping around the block.

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Apr 6, 2020

Agreed to boost morality but fear is what keeps people at home and people need to stay at home. It's bad enough people aren't abiding.

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Apr 6, 2020

Instead, you get these gems:
China Is Reopening Its Wet Markets. That's Good
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/china-is-r...
The Cognitive Bias That Makes Us Panic About Coronavirus
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-02...
Calling It the 'Chinese Virus' Only Boosts China
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-03...
Or this:

No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus--They Might Increase Your Infection Risk

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2020/02/29... because as the author insists, it's ''evidence-based''

New entry:
Who Says It's Not Safe to Travel to China?
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/05/opinion/china-t...

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Apr 6, 2020

The face mask post is so heinous and was parroted everywhere. It really eroded my trust in our government, media and institutions to tell us the truth in any sort of crisis. I knew it was fake because I lived in Asia and I know the masks work, but I was roundly mocked by my colleagues for buying them in March.

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Apr 6, 2020

I just love how practical wisdom has utterly obliterated the ''evidence-based'' crowd throughout this whole thing.

If a plane is falling from 10k kilometers, some intellectual types will argue that you don't have evidence that jumping with a parachute will save your life.

Apr 6, 2020

There is the counter-consideration of how mask wearers, who are likely donning said masks incorrectly, will become lax about social distancing and hygiene (fidgeting with their masks, etc). If you are social distancing properly, washing your hands, not touching your fucking face, and not expelling any respiratory fluids or opening your mouth, you don't need a mask.

And I don't even want to start with how many people are wearing gloves and not changing them out after each instance of surface contact. People are straight up collecting all sorts of germs on them before touching and picking shit up, which is even nastier than if they were being more cautious with bare hands that they could wash afterward.

Apr 6, 2020

if you don't like what the media is reporting, you can also turn it off. just like you can't force them what to report, they can't force you to watch. plenty of other ways to occupy your time my dude

Apr 6, 2020

Not sure I agree. Basic facts like the death count are certainly newsworthy.

Apr 7, 2020

Stop reading the news.

Apr 8, 2020

Being uninformed is a worse fate than being anxious.

Apr 7, 2020
financeabc:

While there is reason to be very concerned about becoming inflected, when the media gives a daily death total they exacerbate the fears of one's own mortality. I would want to know more about the characteristics of the people who died. What percentage were elderly? What percentage were younger and in very good health? , etc. We all know the answer to these questions but I think we tend to forget reality when the worst possible outcome is constantly being thrown in your face. The media should focus more how many people contracted the virus and survived and/or had few few symptoms. If the media only focuses on all worst outcomes, more people are going to start panic.

I am not suggesting in anyway that people should not take precautions... I am taking precautions by only going out in public when necessary and creating a couple of masks out of a t-shirt.

We tried this, buddy. It was called the Trump Administration response to the crisis.

Not that the media is doing this out of a sense of public service, but preparing people for the worst case scenario, asking them to act as if this is a life and death issue for everyone, is exactly what keeps the problem from being worse. The best possible outcome of all this is everyone thinks "wow, we overreacted a bit."

And whether you mean it or not, the underlying message of your post is that we should be providing positive news to people so they'll feel more confident in the future, and like it or not that is going to inextricably be tied in people's minds with Mr Trump's attempts to dismiss the whole pandemic as a hoax to prop up the stock market.

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Apr 7, 2020
Ozymandia:
financeabc:

While there is reason to be very concerned about becoming inflected, when the media gives a daily death total they exacerbate the fears of one's own mortality. I would want to know more about the characteristics of the people who died. What percentage were elderly? What percentage were younger and in very good health? , etc. We all know the answer to these questions but I think we tend to forget reality when the worst possible outcome is constantly being thrown in your face. The media should focus more how many people contracted the virus and survived and/or had few few symptoms. If the media only focuses on all worst outcomes, more people are going to start panic.

I am not suggesting in anyway that people should not take precautions... I am taking precautions by only going out in public when necessary and creating a couple of masks out of a t-shirt.

And whether you mean it or not, the underlying message of your post is that we should be providing positive news to people so they'll feel more confident in the future, and like it or not that is going to inextricably be tied in people's minds with Mr Trump's attempts to dismiss the whole pandemic as a hoax to prop up the stock market.

I agree with you on many topics, but this little diatribe you wrote is a bunch of bullshit. The point is the media should be providing some context related to death totals. With no context, many people are going to think he or she has the same chance of contracting the virus as the next guy. It can be detrimental to the psyche of some people when they see a daily record setting death total. This contributes to anxiety, which has been rising steady in society and especially in teens for quite a while. According to NIH, approximately 1 in 3 teens will experience an anxiety disorder. The way the media presents this topic exacerbates these issues.

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Apr 7, 2020
financeabc:

I agree with you on many topics, but this little diatribe you wrote is a bunch of bullshit. The point is the media should be providing some context related to death totals. With no context, many people are going to think he or she has the same chance of contracting the virus as the next guy. It can be detrimental is to the psyche of some people when they see a daily record setting death total. This contributes to anxiety, which has been rising steady in society and especially in teens for quite a while. According to NIH, approximately 1 in 3 teens will experience an anxiety disorder. The way the media presents this topic exacerbates these issues.

You are advocating for sweeping this under the rug! The media doesn't exist to coddle us - I agree with you that they shouldn't be fear-mongering, but mortality rates are absolutely newsworthy items that should be reported. If you see a media outlet reporting false news or narratives, either to scare or re-assure people, then I'll agree with you. Until then, muzzling fact reporting is nothing more than Pravda-style propaganda.

Lets assume for the moment that the media will not report complex narratives, because media consumers don't want them and don't understand them (which I think is pretty accurate in general). What is more responsible - for the media to tell people that this shit is contagious and dangerous in the extreme, and people should err on the side of caution, or that everything is sunshine and rainbows, and not to worry? Lets not kid ourselves that a rational middle ground is possible... we know it isn't. Your average American doesn't want to have to think about what the news is informing them about, they want to be told an opinion to parrot.

And you cannot seriously be telling me that the media's reporting of COVID-19 is impacting the mental health of teens, as reported by the NIH. Or rather, it's just not mpossible we have an accurate read on the effects. What you're talking about is a long term, ongoing phenomenon, and almost certainly has more to do with the internet than traditional media outlets - after all, yellow journalism and disingenuous articles have been a fixture of news reporting since the first days of this country.

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Apr 7, 2020

If the media scares you that much you should probably try a news detox for a while. Unfollow/mute any particularly negative twitter/insta/fb accounts. Limit daily consumption of COVID news. Look @ % increase in cases rather than absolute figures. For most jurisdictions the data surrounding age of victims is available.

Apr 7, 2020

The media will of course portray this in the worst possible light in order to hurt Trump. Many of them want the lockdown to continue and for us to plunge into a great depression.

Journalists are pretty stupid. They are not talented and don't have training in STEM/finance/economics. This means that the vast majority of them are unable to analyze and think about issue through a rigorous quantitative framework. They don't ask the right questions and are easily led astray.

Our governors and mayors have also failed us. No one is saying that we should have continued business as usual. But they relied on deeply flawed models such as the one produced by Imperial College's Neil Ferguson, to justify shutting down our economy. A model is only as good as its inputs and assumptions, and they looked at the worst possible scenario as the source of truth. And in the process, they underestimated the amount of economic damage as well as the second order consequences such as the rise in suicides, drug addiction, domestic abuse, depression. I firmly believe that when the history of this virus is written, people will be stunned at how irrational and hysterical we were.

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  • Associate 3 in RE - Comm
Apr 7, 2020

It's funny watching Trump's task briefing. Every time he is pressed on the delayed response to this pandemic, his only response is "we stopped flights coming in from China very early on, which was opposed by democrats, they called me xenophobic, if I had not done that, hundreds of thousands of Americans would have died". I've heard him say the exact same sentence for at least 10 times on live TV now.

He thinks the only thing needed to prepare for a pandemic is stopping people from coming in. Now 2 months later, "I knew it would become a pandemic long time ago", but then "we need more ventilators", "I'm not happy with 3M, they are sending masks overseas".

If you knew this would be a pandemic, why not ramp up ventilator production and mask production earlier?

Apr 10, 2020

Your logic makes too much sense here. GTFO. Of course he knew it would be a pandemic. Don't you know scientists ask him for advice on this matter? He's the expert on this. Never mind his financial interests in the company he's propping up to be the solution as his hotel portfolio is ruined.

"The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary." - Nassim Taleb

Apr 8, 2020
Winnie the Flu:

The media will of course portray this in the worst possible light in order to hurt Trump. **Many of them want the lockdown to continue and for us to plunge into a great depression.
**
Journalists are pretty stupid.

No one wants the shutdowns to continue for no reason and no one wants another depression.
There are smart people and dumb people in many industries. Not being able to analyze quantitative frameworks does not make journalists stupid people. I would not consider engineers who have poor writing or people skills to be stupid people. To a significant extent the media has provided the public with information from the current administration.

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Apr 8, 2020
Winnie the Flu:

The media will of course portray this in the worst possible light in order to hurt Trump. Many of them want the lockdown to continue and for us to plunge into a great depression....I firmly believe that when the history of this virus is written, people will be stunned at how irrational and hysterical we were.

This is trash straight out of Trump talking points, as is your new user name, Brady.

"The media" doesn't want to plunge America into a great depression and history will be rife with tales of the Trump Administration's irresponsible initial response to this pandemic and continued ineptitude in their management of it.

Meanwhile, while you are correct that governors like Brian Kemp (R), Ron DeSantis (R), Kevin Stitt (R), David Ige (D), Jim Justice (R), Tate Reeves (R), and Kay Ivey (R) have undoubtedly failed us, other governors, such as Gavin Newsom (D), Mike DeWine (R), Jay Inslee (D), Larry Hogan (R), Andrew Cuomo (D), and Gretchen Whitmer (D) have shown tremendous leadership and decisiveness during this time.

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Apr 8, 2020
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Apr 10, 2020