Five minutes read.
The coronavirus story is breaking as you read this, causing what we think is a technologically developed connected world to be more polarised.
Social media has a huge role to play in helping people protect themselves in case of an epidemic.
There’s a need to evaluate how an important part of our daily interaction — the Internet — comes to play at a time like this.
While it is true that social media can be a reliable source for current trends, you may have to be careful about what you choose to believe.
It goes without saying that social media plays an important role during an outbreak, especially for information dissemination.
The Internet or social media, if not well managed will result in hysteria or cause panic.
Misleading information is the strong bane of the Internet.
So here are some hard facts.
We’ve forgotten that the biggest threat to human life isn’t nukes or anything else, but pandemics. Even with all our advanced technology – some of which may even work against us during this outbreaks – the threat of a virus coming from nowhere and ending human civilization as we know it is still as real as it always was.
So now, with vast, interconnected networks to transport people around the world but no way to tell if they’re infected, outbreaks can reach much further and develop defences before we can even detect them.
While it’s true that recent advancements in detection and treatment of pathogens have made us better at fighting them, there are also many more of them now, including strains that have never infected humans before.
For the death count, deaths from pandemics outnumber any other disaster event in history by a long shot.
The AIDS virus has killed around 40 million people by now. The influenza flu causes around 80,000 – 100,000 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, which is only a fraction of its global death count of 650,000.
The Spanish Flu killed over 100 million in a matter of months, which started during the four-year-long WW1
It just decided to get milder as time went by.
It begs the question; why do we find ourselves so unprepared for disease outbreaks every few years?
It’s simple, our medical technology is still not advanced enough to detect and find cures for new outbreaks. Previous medical knowledge doesn’t apply to new strains, which require new assessment and diagnosis. Every new outbreak still requires understanding the pathogen from scratch, which in turn affects our ability to effectively respond to the crisis
These outbreaks prove what biologists have been saying for years. Newer and more powerful strains of viruses evolving against our medicines are one of the biggest threats to human life.
Vaccines are making viruses – especially the deadly ones – even deadlier.
Unless we come up with an alternative way to build vaccines, a possible out-of-control pandemic that kills us all may just be one of its side effects we’d have to deal with.
A more pressing relationship between climate change and virus-related extinction events lies somewhere on the top of the world map. The permafrost set all over the Arctic – particularly in Siberia – is believed to house a number of dormant and dangerous diseases.
In a recent post addressing the subject of compliance by comparison, I highlight what Bacteria is to our existence on earth.
We simply have no idea how many types of microbes exist on Earth.
They recently found a type of bacteria in the human gut that the scientists had never seen before. It was so alien that they had to make a whole separate branch of life for it, which must have separated from ours in the early years of evolution.
It’s only one of the examples of many ways we don’t – and never will – fully understand the almost-alien world of microbes, which is crucial to fighting serious, civilization-threatening pandemics.
Realize that no other creature compares to microbes in numbers, diversity, types of habitat they live in etc. You’d find microbes living everywhere you can imagine; from the most inhospitable depths of the ocean to outer space. While there’s no doubt that they’ve done for themselves, their diversity makes them difficult to study and counter for us.
If there’s one thing that the coronavirus outbreak proves, it’s that we’re still highly dependent on nature’s mercy to keep us alive.
This will remain so untill inequalities in the world are address and we become intelligent enough to realise that we all live on the same planet.
We live in an age of connectivity and exteriority.
Interior thoughts are plastered across our phone screens and transparency is, at this point, mandatory.
The result of this is if not controlled which is the responsibility of the platform owners the continual spreading of rumours and suspicion via social media will breed uncertainty, falsehood and panic.
Social media can be a wonderful tool that increases global connectivity and understanding, yet in the case of the coronavirus and other potential crises, it tends to breed uncertainty, falsehood and panic.
The fact that people on sites such as Twitter and Facebook are so susceptible to random pieces of clickbait and cannot be satisfied with the official reports, suggests a general mistrust of the institutions at the forefront of this global health emergency.
The Corona virus does not ask you what politics you are nor does it ask you what religion or color you are. It couldn’t care who is in power.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks and abuse chucked in the bin.