Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Disproportionate media coverage of Coronavirus

With the current levels of coronavirus coverage in the news, it's interesting to put things into perspective.

The centers for disease control (CDC) estimates there have been at least 15 million cases and 8200 deaths from influenza this flu season in the USA alone (flu season started Oct 1st). Mortality rate ~ 0.05%

Total confirmed worldwide coronavirus infections so far: 6152.
Deaths: 132
Mortality rate: 2.15%

I wasn't able to find the frequency of media mentions of coronavirus vs influenza and flu. However, looking at Google searches might give us some clues as to how people are being influenced by the media.

Relative frequency of Google searches in the week from Jan 19 to Jan 25,
Coronavirus: 38
Influenza and flu combined: 15

Projected relative frequency of searches for the week ending Feb 1st,
Coronavirus: 100
Influenza and flu combined: 17

Clearly the media is a useful tool for the mass management of public opinion.

My question then is: why such heavy coverage of Coronavirus? Is it simply a disproportionate attempt to inform and educate the public, or is it because it's something fearful that motivates people and therefore gets more viewers so the media can sell more advertising, or is it something else?

-Dave Bad Person

Some other articles.

The Wuhan coronavirus was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec 31st, 2019.

spent the crucial first days of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak arresting people who posted about it online and threatening journalists

These Lies And Conspiracies About The Wuhan Coronavirus Are Totally False

Report: Outbreak of idiocy spreading 10,000 times faster than coronavirus

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