“Just the facts….” Follow the Truth, Report on the Journey
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control states that coronaviruses are “a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS and SARS.”
The outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV in China is the latest strain of the virus. Coronavirus has been around for a long time. This latest strain is new.
In today’s world of instant media, sensationalized media, all spreading often faster than wildfire, getting the facts right is important. It is a lesson in knowledge gathering and credibility. Social media has many ‘reports’ on the novel coronavirus which are hard to fact-check.
An expat living in Wuhan gives a tour of the city on lockdown, as Chinese authorities say the number of deaths from the #coronavirus shot up by over 60 in one day, bringing the death toll to over 420 https://t.co/xXCUa2YRAe pic.twitter.com/XOZGYpXN77
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 4, 2020
Reporting on the outbreak and getting the facts right presents a challenge and is a responsibility for reporting.
Across the Internet, are claims being made that only serve to scale up fear and hysteria over what is happening.
One false claim is that the virus was somehow planned. This has been spreading on social media as there was a tabletop exercise in October 2020.
“In October 2019, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security hosted a pandemic tabletop exercise called Event 201 with partners, the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Recently, the Center for Health Security has received questions about whether that pandemic exercise predicted the current novel coronavirus outbreak in China.
“To be clear, the Center for Health Security and partners did not make a prediction during our tabletop exercise. For the scenario, we modeled a fictional coronavirus pandemic, but we explicitly stated that it was not a prediction. Instead, the exercise served to highlight preparedness and response challenges that would likely arise in a very severe pandemic. We are not now predicting that the nCoV-2019 outbreak will kill 65 million people. Although our tabletop exercise included a mock novel coronavirus, the inputs we used for modeling the potential impact of that fictional virus are not similar to nCoV-2019.”
The facts matter!
Getting to the facts means digging a little deeper than tabloid click-bait social media posts.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) February 4, 2020