Thanks Konstantina for an informative article. It’s also worth noting that even basic data is often flawed and thus effectively highly misleading. For example the British press breathlessly reported “18 year old boy dies of coronavirus!” a few weeks ago, presumably seeking to spread fear through implying that even young people can die from covid-19. Digging deeper, however, the young man appeared as a “covid-19 fatality” on the most spurious grounds imaginable: he was dying of leukemia and he died on the very day his doctors had predicted; the fact that he tested positive for covid-19 less than 24 hours before his death was in reality totally irrelevant.

As you note in your article, it’s probable that millions of people have been infected with covid-19 and have remained totally asymptomatic; as there are few tests, and only the very sick are being tested, the infection-to-mortality ratio is thus hopelessly wrong. It’s as if we got ourselves worked into mass hysteria because 75% of people diagnosed with chronic heart disease then go on to die from the condition; we then assume this means 75% of the population will die of a heart attack within the next few weeks.

The really sad thing about the current mass hysteria is that we’ve inflicted massive harm on the 500,000,000 people who are among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, millions of whom may starve to death in the coming days, in order to “protect” the old and the sick who would have died anyway within a few more weeks. Furthermore, because we’ve shut everything down, we’re actually failing to protect those who most need it, as well as incurring massive costs that will leave tens of millions in financial insecurity for the rest of their lives. Add in the 117 million children who are now at risk of contracting and dying of measles because of the interruption of MMR vaccination programs, and we can see that the costs of “protecting” ourselves from covid-19 are horrifically greater than the slender benefits that are the excuse for our global folly.

The sad thing is that any data can be misrepresented by a mass media perpetually reliant on creating mindless sensationalism in order to boost subscription and advertising revenues. As most people are totally ignorant about practically everything and have no experience of coherent reasoning, this means the media can very quickly whip us all into mindless panic, after which politicians flail wildly looking for things that can provide the illusion of action in order to minimize a loss of votes at the next election. Put it all together and you get today’s situation: global mindless hysteria in which data and reason have no purchase. While we will eventually develop herd immunity to covid-19, just as we do for 99% of all viral diseases, we will sadly never develop immunity to being manipulated by irresponsible media organizations that depend on our fear and obsessive credulity for their profits.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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