On an ordinary day you would not get through the day without coming across at least one fearmongering type headline, unless you lived under a rock that is. Jump to April 2020 and in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic and every second headline, article and meme seems to generate fear on levels unknown to many of us. That fear is what started the run on toilet paper. Followed by sanitizers, wipes and face masks. Suddenly it felt like the apocalypse had arrived and we all rushed to stockpile... in the process sparing little thought for those without means to do the same and leaving empty shelf after empty shelf.
Covid-19 is a pandemic which we need to take seriously but to do that we all need to have at our disposal the correct information allowing us to make informed decisions in order to protect ourselves, our loved ones, the communities in which we live, the economy that generates our incomes and the democracy which makes it all possible.
But when you have fake news, government officials with conflicting reports, politicians using the pandemic to score cheap points against the opposition, strong arm tactics of law enforcement appearing to show little compassion, and simple and plain stupidity of some people who believe they are above the recommendations and the law, all you are left with is a fertile ground for disinformation and scare tactics.
There is no quick fix to this problem.
Who do you trust in a world that is changing too rapidly to keep up? When all day, every day you are bombarded with numbers, headlines and fear.
Who has your best interests at heart?
Rely on the facts - and by I mean that don't take the first article you come across as fact. Research. Check on its authenticity and the sources quoted. Use discernment in who you follow on social media - now is the time to stop following those accounts which seem to rely only on sensationalism to get their message heard. Find a reputable news source but still fact check everything. Ask questions. Listen to the answers and fact check it against information already out there. If you are uncertain about anything then pause before sharing - and again fact check - don't spread fear unnecessarily. Bear in mind always that the media, politicians, big business, people in positions of power always have their own agenda. They need to protect their bottom lines first and the only way you will protect yourself is to fact check everything and make informed decisions.
And please for the love use your common sense! You all know that toilet paper is not your first line of defence against a virus which affects your lungs!
W.H. AUDEN (1907-1973)
(Choice of Rosie Boycott)
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.