Indian Covid ‘resurgence’ shows again how media and some scientists have stoked fear without just cause.
Three stories in the NZ Herald illustrate how the natural and necessary evolution of discovery and understanding about the SARS-CoV2 virus is twisted by the immediacy and uncertainty of daily media coverage into unnecessary fear.
On 26 March NZ Herald carried a story warning of a “double mutant” variant of SARS-CoV2 in India.
On 28 April NZ Herald carried story claiming Indian “covid crisis poses threat to the whole world”.
On 20 May NZ Herald carried story headlined: Indian variant may not be as dangerous as we thought, admit scientists
Over those three months a lot of fear was generated by poorly-founded scientific commentary and media worst-case angles. This fear contributed directly to NZ’s border policy (travel from India suspended), and to public attitudes to other Govt policy such as long term border and MIQ management, international travel, masks and vaccines.
This is an illustration of the longer story of the world’s response to SARS-CoV2: a push-pull tangle of emotion, speculation, incomplete and irrelevant data, narratives pretending certainty, group-think, safetyism and political ideology.