“He who teaches people to fear rules”.

THE pandemic of today will continue to rule larger than it really is. We see it in the way news about Covid-19 is packaged to sow continuing global fear. Recently, following a haunch, I have kept track with the daily feeds in mass media regarding the pandemic, --print, broadcast, and social media. Yesterday though the number of reported deaths from Covid-19 is 846, and recoveries a high of 3,000 from a total of 13,434 cases, the tone in the news reports continue to be alarmist. While there is every room to be thankful and rejoice over a number of octogenarians, and even beyond 90 years old recovering from Covid-19, the news continues to be skewed towards the dismal, fearful picture of the pandemic.

Yet, when you dig through further in the news about Covid-19 deaths, you will find out that a significant number of the reported deaths are a result of ‘complications’ of pre-existing chronic deadly diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and cancer. There is the matter too of Hospital Acquired Virus (HAV) being the cause of many deaths of not only the elderly but also patients of varying ages before Covid-19. For certain reasons, I suspect a significant number of deaths are conveniently reported as caused by Covid-19.

The media bent to scare, focus on the “dismal”, worse possible scenario than the positive trend in the pandemic given the fact that none has underscored the statistic of 1.9 million recoveries as of yesterday from 328, 227 reported cases worldwide--paltry figure compared with the Spanish flu, also known as the 1918 flu pandemic, “an unusually deadly influenza pandemic caused by the H1N1 influenza A virus. Lasting more than 12 months from spring 1918 to early summer 1919, it infected 500 million people – about a third of the world’s population at the time” (Wikipedia). So, if only a comparative presentation of pandemic statistics is presented by media, by those who make the construct of unraveling “pandemia”, there is room for good news.

Yet, what we are seeing are signs of pandemic panics among the poor in virtual imprisonment in very crowded, hot settlements, bereft of trees and fresh air, facing food scarcity and lack of water. Still, across social classes, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence have been reported on the rise, especially in North America, as the coronavirus’ global assault grinds into the sixth month.

So, what is to be our individual response? How can we overcome fear, sleeplessness, and depression in times like these? Read the gospel of Mathew, chapter 11 verse 28-- there lies the answer.