in the struggle against the Covid-19 pandemic
There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation being spread on social media about Covid-19 ever since the first case was detected in Wuhan in China. So much so that WHO has coined the term ‘infodemic’ for this phenomenon. Leading researchers have commented that as Covid-19 spreads around the world, ‘spreading just as fast, it seems, are conspiracy theories that claim powerful actors are plotting something sinister to do with the virus’ with an apprehension that the ‘medical conspiracy theories… have the potential to be just as dangerous for societies as the outbreak itself.’
Besides, there is an overload of information on Covid-19 coming all kinds of sources and this is apt to confuse and mislead the people. What is needed now is information from reliable sources that is presented in simple terms for laymen to understand what is happening locally and globally as far as the spread of the pandemic is concerned, as well as straightforward guidelines and tips for them to follow so as to ensure the protection of their health and that of their families.
At a time when experts themselves are trying to grapple with the complexities of the situation and do not have all the answers, but are doing their best to find them as soon as possible, what we find is a plethora of advice about how to cope with Covid-19 that leaves the average layman unable to decide which is which. Understandably, there are lots of questions in people’s minds, such as, among others:
- Is the worst yet to come – both at the global level and locally?
- How long will the crisis last?
- What will be the cost in terms of human lives?
- Is it still possible to arrest the spread of the pandemic?
- Will the emergency powers resorted to by governments worldwide really help?
- Are we sufficiently equipped in Mauritius to face the worsening situation?
- What else should we be doing to mitigate the effects of the pandemic?
- What about the preventive measures doing the round on social media suggesting daily intake of ginger or Vit C, inhalations, sun-bathing, concoctions of lemon juice together with cloves, pepper, etc? Do these help or even cure those infected with the virus?
These are genuine interrogations of concern to the people. In a bid to meet these concerns, and in view of the fact that for obvious reasons we cannot come out with our weekly print editions until the situation goes back to normal, we will be coming up with a digital edition as regularly as possible. We will attempt to provide balanced news and views on the evolution of the pandemic for the benefit of our readers, and will also include our regular features: after all, there are other things also happening in the world, although understandably attention is focused on the pandemic. Nevertheless, we feel that it is also important to keep the mind occupied with other positive things and not let ourselves be overwhelmed by undue worry and irrational fears.
We all have a responsibility in the struggle against this pandemic, and if we adopt a sound and rational approach there is no reason why we will not come out of it in due course.
* Published in print edition on 25 March 2020