When Death’s Meters Turn Live

Photo: Xinhua
  • Lim Tola
  • April 11, 2020 9:44 AM

Since the start of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the figures are released every morning.  The number of people with the disease, the number of people who died and the number of those in intensive care. 

And for weeks on the global scale, the numbers keep on going up, and up. 

One can understand the health authorities’ objective, of course.

Having to deal with a virus that crisscrosses the planet at an alarming speed and of which no one can control the mind-numbing fast spread, releasing these numbers is essential to justify the exceptional measures that the situation warrants. 

Moreover, in this social-media era, at a time when everyone wants to know everything immediately, at a time also when everyone claims to know everything and can share this with whoever he/she wants, truths and fallacies alike, issuing official and open information in a thorough and credible manner is essential in this context of total uncertainty as to the future.  

But what can cause more anxiety than these straight figures.

In order to avoid this, we would need to also get the number of people who have recovered, the number of those who have only been slightly affected by the coronavirus.  

So as to put all this into context. Without minimizing. 

But these raw data on COVID-19 overshadow everything else, the same way this pandemic seems to have erased from the planet all the other diseases that kill. 

And yet, before COVID-19, people also died.

And sometimes in droves due to epidemics.  

HIV/AIDS, Ebola fever, tuberculosis, dengue fever, malaria, stroke, diabetes, hypertension. 

By the millions, every year.  Could we have imagined, before COVID-19, a world in which every morning we would get up with a summary on the number of deaths of the previous day. 

Unthinkable, unbearable. And yet, COVID-19 has plunged us into that world. 


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