FEAR MERCHANTS: is covid 19 a death sentence II

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For the past 5 months, the world has been on a pause mode.

The situation is further aggravated by the exponential pace at which fake news from citizen journalists circulate on the social media spectrum.

This therefore underscores why the Nigerian media need to reevaluate and change their framing pattern of news, jingles and any information on COVID 19 to be disseminated to the public.

The framing theory of the media, suggests that, the frame of a story has significant influence on how the story is investigated, who the journalist interview and how the story is interpreted and reported to the public.

Most Nigerian media coverage of the COVID 19 pandemic (both news and jingles) appear to have a selective pattern, where death tolls and rapid progression of the virus are the elements that form the centerpiece of the information, while survival rate and recoveries are faintly presented.

This framing has significant effect on the perception of the information on the virus by the audience.

It doesn’t only tell the audience what to think about the virus, but also how to think about the virus, the resultant effect of which is, FEAR.

According to Dr Mary Lowth (2020) COVID 19 infection can be classified into; Asymptomatic, Mild, Moderate, Severe and Critical.

Far from that, moderate, severe and critical infections are mostly peculiar to people within the age range of 60 years and above,

because people within this range have health compromise like; heart disease, lung disease, cancer and so on, which makes to have immune deficiency (https://patient.info/news-and-features/coronavirus-what-are-asymptomatic-and-mild-covid-19).

These are the classes that have limited chances of survival (particularly to those with underlying health complications).

It is important to know that, the underlying factor in the chances of surviving COVID 19 infection, is the immune system. From the statistics of the death toll,

majority of the people who have died from the virus, are those whose immune systems were weak already, as a result of other health challenges they were having. Research has shown that, majority of the people with; mild and asymptomatic infections have recovered without medical care.

As confirmed by the Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, “there are good number of patients in Nigeria that have recovered from the virus infection without medical intervention ".

According to him one of the main goal of isolation is to “prevent the spread of the virus and exposing others to danger, particularly those with underlying health issues”.

If we can see information and messages that incorporate all aspects of the virus, on the media, then the efforts put in place to tame the spread of the virus, can yield a positive result.

It will douse the tension and fear that have gripped the public. It will stimulate members of the public to commit themselves to testing and isolation, hence partake in the fight against the virus.

The media is an indispensable component in the fight against COVID 19. The responsibility of the media extends beyound informing and educating the public in times of global crises of this magnitude.

As the ripple effects of COVID 19 continue hit hard on the public, positive information from the media, is an effective mechanism of providing psychological and mental succor to the people.

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