As some states move to open up non essential businesses and others continue to require or request social distancing and sheltering in place, questions continue to emerge about the duration of the Covid 19 pandemic.
Since any news that is shared about the duration of the need to shelter in place or close non-essential businesses gets a lot of attention, media outlets have been making more and more outrageous claims about the duration of the virus and its impact on our lives and businesses.
CDC director Robert Redfield detailed the problems with the emerging media narrative — one that portrays the current measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as long term. Some outlets are reporting that these measures will need to be in place well into the fall and beyond, while others post scary scenarios of a second wave of illness and shortages we’ve not yet seen.
Redfield’s recent statement was designed to clarify a quote attributed to him by the Washington Post and offered out of context by that publication.
“I really do think it’s important to clarify this, as we build the confidence of the American people,” Redfeld said.
His initial quote was presented as stating that coronavirus would recur and worsen in the fall. The corrected statement confirms that his actual thoughts were that both coronavirus and seasonal flu could be present at the same time. It would be difficult to distinguish between these two illnesses.
Redfield’s statement was presented by media outlets as a claim that the coronavirus was going to rebound and resurface in the fall in a huge new way. President Trump spoke out on Twitter, admonishing the Washington Post for sharing this fake news – and CNN for picking up the story without fact checking it.
According to Redfeld, the headlines used by these publications were misleading and designed to attract attention to the publications – not to provide the public with an accurate representation of his statements.
Redfeld is not alone in cautioning the press against making claims or guessing about the way the illness will present itself if the fall, or if it will recur at all. Dr. Anthony Fauci has also repeatedly warned the press about making predictions that are not based on science or medical fact. Fauci has also stated that would the virus return later, Americans would be better prepared to cope with it, and with a pandemic.
“Nobody can predict what will happen with an outbreak, but you can predict how you are going to respond to it,” Fauci said.
Both medical professionals spoke out against the inflammatory and misleading headlines used by CNN and the Washington Post to drum up readers – instead of inform the public.
Featured image by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention