For three months now, the world has seen itself in a battle with the novel coronavirus also called COVID-19 which emanated from Wuhan, China. The rapid spread of this virus has defied the all-time worshiped medical infrastructures and personnel situated in the advanced nations of the world with the US not exempted.
All hands have been on deck to fight the spread of this virus but these efforts have proven abortive as this virus is seen to proliferate even faster than preconceived. The saddest news of this is that Africa which is known to situate the poorest healthcare facilities has become its recent victim. What a tragedy!
Despite the bad news of this virus being circulated in the media, this article comes with a ray of hope to the world especially the Nigerian state.
It should be noted that the media has largely contributed to the spread of this virus unknowingly. The media has created what is called “agony of solution” which means in trying to solve a problem, another problem is created. The bloated manner at which this disease has been hyped by the media has passed across panic to the citizenry. This fear alone is enough to make members of the public contract the virus. Before going further, one may ask, “how is that even possible? It does not make sense”. Let it be recalled that even in the medical sciences, there is what is called “hypochondria”. This means a psychological disorder characterized by excessive worry about having a serious illness. Or it can be simply explained as the fear or anxiety of having a particular illness to the point symptoms for such illness are developed. This is true and it is a major factor to be considered in the rapid spread of this virus.
Recalling the “flu” epidemic which broke out during World War I (WW1), the mayor of New York was able to contain the spread when he discovered that the people were being excessively afraid and tense. The fear and tension, of course, were contributed greatly by the media.The mayor requested that the media refrain from publishing stories about the epidemic. Subsequent to the grant of the mayor’s request, the epidemic was being successfully contained within the space of a month.
Based on the foregoing, for the Nigerian state to effectively tackle this seeming herculean task of inhibiting the spread of this virus, measures should be taken by the government to prohibit the media from publishing stories about this virus as done by the mayor of New York. This solution may sound absurd but if it worked for the last century, it would also work in this current dispensation as principles never expire