India and perspective, are the media correctly describing the facts?
It is in every newspaper these days that the situation in India is getting out of control. Numbers are in a negative trend (opposed to that of the rest of the world), deaths and infected people are rising every day.
Yet there is something weird when I look at the titles and the numbers.
I am from Italy and on the worst day, we had over a thousand deaths. The news from India today describes a country on the edge of collapse, with people being cremated everywhere.
Then I took a look at the numbers, 3645. In such a situation it is horrible to speak of lives in terms of numbers, every single person that has lost it due to the pandemic is a general failure. However, I also believe it is important to put things in perspective and observe them with the right lens to correctly think and take action.
India’s death (today) accounts for three times the maximum deaths we have experienced (in Italy), this fact alone is terrifying, no?
Clearly yes, but taking a step back, we should remember that India’s population is more than 20 times bigger than Italy…more than 20 times.
If we had to do some math, with our worst death rate, they would have accounted for over 24000 deaths.
Now it is not to underestimate the grievance suffered by people and families, that is not the point here.
What I feel disturbing is the lack of clarity and perspective that we are experiencing in the last year, accrued for sure by the pandemic.
Numbers are thrown in the headlines and titles are designed to spur emotions (be them positive or negatives) into people’s minds. Almost as if spurring emotion was more important than informing and describing the truth.
A crucial feature of any democratic system is the free and uncensored use of the media, but it seems to me that we are confusing more and more the media (newspapers and news) with social media (meant to retain and capture our attention as quickly as possible).
We need to find the right balance, as individuals and as institutions, to avoid unnecessary confusion in an increasingly complex world.