When They Don’t Take It Seriously

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, why is it so many messages have to emphasis that this is serious?

Why are we putting our healthcare professionals in a position where they have to remind us to stay home? Post after post shows these amazing people in scrubs and face masks, telling us they need us to stay home and stop the spread of the virus.

Why aren’t we listening? A few speculative answers:

  • Fake news culture has led us to doubt what we hear and put our own interpretation on it. While it is healthy to have a degree of skepticism, this also can lead to isolated opinions that are formed in the bubble of our own social community. What’s more, some of those opinions really are fake news—the type of underground opinionated journalism that tries to present itself as fact.
  • Our culture is so detached from death on a daily basis we don’t have a frame of reference to what “serious” means until it affects us personally. Actually knowing someone who has the coronavirus puts a whole different perspective on it—trust me; ask me about the man I know who is currently on a ventilator fighting for his life.
  • And, sure, blame the media. Initially, there wasn’t a united message that didn’t have political undertones. While that has changed with the gravity of the situation, those who rely on niche media blogs and their bubble of social media opinions are likely to continue to align with the most extreme views.

The behavior around this situation will likely be studied for years. There are those who believe it is overblown by the media; there are those who believe it’s the end of the world. Most of us are in the middle, believing in the taking precautions, following the recommendations of the governmental agencies, and not putting others at risk.

It’s a simple message.

If we were all being responsible, our healthcare professionals wouldn’t have to take time to deliver it.