Is the media playing Three Card Monte with COVID-19?

Mar 12, 2020 at 08:00 am by Paulette Jackson

Three Card Monte

I love the TV show Leverage. One of my favorite episodes is "The Three Card Monte." A card trick, the dealer shows the player the Queen and tells the player to keep their eye on the Queen as he shuffles her with two other cards.

But then, the card shark, unbeknownst to the player, smoothly, swaps the Queen with another card. So, even though the player keeps his or her eye on where they think the Queen is, she isn't there. The dealer's slight of hand, swapped the Queen and no matter how intently the player tries to keep an eye on the Queen, she wasn't there, but was somewhere else.

And the moral of that trick is to remember, that the goal of the dealer is to keep the player's attention diverted from finding the coveted Queen.

I watched the news tonight. The tone of the reporter's voice sounded intense and urgent as he gave information about the spread of the coronavirus, and the unfortunate case of the passengers on the cruise ship.

I heard the reporter's trepidation and alarm as he stated worldwide statistics, rather than U.S. statistics, for the number of individuals who had contracted the coronavirus and the death toll.

I did a little research on my own and what I found was: As of today, March 9, in the U.S., there are 624 confirmed cases of Corona, and 26 deaths.

If we look at the past years, and the statistics of the various strains of "flu", we see, according to CDC; that, 30 years ago, in the year 1990, 56,000 people in the U.S. were sick with the flu and 185 children's lives were lost because of the flu.

Since 2010, CDC estimates that influenza results were between 9 million – 45 million illnesses, between 140,000 – 810,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000-61,000 deaths annually.

Fatality rates for children have been recorded. In 2009, a "flu" pandemic took the lives of 358 children. In 2015-2016, the "flu" took the lives of 85 children.

In 2017-18, 959,000 people in the U.S. were hospitalized with that year's flu strain. For a time, there was average of 4,000 new cases a week. A total of 80,000 lives were lost.

In 2018-2019 in the U.S., the flu season included 35 million people who were sick, and 34,000 deaths due to the flu.

At this time, in the U.S., to date, we have 624 confirmed cases and 26 deaths, with the potential for the numbers to climb, as history reveals.

For perspective, the "crude mortality statistics" for the yearly number of deaths, for any reason, worldwide is approximately 8 percent.

History also informs us of the different "peaks" of flu seasons. Between 1982-2018, a 36-year time frame, there were 15 seasons of flu that peaked in February, seven seasons that peaked in December, six seasons that peaked in January and six that peaked in March. Between the years of 2005/2006 – 2015/2016, three seasons of flu peaked in March.

So, here we are in March, and perhaps this post will be of help with perspective of the media's coverage of the current virus strain. I would like to remind readers to please not read this post as an effort to minimize the seriousness of the illness, but rather to offer perspective for our United States.

This strain of the current flu virus may be one of those seasons that peak in March. With all of the rain and cold we have had in Tennessee, it makes sense. So, a little heightened awareness to take precautions is, in all likelihood, a good idea. Stay warm and dry. A little extra cleaning might be good, as well.

The media may be playing a little Three-Card Monte with the public. Possibly, there may be an effort to keep the focus on the virus for a particular purpose. The power of suggestion can go a long way in persuasion, as well as instilling doubt, fear, confusion and mistrust.

My hope, is to bring information and perspective regarding the concerns of the growing toll of the coronavirus, both the known and the unknown.

The data from the past 30 years informs us of the recurrence of the highly contagious illness. It can be very serious for all of us, particularly children and senior citizens. If we take advantage of historical information, take care of ourselves and our families, we might just be able to recognize where the Queen is, and not be deceived by the shuffling card dealer.

If you can keep your head when all about you 
      Are losing theirs and blaming it on you
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too  
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
    Or being lied about, don't deal in lies
Or being hated, don't give way to hating
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise
~Rudyard Kipling

I hope you found this article helpful.

Paulette Jackson

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the above article are those belonging to Paulette Jackson and do not necessarily reflect those of any other professional or individual.

Photo credit: Magic tricks