The news channels are all stuck in a paradigm where their ratings are maintained through on-air debate, not news. They have forgotten that at times like this, people actually need “news,” not political debate that tries to impact a narrative.
Being frustrated by this, on March 14, I web searched specifically for raw data from government sources (or credible medical sources) on the outbreak and the virus, effects, symptoms, etc. In the process, I ran across the Pandemic Intervals Framework (PIF) on the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website (see attachment).
Here’s the link:
Moment of Realization:
I found the PIF chart with the explanation of the intervals and the depiction of the graph and the acceleration spike.
I also found a write up on COVID-19 that we were in Interval (stage) 3 and attempting to limit the impact of the acceleration spike (i.e., stage 4). For me, it all made sense as to why we needed to do these things. Everything that Dr. Fouci has been talking about fell into place. The concept of ‘making the spike into a hump’ suddenly had meaning, and I finally understood the overall logic of social distancing beyond simply trying to avoid people who might get me sick.
People respond to pictures better than a talking head on TV who may have either a political agenda or anxiety or frustration in their voice, etc.
Since Saturday, I’ve explained that 6-interval chart to several people and I believe it helps them understand the context better.
I think if the news and elected leaders would simply show that chart on TV, point to where we are on it why, and then keep coming back to it, we might get more people to understand the context of why it is so critical for everyone to do their part at the local level.
Right now, the news ONLY states how many cases there are, how many have died, etc. But that number is invisible in terms of relating the context as to how serious this pandemic truly is. As a result, I think many people aren’t taking the threat seriously because it they don’t understand the context.
I did 20 years as a Naval Officer and have a research background. I’ve been through 7 hurricanes and have been without power and water and low on gas with limited prospects. I've also deployed twice to Iraq.
When soldiers and sailors first join the military, they’re a bit clueless (as I was)! But once they understand the context of why they’re doing what they’re doing (why we do things the way we do on a ship or why an entire platoon must function as a unit), they suddenly become much better soldiers and sailors.
I believe the same principle applies now with social distancing. People must understand the context of "doing their part" in order to have buy-in on its success.