THIS POST WAS WRITTEN PRE-OUTBREAK IN THAILAND AND AS SUCH COMMENTS AND VIEWS NO LONGER ARE TRUE DURING THIS PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY (MARCH 23rd 2020)
I certainly don’t want to down play any virus that is killing people and spreading across the world, but I do think the worlds media should be a bit more accountable for their actions. It doesn’t always need to be about selling more newspapers or getting more web clicks – they should also be conscientious of their position and ability to influence the public. The coronavirus would be a whole lot less scary if the media did not sensationalize it so much.
I was in an Expat restaurant in Pattaya over the weekend and picked up a copy of the Daily Mail – a UK newspaper. They painted a picture of doomsday and said the coronavirus had somehow mutated and become stronger. I could not help but feel they had been wholly irresponsible for their front page story – it was terrifying! No wonder people in the UK are stock piling and grocers like Tesco are rationing essential items. Yes, by all means be cautious – but this is bordering on the ridiculous.
Rather than break down the statistics of the virus – I believe the odds of getting the virus are 1 in 350,000 and of that around 1 – 2% are suggested to result in a death (although no one knows the true rate) – I want to focus on our options. Fact is, the flu virus kills more people.
Jeremy Brown, MD, director of the Office of Emergency Care Research at the National Institutes of Health and author of Influenza: The Hundred-Year Hunt to Cure the Deadliest Disease in History, when asked what was worse – flu or the coronavirus: “It depends on what you mean by worse,” he says. “More easily spread? Then it appears to be coronavirus. Causes more cases of serious illness. Then it’s flu.”
I must stress, again, I am not trying to underplay the coronavirus, I am just suggesting we should not be as scared of it as many seem to be. As it stands right now, as source country China’s infection rates are reported to be slowing, the chances of getting the virus and dying are next to zero.
The savvy ones among this could be using this global panic to their advantage
Global tourism is in melt down as people fear unnecessary travel. Thailand has been hit – notably by the Chinese tour groups. It means it has never been cheaper to travel throughout Thailand. I have seen 5 star hotels offering all manner of deals ranging for 20-35% discount, to buy one night get one night free offers. If Thailand hotel room rates were not cheap enough already – by global comparison – they are now jaw dropping value.
Clearly I am no expert, and relying only on information being circulated, but it appears the coronavirus is worse in colder destinations – which is why Thailand’s rate is so low. National Geographic recently reported:
“The prospect that summer could stave off a pandemic is enticing. Last month, President Donald Trump tweeted about China’s efforts to contain the virus, saying they would be successful, “especially as the weather starts to warm.
Viruses that cause influenza or milder coronavirus colds do tend to subside in warmer months because these types of viruses have what scientists refer to as “seasonality,” so the president’s comments have some scientific backing.”
Why, therefore, if you are living in UK or other parts of Europe are you not jumping on plane and escaping it all to a beautiful island in Thailand?
You can enjoy the heat and be in relative solitude on half empty beaches. Keep your hands clean in the salty, warm sea water if you are still worried and, best of all, be happy.
A quick heads up, Thaivisa.com and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have teamed up to share a whole array of unbeatable travel offers during the month of April through to August this year. I will be supporting and helping this excellent initiative.