Communication and the Coronavirus

James Gleick’s popular science book The Information also approaches the idea of communication as it was previously seen in 1948. Gleick writes that aside from cable and telephone sets, “The [Bureau of the Census] also counted several thousand broadcasting stations for radio and a few dozen for television, along with newspapers, books, pamphlets, and the mail… the dots and dashes representing letters of the alphabet; the letters representing sounds, and in combination forming words; the words representing some ultimate substrate of meaning…” (5).  

This concept itself is universal as it applies to pretty much every aspect of life today, too. I communicate with people every day, whether it be in person, on my phone, through my gestures/facial expressions, etc. Given how universal this concept is, communication, as shown by Gleick, can also take the form of media as well as the news; specifically, news outlets that are local, national, or international. For example, on any news outlet, information is constantly being delivered to me, as well as an even larger audience of people at once. In the current world we all live in, communication has been problematic during this coronavirus. 

Every day, I scroll through various social media platforms, such as Facebook, and I see what feels like thousands of posts about the virus. Some posts are promotionally used as they are trying to encourage me to buy a mask that is scented and the “best kind out there”; some posts are utterly useless as they repeat the same information found everywhere, telling people to wash their hands, as if people do not know; and some of the posts, on the other hand, are quite informative and educational as there are statistics provided of the areas that are most affected by the virus. 

While news outlets are also beneficial in learning about this virus and ways to prevent its spread, each of them has also been a bit useless. I watch the news pretty frequently with my family, especially since I have been home, and I feel like I just keep hearing the same thing over and over. I know, as I am sure everyone knows, that the unemployment rates are terribly high right now. I also know that different areas everywhere are constantly skyrocketing in the amount of COVID-19 cases. Of course each of these topics is extremely important, but it seems that there is less talk about the future too.

What I desperately wish I could see more of instead is interviews with health personnel who describe their experiences in the hospitals; the ones who are quite literally fighting for our lives as well as their own because of this pandemic. People who could more accurately provide more numbers about the amount of people checking into hospitals because of the virus. I also wish experts could communicate more frequently their projections for when they think life will return to normalcy. Or, if not that, pretty much any information they have that could give people hope about the future of employment, the estimated time of when the curve will start to flatten out, the recession, etc. Just something that gives people more hope. I do know that some of what I wish for is not necessarily possible to discuss right now. I also understand that some of the projections may not have been approximated yet. I do not mean to sound ignorant in expressing these thoughts, but it is just frustrating to feel like there is more about this pandemic that has not been said. 

While the communication of different outlets has not been the greatest thus far, I only hope for improvement so that people can stay informed, educated, and hopeful.

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