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I realize I risk offending some regular readers by publishing this article, maybe even the majority, hence the title. Entering the world of discussion on Covid is entering a minefield. However, after more than a year of watching countless news reports, reading countless articles, scanning through social media and listening to the views of friends and family I have reached some conclusions. They cannot be final, as the story goes on, yet I fully understand why some might consider them controversial, I offer no apologies for that.
The news cameras point up to the third floor of a students’ residential building. A young girl stands at a window smiling down. She looks the picture of health. Reporters fire questions at her. She is not allowed to speak to them face to face at ground level. She has tested positive for Covid. Though she demonstrates no symptoms of the disease, she is treated as highly infectious. The reporters ask where she has been recently and if she has been attending any restricted gatherings. She’d been to a party. Something that seemed perfectly normal for a student just over a year ago. Did people wear masks? Did they follow the rules? Another face at another window. A young man this time. The same questions are asked. The same answers. It’s the job of a journalist to ask questions however uncomfortable they may seem at times.
The figures are dropping, hospital beds are emptying, yet nobody seems to want to know why a large percentage of the population appears immune to Covid. The students are asymptomatic. There is no proven case of an asymptomatic infecting another person. You’d think this might be really important, it might help to solve the problem. The asymptomatic cases may hold the answer. Why don’t they develop the full disease? How long might have they been immune? Did they suffer any flu–like symptoms over the last two years? However mild. What places have they visited over the last two years? Have they been abroad. Not one journalist seems interested. The task has one sole objective: to label the students as being irresponsible for going out and socialising. For being normal. These days, the primary task of a reporter is to make the abnormal seem normal. To make the normal seem abnormal.
When did it become taboo for journalists to ask questions? When did that become normal? If the students aren’t ill or infectious, why should they be confined? They’re not criminals. Why should they be treated like lepers? They’re not ill. There are questions being asked and there are questions not being asked. There are lot of questions that need answering, yet no one seems to want to know the answers. Our journalists are sticking to the script, the official narrative. Yet sticking to the script could put us all at even greater risk in the longer term. When journalists fear losing their jobs for asking uncomfortable questions they ought to consider why they are in a job, the prime function of which is to ask uncomfortable questions.
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