This is something I've been thinking a lot about over the last month or so, especially the last couple of weeks, and I'm sure it's been discussed a lot on the Lockdown Sceptics blog comment section, but I thought it would be worth creating a thread here to discuss the subject.
Over the last couple of months "the science" relating to Covid-19 has become more and more clear in showing that the virus is a lot less dangerous than originally predicted in terms of lower IFR, high percentage of asymptomatic cases (and the relative lack of infectiousness of the latter), T-cell immunity giving many people some degree of natural resistance, and the likelihood of a much lower herd immunity threshold. The current IFR is estimated at 0.1%, a fraction of the 0.9% to 3.5% estimated a few months ago, and about in line with seasonal flu epidemics. (https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/ has a good summary of the basic facts and statistics)
However, the "mainstream" media (certainly in the UK and for the most part, the USA and the rest of the English-speaking world - I'm not sure about other countries, but would be interested to know) don't seem to have updated their perception of, and depiction of, the virus, from Neil Ferguson's infamous prediction in March of 500,000 deaths in the UK without lockdown. There are a fair number of sceptical voices and articles, and articles do occasionally appear, even on the BBC's site, reporting on positive findings like the high percentage of asymptomatic cases. But the general tone is still that this is an unprecedented health emergency, worth suspending or radically altering every aspect of society and life in order to fight. So many journalists writing about social distancing, mask wearing, opening of businesses, etc. seem to lack not only any sense of proportion (both in comparing the danger from Covid to other risks, such as flu, and to the negative effects of shutting down and regulating society) but also any awareness of the actual facts relating to the virus, beyond what they were told back in March. (And I'm talking about FACTS here, from official sources like PHE and the US CDC. The numbers speak for themselves, but nobody seems to be listening)
From people's behaviour in visiting beaches, pubs etc. since the relaxing of lockdown regulations, it seems like the general public are steadily becoming less fearful, either from awareness of the facts or just deciding they're happy to take the risk rather than stay at home. But many people are still fearful, and without a less alarmist, censorious attitude from the media, society as a whole isn't going to be able to get back to its senses (even without lunatic Government decisions like making masks compulsory just as the pandemic is dying out in England)
Not much point in going into more detail describing the situation as I'm sure everyone else here will know exactly what I'm talking about! My question is: what is it going to take for the media to start to change their tune?
It seems to me like a ready-made opportunity for the political Opposition and the media that support them, but the latter still don't seem to have much to say beyond "should have locked down earlier" and sneering at the great unwashed risking a second wave by not social distancing in pubs. I do wonder if part of the problem is that, like the Government, the media are afraid of the consequences of admitting they were wrong. This may be overestimating the intelligence and memory of the public, I think there have been plenty of times where papers or individual journalists have done a U-turn on their attitude to particular issues and hoped nobody would notice!
Anyway I would be interested to hear people's thoughts. I did wonder if some kind of (unofficial) advertising campaign, with the basic facts on fatality rates, immunity etc., could help, but I suspect this might be blocked as "spreading misleading information".