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COVID-19 Challenges Update 4
May 6, 2020. New York. – COVID-19 continues to present a global challenge for citizens, governments, healthcare professionals, scientists, corporations, and the media.
While the disease creates new challenges, it also highlights long-standing ones in terms of policy, communication, and societal awareness of key issues and how the media reports on these issues.
As the crisis continues we have heard little about those dealing with anxiety disorders and what the impact of the ongoing crisis on them will be. The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5 to 7 percent by country. Globally an estimated 284 million people experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017, making it the most prevalent mental health or neurodevelopmental disorder. Around 63 percent (179 million) were female, compared to 105 million males. Under normal circumstances, anxiety disorders can produce fear that is extreme enough that not everyone is able to live a normal life with the condition. Now, for the last four months they have only seen one headline: COVID-19. Psychologists have tried to alert us to look for signals from those suffering as most are not able or willing to express their stress. In monothematic times like these -- where journalists are far from being willing to join in an open dialogue about whether their choice of news might have extra effects on their audiences –- a phone call, a letter, or any other form of contact can make a difference.
Coverage of the pharmaceutical industry has been substantial as they work to find effective treatment for COVID-19 or to develop a vaccine. While R&D gets the media focus and is positively received, tone on pricing of products remains negative, although the tone has improved from previous lows.
Meanwhile, large scale societal changes from the COVID-19 crisis are likely. In the U.S. alone, more people have died than the country lost in the Vietnam conflict. This type of mass trauma will change how we talk about disease, society, and government and corporate responsibility. In fact, the overall frame for treating all lives as dignified and valuable already exists and has been accepted by 193 heads of state in the form of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals with their 169 clear targets.
To see our complete findings this week on COVID-19, please visit:
These findings are produced in partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the African Union, the Universities Network, UN Academic Impact, and diverse faith communities as we need better data and reporting on solutions for tackling the pandemic.
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