Journalism and the Corona Virus

It is really difficult to find out exactly what is going on with the corona virus pandemic. I always hope that journalists are able to tell us what is actually happening, and what has happened around the world; that, after all, is what news is about. Unfortunately, journalists concentrate on asking ministers and officials to make predictions and speculate about the future, and having found out (rightly so) that no predictions are possible in the present circumstances, the journalists make predictions and speculations themselves, often by interviewing other journalists.

This is not news; this mere lazy prophecy, a pointless and an annoying undertaking when passed off as news by those too full of self-importance to make proper enquiries.  It ill serves the populace.

One journalist, Mr Robert Peston, suggested at a recent briefing that Public Health England was dragging its feet in approving a new antibody test at one of these briefings. The question implied that PHE was dragging its feet, and denials that it was not dragging its feet simply allow the libel to be repeated. Mr Peston should know better. The antibody test has to be carefully and properly tested to make sure it is fit for its intended purpose. I would imagine that those testing the antibody test are working much harder and much longer hours and for much less pay than Mr Peston.

What should be investigated by journalists instead of wasting ministers and officials’ time asking by foolish questions at daily briefings? At the time of writing, China claims that only 3,335 people have died as a result of corona virus cases. Perhaps this figure is worth investigating, especially when the UK has recorded 7,097 deaths.

One Response

  1. As a result of the western world’s governments response to a flu like virus there has been a gigantic/enormous drop in human sourced emissions of CO2 for at least 2 months from most western countries. No planes, no cars, stranded oil tankers, no manufacturing, no building, no travel/commuting and little heating. i.e perverse but still a genuine “net zero” scenario for western economies. Can’t wait for 2050…not!

    But what has happened to atmospheric CO2? NOAA (Mauna Loa) says …

    ” There have been many inquiries whether we can see in our CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa and elsewhere the slowdown in CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. That drop in emissions needs to be large enough to stand out from natural CO2 variability caused by how plants and soils respond to seasonal and annual variations of temperature, humidity, soil moisture, etc. These natural variations are large, and so far the “missing” emissions do not stand out, but we may see them as the year progresses. Here is an example: If emissions are lower by 25%, then we would expect the monthly mean CO2 for March at Mauna Loa to be lower by about 0.2 ppm. When we look at many years of the difference between February and March we expect March to be higher by 0.74 ppm, but the year-to-year variability (one standard deviation) of the difference is 0.40 ppm. This year the difference is 0.40 ppm, or 0.33 below average, but last year it was 0.52 ppm below average.

    Most of the emissions come from urban areas, so that it may be easier to see the effect downwind of cities, although also in that case they need to stand out from natural variations. Only measurements of carbon-14 in CO2 would enable us to cleanly separate fossil sources of CO2 from ecosystem sources and sinks regardless of how variable the latter are.”

    So, my interpretation of NOAA’s statement is hat even when half the industrialised world switches off its CO2 emissions, the reduction in atmospheric COS is not even noticeable.

    Hmm…I wonder when NOAA will start manipulation (sorry) updating of the raw data?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: