I suppose that the new coronavirus epidemic is the main news item these days. But I seem to know less and less about it. And more and more it’s a matter of guessing.
What’s happening in China? According to some reports, the Chinese economy is imploding, because everybody is staying home, and not going to work. According to other reports, everything is under control, and functioning more or less normally. Which is it?
One interesting thing about China, as far as I’m concerned, is that I never get any hits on my blog from China. Or none that I’ve ever noticed. And that has led me to suppose that the Chinese internet doesn’t connect with the global internet. Chinese people can post videos on Chinese websites, but not outside China. So Chinese videos seem only to leak out when people outside China somehow manage to see them. So China is a black hole. And yet it’s the most populous country in the world.
I should add that my blog gets hardly any hits from India either. And that’s the next most populous country in the world after China. But I get quite a few hits from Russia. So Russia is far more open than China (and India).
Anyway, perhaps that’s why I don’t know what’s happening in China: the information isn’t getting out. Or what’s getting out is what the Chinese government allows to get out through official Chinese news media.
And with the arrival of the internet, it becomes more and more possible to get news from unofficial sources rather just than official ones. The internet is news by word of mouth, but amplified to travel on the grapevine all over the world, not just to friends and neighbours on the same street. The internet has made the world into a small town, and it’s no longer possible for the little town’s newspaper to define what is and isn’t news. And people stop reading newspapers when they find that they’ve been bending the news, and can’t be trusted. And that’s why news organisations everywhere are slowly going out of business: they’re not trusted any more. Instead of people getting news from a single source, they get it from multiple sources. But the sources often conflict, so the news becomes uncertain. You don’t know who to believe, or what to believe.
My current guess is that the new coronavirus is highly infectious, but not particularly lethal. I suspect it’s being hyped up to be worse than it actually is. After all, everything gets hyped up to be worse than it actually is (e.g. climate change), so most likely coronavirus is being hyped as well.
But that’s just my guess.
Your guess is as good as mine.