Public panic remains high with news of COVID-19 cases released daily across the world. New Zealand’s first imported case was diagnosed within the last few weeks and, following the news, many supermarkets and pharmacies were emptied of stock. The PM immediately issued a warning: this is not a cause for stockpiling and the COVID case was being well managed. Likewise, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a ‘back to basics’ document for the rational use of personal protection, encouraging the public not to panic buy and stockpile.
Avoiding the hype and sourcing genuine facts can be tricky due, in part, to the level of coverage and attention world events receive in today’s media. Sensationalism sells and online journalism makes money through fancy advertising and clickbait headings designed to spread as efficiently as the disease itself.