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Let’s start a new coronavirus conversation

by Stuart Wood

Julian Agostini, managing director of Mash Media, calls for a more open and balanced response to the coronavirus crisis by the media and government in order that new approaches to the crisis might be found that lessen its impact on the events industry, wider economy and the nation’s mental health.

One of the first rules of journalism is to present a rounded view, both sides of the argument, but as we slip back into yet another lockdown, and maybe oblivion, I remain astonished that no-one seems to be talking about the other side of the argument.

Why not? The country appears to believe we need to keep running away from this virus until it leaves us alone. The media perpetuates that view every day to the point that I find it painful to listen anymore, and I can’t be the only one.

Are we prepared to rid ourselves of this virus at all cost? The cost is soaring to the extent it appears to already be out of control to the point where recovery may never be possible if we don’t start redressing the balance. Here are some of the consequences we are already facing:

  • Horrific unemployment levels and with furlough ending this month it will get much worse
  • The economy in tatters
  • Countless well-run businesses going to the wall
  • Business owners with their souls ripped out; will they have the appetite to go again?
  • Children behind in their education
  • Homelessness and destitution on the rise
  • Gang culture on the rise as kids’ options narrow
  • Crime rates soaring
  • Broken families
  • Relationships of all types curtailed or ruined
  • Stress related illnesses and deaths on the rise
  • Suicides
  • Cancer patients waiting in line
  • Patients needing a donor waiting in line
  • People not being diagnosed for other ailments and dying
  • A life devoid of most of what we enjoy
  • Mental health through the roof

I could go on, but the fallout from this is far worse than the cure we are trying to enforce. What are we doing? It’s madness.

Surely, at the very least, it warrants a rounded discussion in the media, government looking at opening up the economy completely, and society living with whatever this virus brings? It may be that after discussion, debate and taking into account public opinion, it’s decided to remain on the path we’re currently following but let’s at least have the chat and take all perspectives into account because currently it feels like we’re ok to see people’s lives devastated and even ended just so long as it’s not directly from Covid-19. It’s baffling.

Even if we continue with the existing social restrictions, if the events industry could be allowed to operate it would provide an antidote to much of the above list. Events will help re-start businesses, create employment, bring much needed trade to suffering businesses but probably more importantly, the country needs events for its mental health. We need that interaction, the excitement, something to look forward to and talk about. Life without events is just existing and none of us signed up for that. 

So, before we all become brainwashed and start believing that what we’ve seen in the last seven months really is the new normal, let’s all start pushing back. Otherwise we could be lost forever in a desperate and broken society.

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