Colombia’s main news media are so busy relaying propaganda they forget it’s the medical community and scientists whose research, hard work and expertise is what is saving lives.
Instead, they are reporting coronavirus statistics as if they were sports results and interviewing politicians who would be as ignorant about pestilence as the next guy.
Consequently, the public is in the dark about the ongoing debate between scientists and medical professionals on how to prevent deaths, which I believe is pretty fucking relevant.
The National Health Institute (INS), which is led by an epidemiologist, received a gag order as Colombia is supposed to take medical advice from President Ivan Duque and Health Minister Fernando Ruiz.
Consequently, people are told the government tells them to stay at home without any medical professional explaining why.
Mayors put curfews in place to prevent people from visiting their mothers while any medical professional probably could’ve explained why visiting your mother this year might not be a good idea.
The only medical input I have seen on Caracol Noticias is that you can maintain social distancing in bed by having sex on all fours.
Colombia has tremendous scientists and respected medical institutions whose contributions to the public debate would be invaluable, yet they are almost systematically being ignored.
Take epidemiologist Zulma Cucunuba, a research fellow at the Imperial College in the UK. Her expertise alone is enough to kick off a million interesting public debates.
Then there’s the Colombian Medical Federation, the Bogota Medical College and the Colombian Association of Infectious Diseases (ACIN), all institutions with relevant expertise.
The ACIN as recently as last year released an extremely interesting study about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Surely they would have a thing or two to say about the coronavirus.
The problem is that they do. According to the ACIN, Colombia’s mortality rate has gone from 5.8 per million inhabitants on April 30 to 12.2 on May 19, an indication that something is going on.
The media’s effective censoring of medical professionals and institutions is detrimental to the public understanding of the problem we are facing, our health and the quality of political decisions.
This, in turn, will be detrimental to Colombia’s ability to confront and overcome the crisis caused by the coronavirus, an extremely complex problem that requires expertise, not authority.