Social media in the current times, by scale alone, has to be entwined with a dose of misinformation.
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, many countries are extending their efforts to make sure that their citizens stay safe. Similarly, the UK PM Boris Johnson too spoke about how the whole situation was to be tackled.
However, a Twitter user took only half of what Mr Johnson said and started sharing it across Twitter and criticized him for his lackadaisical attitude towards approaching the condition and suggesting that the coronavirus is no big deal.
Here’s what was widely shared across Twitter, a clip of Johnson saying the following:
“One of the theories is that perhaps you could sort of take it on the chin. Take it all in one go and allow the disease as it were to move through the population.”
“Take it on the chin” :
80% infected: 42,000,000
3% mortality: 1.2 m deaths
Completely overwhelmed NHS services and knock on mortality across the board I can’t even estimate.
This is not the time for charlatans.
— Dr Dominic Pimenta (@juniordrblog) March 9, 2020
Judging by the above-written excerpt taken from a recent interview, it is natural to think that the UK PM was simply giving up and claiming that nothing could be done to stop the virus from spreading.
But then, listening to the other half of the clip will paint a different picture altogether.
“I think it would be better if we take all the measures that we can now just to stop the peak of the disease being as difficult for the NHS as it would. I think there are things that we may be able to do.”
Now, combining the former and latter statements, it becomes clear that Boris was anything but careless and wasn’t suggesting that there’s nothing that the public can do in the face of the outbreak.
He, as a matter of fact, was implying a plan which involves being prepared and cautious in advance so as to prevent as many infections as possible.
What’s more, Boris also pointed out the fact that the NHS was already working at its fullest capacity and that a rise in infections would ultimately overburden the government body, because of which it would be wiser to stay safe from infection in the first hand.
Finally, here’s what the UK PM ultimately said:
“One of the theories is that perhaps you could sort of take it on the chin. Take it all in one go and allow the disease as it were to move through the population. I think it would be better if we take all the measures that we can now just to stop the peak of the disease being as difficult for the NHS as it would. I think there are things that we may be able to do.”
But the Twitterati left the most important part of the interview, focused on the wrong part and started criticizing the UK PM’s approach.
All-in-all, it’s a simple case of Twitter experts trying to steal the limelight by misquoting and twisting information, with thousands of other users jumping the bandwagon instead of checking the credibility of the claims.
Yet, unlike a recent Joe Biden video that was flagged as “manipulative” the video remains untagged, leading some to speculate about how Twitter’s system works and whether it’s less or more sensitive in matters of public health.