Sociological Perspectives on the Coronavirus

Last Updated on February 10, 2020 by Karl Thompson

The UK government today declared that the Coronavirus was a ‘serious and imminent threat to public health‘.

This certainly seems to be justified as the number of UK confirmed cases has recently doubled from 4 to 8, and the virus does seem to spreading in South East Asia and beyond.

There’s no doubt this virus is very contagious and the consequences of catching this virus are severe

Based on it’s R0 score (interesting article that, and worth a read!) scientists believe this viurs is more infectious that SARS or Ebola, so there is a high risk of catching it if you come into contact with someone whose got it.

And given the death toll is now approaching 1000, out of 40000 confirmed cases, the stats suggest that you’ve got a a 1/ 4o chance of dying from it, a chance I wouldn’t like to take!

Measures of control as a response

You’ve no doubt heard of the Chinese authorities putting Wuhan in lock-down, and borders being closed, and people being placed in quarantine on return from China to the UK.

All of this is a great example of the continued power of the Nation State to control people’s lives in response to ‘risks to public health’.

A global threat

It’s obvious by now that this is a global threat with global consequences, especially as people are stopped from moving between countries, as are goods, which means there are possibly sever health and economic consequences.

Apparently it’s having a very negative effect on the global education market, the Chinese are big consumers of education, especially in the UK!

Social media, uncertainty, misinformation and fear

This article in the conversation reports on how rumors about the virus have spread, even in China where there are penalties for reposting non-official content about the virus.

But then there’s the fact that we know we can’t trust the Chinese authorities reports on how many people have contracted the virus – it was the Wuhan province authority underplaying the extent of the virus in the first place which led to its rapid spread.

So despite its very ‘real’ nature, the lack of certainty surrounding its spread of tmakes the Coronavirus a very post-modern phenomenon.

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