Voice of the people: Elizabeth McCullough




Stresses the importance of accurate, timely stats


Do you ever wonder how some people always manage to look on the bright side of every potential set-back, how they always see the positive in every negative and start each day smelling the roses? Where others might get bogged down in details, they float above it all, blissfully insouciant. It's a talent some of us may envy.


Actually it's not as hard to pull off as you might think. You just have to be more selective in your choices. For instance, if certain statistics would mean having to confront an inconvenient truth, being more selective is the perfect answer. Let's say you don't like the rising mortality rates of the current pandemic. There's an easy solution. Pick the figures of a few months ago and use those numbers in any reference to the extent of the disease. It's simple. Whether done on purpose or by chance, it's a nice way to minimize the risk of a reader succumbing to a full-fledged panic attack if more recent data were used revealing numbers that are now much more shocking, given the rapid spread of this disease. Why be alarmist? In such a case, smaller is definitely beautiful. Confusion can even be beautiful, depending on your objective.



When under attack, it is useful to identify the enemy. If you agree that the enemy is a shadowy little virus, let's attack the virus and spare each other. Instead of riding full tilt into the fray with all the casualties such action entails, we could pick our battles. Imagine if Napoleon had done a proper risk/benefit analysis the day before the disastrous Battle of Waterloo. Today there is a mountainous burial mound marking the field where the battle was fought whereas the end might have been quite different had the Emperor been more perspicacious. Then again maybe not.


How to put a positive spin on jobless rates and the pain suffered by people struggling for basic survival in an economy sinking below the waves? Now there's a real challenge. Taxpayer dollars are being extended as a lifeline for temporary relief but a very big lifeboat is needed and people have to believe that they won't be left destitute. The alternative is ugly. Which is not surprising. Nobody wants to drown. Once again, imagine how much better we would all feel if we only looked on the bright side. We should really try very hard to see the silver lining in the dark clouds of dread and despair. Absolutely. Let me know if you find a way to do that (without the hard work of identifying virus carriers, testing for positives, contact tracing and isolation to break the chain of transmission and so corral the virus). For economic traction, controlling the virus will make all the difference. Viva la difference!


Elizabeth McCullough






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