The end of financial year will soon be upon us. But once you get past…
These days you’d be hard pressed to read the morning news and avoid hearing anything about the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a topic that has been explored at every angle and every anxiety riddled possibility. While infection rates for coronavirus are of concern, the media are notorious for capitalising on events and social media is famous for spreading the hype. While it is important to stay sober and vigilant in the event of a worldwide pandemic, it’s also crucial to separate the facts from the sensationalism, while keeping a healthy dose of perspective.
The threat of mortality is always there
Any death can be tragic, especially when we are imagining the death of a loved one. When the media reports death caused by coronavirus, we can be understandably triggered and disturbed. The hard fact is however, that death occurs on the daily, with or without the help of COVID-19. People are dying untimely and tragically all over the world, most often missed by the media. Even the common flu held the deadliest season in our history during 2017-2018 .
Context is a powerful thing. In Australia in 2017, there was an average of 441 deaths per day, with a variety of causes. The media could quite easily take a fact and figure like this and distort it until it sounds far from a normal statistic, and it could probably cause many people to be fearful about their own mortality. It is important to be aware of the power that the media holds, as we digest their daily information. As far as mortality goes, the average age for a female Australian to die is 85, males being 78. The majority of deaths from coronavirus in Australia were for 70-90+ in both male and females . Let’s not take away from the severity of this virus, as we know quite well that it can claim the health and lives of the vulnerable. However, perspective and wisdom needs to be put into place when we listen to the media talk.
What are some real concerns?
Factors that need not be downplayed however, are the strained economy and healthcare systems, as well as the mental health of Australians and people across the globe.
Experts say that far more Australians will die by suicide due to the lockdown, than those who will die by the coronavirus. The rates of suicide are predicted to be about four times higher than rates of death due to COVID-19 and if unemployment reaches 15 percent, this is predicted to bring the yearly suicide rate up by 50 per cent . Younger people and those living in regional areas are most affected by this factor and the problem is not going away any time soon. While the government has poured funding into mental health, the system is notoriously under resourced and not yet equipped for a mental health crisis of this magnitude.
Other deaths and illnesses not taken into account are the ones of those who are avoiding elective surgery or admittance into hospital due to anxiety of COVID-19. For example, some countries have reported a 40 per cent decrease in cancer cases at the peak of COVID-19. Cancer has not been cured by COVID-19 instead people are not being diagnosed and this has indirectly caused a host of issues and an increase in fatalities.
Is it okay to be concerned?
While an appropriate amount of concern causes us to sit up and pay attention, a little too much anxiety can quickly spiral into feelings of panic, depression and despair. It’s important to be aware of how you are processing information regarding the pandemic and try and ensure you are getting your information from trusted and quality sources, avoiding sensationalist articles.
It’s easy to contribute to the panic, especially on social media. Following advice issued by the government and medical authorities should be enough to ensure that you are doing the right thing and contributing to stopping the spread. There’s no need to panic about hotspots and fears of lockdown unless you are getting that information directly from the source.
It’s never been more important to look after your needs and the needs of those around you. Keep routines where you can, connect with those important to you and talk about how you feel. There are professional resources like Lifeline with people ready to listen and offer support.
It’s never been a better time to talk about your future and where you are headed. To gain some clarity and peace of mind for your goals and the unexpected moments in life, be sure to get in contact with Elliot Watson Financial Planning to assess your current situation and financial needs on 02 4038 1623.
 Is A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis A Consequence of COVID-19 By Professor Maarten IJzerman and Professor Jon Emery, University of Melbourne https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/is-a-delayed-cancer-diagnosis-a-consequence-of-covid-19
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8. Coronavirus – Is Infection The Main Concern?