The additional deaths (above standard/expected rates per month) we’re experiencing in places across the world related to the coronavirus are terrible. Many of these are occurring needlessly due to poor planning and flailing responses. If you’re in any way affected it is heartbreaking, devastating and shocking (and our hearts go out to you). The focus that’s been granted to the pandemic is absolutely understandable ands we should indeed be acting on it (also because overflowing hospitals can cause even more deaths entirely unrelated to the virus). But imagine for a second if other major (and statistically even worse) global issues received the same attention.
Imagine if all our media outlets didn’t just display a ticker of coronavirus related deaths but of deaths attributed (at least in part) to climate change? Or our current systems? A recent study highlighted that air pollution caused an additional 8.8 MILLION premature deaths in 2015. Would we pay more attention if this was in our awareness every single day? If we stared morbidly at the chart going up and up and up? Would we be immediately implementing new policies to stem the avalanche of death each day? It’s horrible to think about but as ever when we’re removed from seeing it in front of our eyes, we tend to place it out of our minds entirely (the problem charity and international development always faces).
The system we’ve developed causes appalling inequities that are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people often due to lack of access to quality health care, clean water, housing, safety, nutrition and food security. Would we pay more attention if we watched the number every day?