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Some Media Coverage Of WHO’s Classification Of Zika Could Cause Misunderstanding Of Disease’s Severity

Forbes: How The Zika Virus Outbreak Foretold Donald Trump’s Win
Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center; Lee H. Igel, clinical associate professor in the NYU Tisch Institute and associate of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center; and Kelly McBride Folkers, graduate research associate in the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center

“…[T]here is a huge misunderstanding about the spread of Zika and the WHO view of it. To see that, though, requires reading beyond the headlines and the crazed hashtags. … The big takeaway for many people who have picked up on the news coverage is that WHO no longer regards Zika as a public health emergency. But the big point that they are missing is the reason why: because the virus now fits the criteria for ‘a significant and enduring public health challenge.’ … Because human beings are prone to such selective attention, especially in today’s world of information overload, is why we see punchy, easy-to-understand language dominating thoughtful analysis of issues. … Although the media may not be intentionally distracting people from the real news — that Zika is here to stay — in short headlines, respectable outlets ought to know better. Zika and the victims whose lives it will devastate deserve more of our attention” (12/5).

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