Time to dump the daily COVID number obsession

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Just before 9am each morning, the producers over at ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Today’ hover their fingers over the keyboards, and almost with nervous excitement wait for the daily COVID tweet from NSW Health.

How many numbers today?

No matter the number – high, low or average – said producer eagerly whacks the ‘breaking news’ strap across the bottom of the screen and blasts the number into our lounge rooms.

Across radio and on news websites, the same thing.

Imagine how excited the press pack got today when Health Minister Brad Hazzard predicted NSW could hit 25,000 cases a day by the end of January.

The obsession with daily case numbers has gone on for way too long and has not been the most important number released by NSW Health for some time.

There was a time when the daily case numbers were critical, but that time was long ago when we were chasing what was always a mythical dream – zero cases.

We’re all getting on with our lives now. We’re shopping, heading to the pub, visiting family and friends and preparing for Christmas.

But the mainstream media refuses to accept this, and continues its constant barrage of coverage focused on case numbers. As a result, the public keep focusing on them too.

It needs to stop.

Perhaps NSW Health needs to drop the daily case number from its Tweets. I sense the Government would like them to.

The most important numbers when it comes to the pandemic now are the hospitalisation and ICU figures, and the vaccination rate. None of those are perfect, but they’re pretty darn good, especially when compared internationally.

We can only hope that the Christmas break gives us an opportunity to reset the way we cover COVID and what we focus on.

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