A Special Report
January 17, 2023: As the world, particularly the mainstream media, slowly whittles down its three-year-long sound and fury over Covid-19, the latest data shows that hunger killed almost 10 times more people than the coronavirus pandemic did in 2022.
According to the real-time data website Worldometers.info, 1.2 million people perished from Covid-19 last year, while hunger devoured 11.12 million people across the globe. We witnessed similar numbers in 2020 as well, with hunger that summer killing 12 times more people than Covid-19 did.
Worldometers, which sources its data from UN agencies such as the WHO (World Health Organisation), in the last week of December also listed several reasons for deaths in 2022, which clearly showed that the loss of lives was way more on account of various other causes compared to the viral infection.
For instance, more than 8.17 million people (at least 7.5 times more than Covid-19 deaths) succumbed to multiple variants of cancer, over 4.97 million (about four times more than Covid fatalities) expired from smoking-related ailments and issues, 2.49 million died from excess alcoholism and for 1.34 million people, traffic accidents proved fatal.
The trend is similar for kids under five years of age. About 7.56 million of them died due to various reasons (over six times more than the overall Covid-related loss of lives). Even the figure for suicides in 2022, at over 1.07 million, comes close to coronavirus-induced deaths.
However, though the Big Media outlets went to town with screaming news headlines and countless primetime on-air shows about the raging pandemic, little space was spared for the other causative factors for human deaths, which together outshot the Covid-19 fatalities by over 20 times. In fact, a perusal of the news generated last year would make one falsely believe that Covid was the only cause of death through the 12 months.
FOOD CRISIS, WHO CARES?
Take the food crisis, for instance – the lack of access to food – which engulfed various parts of the globe, triggering large-scale malnutrition and deaths due to hunger. It dwarfed the range of Covid-led loss of lives. And 2022 was not a one-off case.
According to a report published by the non-governmental organisation Oxfam in July, 2021, 11 people died of hunger each minute around the world, compared to seven who perished each minute from Covid-19. The report, titled “The Hunger Virus Multiplies”, named a number of countries as “the worst hunger hotspots”, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – all of them have been embroiled in bloody conflicts.
It’s true that the widespread disruptions caused in the lives of the common people, particularly in countries that are economically not very sound, as a result of kneejerk reactions such as lockdowns as the prescription for containing the virus, wreaked havoc in the form of unprecedented job losses, loss of man-days and closure of crores of small and medium businesses. This, in turn, triggered an escalation in poverty and hunger worldwide.
BIG MEDIA’S FIXATION
The well-oiled, popular press seemed more fixated on spinning out stories on Covid-19 death figures, empty streets, a cleaner urban environment with vehicles going off the roads, and the daily lives of cine stars and politicians amid lockdowns.
The media’s obsessive stance also led to administrators turning a blind eye towards combating other fatal diseases, on which a lot of global progress had been made in the pre-pandemic years.
Take for instance, tuberculosis. In October 2021, the WHO conceded that the “Covid-19 pandemic has reversed years of global progress in tackling tuberculosis, and for the first time in over a decade, TB deaths have increased”.
“In 2020, more people died from TB, with far fewer people being diagnosed and treated or provided with TB preventive treatment compared with 2019, and overall spending on essential TB services falling… In many countries, human, financial, and other resources have been reallocated from tackling TB to the Covid-19 response, limiting the availability of essential services,” the WHO said in the report.
Another case in point is the drop in childhood vaccination rates for other diseases. In July 2021, the UNICEF and the WHO reported that 23 million children missed out on basic vaccines through routine immunisation services in 2020 – 3.7 million higher than in 2019.
“Concerningly, most of these – up to 17 million children – likely did not receive a single vaccine during the year, widening already immense inequities in vaccine access. Most of these children live in communities affected by conflict, in under-served remote places, or in informal or slum settings where they face multiple deprivations including limited access to basic health and key social services,” the two agencies admitted.
Big Media’s lopsided priorities and its obsession with Covid deaths made it convenient for the powers-that-be worldwide to get away with criminal negligence towards the prevention and treatment of bigger mass killer ailments. And the full picture of the mayhem would probably emerge only in the coming years, unless the harsh reality is successfully swept under the carpet through the manufacture of consent, to use social critic Noam Chomsky’s famous words.
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