TV presenter instantly debunks huge virus myth
TV presenter Emily Maitlis has been praised for an "extraordinary" monologue in which she attacked a coronavirus "myth" that "needs debunking".
It isn't about a cure or irresponsible medical advice - rather, the "myth" that the pandemic is a "great leveller" that will affect us all equally.
Hosting BBC's Newsnight this week, Maitlis, a respected British journalist who Aussies will remember from last year's infamous Prince Andrew interview, opened with a powerful statement to viewers.
BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has delivered a strong message on COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/QFHq05ghpH— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) April 9, 2020
"The language around COVID-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the Prime Minister's colleagues will tell us," she began.
"And the disease is not 'a great leveller', the consequences of which everyone, rich or poor, suffers the same. This is a myth which needs debunking.
"Those serving on the front line right now, bus drivers, shelf stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers are disproportionately the lower paid members of our workforce. They are more likely to catch the disease, because they are more exposed.
"Those who live in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown tougher. Those in manual jobs will be unable to work from home. This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare, and it's a welfare issue with huge ramifications for public health," Maitlis said.
It was a simple statement - perhaps already obvious to some - but Maitlis so plainly pointing out that this pandemic affects some more than others was welcomed by viewers, who've praised it as "powerful" and "the strongest minute of current affairs TV since coronavirus started".
Another on social media praised Maitlis for delivering "as great and as brief a comment on the truth of the pandemic as we've yet seen".
However, others criticised Maitlis for "editorialising" rather than remaining impartial.
It’s possible to believe that Emily Maitlis was largely right on Newsnight last night, but also that a BBC news programme presenter shouldn’t have said it. Editorialising news is a slippery slope.— Nick Timothy (@NJ_Timothy) April 9, 2020
In another powerful TV moment as the UK grapples with coronavirus, last week, a frontline doctor gave a brutally detailed description of what it's like to die from the virus.
Dr David Hepburn, an Intensive Care Consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Wales, was asked by the UK's Channel 4 to explain how someone can die after contracting coronavirus. His gut-churning answer, in part:
"What we know is primarily the coronavirus causes respiratory failure. So when it spreads to the lungs, it causes what we call a pneumonitis, where the lungs become very wet and waterlogged inside," Dr Hepburn said. "So the normal mechanisms that keep fluid in the blood break down.
"The little membranes and tissues and the bases of the lungs become porous, and that allows fluid to leak in from the circulation into the lungs, almost like drowning.
"One of the things we provide with ventilators is pressure, which pushes some of that fluid out and helps to keep the lungs open. So … people become exhausted because the work of breathing is so great that they basically become exhausted and die."
Originally published as Host instantly debunks huge virus myth