Era of fake news

March 20, 2020

WE live in an era where it is so easy to spread false information and fake news because of social media.
People will do anything to attract attention to their posts so they can have retweets or a hit or view on their Facebook accounts or youtube channel. In this crisis of COVID-19, they post everything without checking the facts.

One post that called our attention says that there are really plagues every 100 years: the bubonic plaque in 1720, cholera outbreak in 1820, Spanish flu in 1920 and now, corona in 2020.

We did some research and we learned that the bubonic plague called the Black Death didn't really happen in 1720 but struck Europe in 1347, spread by fleas from animals that carried bacteria.

The next outbreak of this plague was in 1894, when it spread from Yunnan Province of China. It spread to other cities abroad via shipping routes, infecting first Chinese people in San Francisco Chinatown from 1900 to 1904, leading to the Chinese Exclusion Act banning Chinese people from entering the USA.

The last major outbreak in the US was in 1924 that spread through rats.  The World Health Organization says that in 1994, there was a plague outbreak in 5 states of India, leading to the migration of Indians within India to avoid the plague.

Now, about the cholera pandemic. It didn't really happen in 1820 but began in 1817 when it started in Calcutta, India then spread to other Asian countries reaching the Mediterranean Coast and Africa. It persisted until 1824 and researchers believe that the harsh cold winter of 1823-24 killed the bacteria that spread in the water supplies.

Now, the Spanish flu. This is called the H1N1 influenza believed to have originated in Northern China in 1917, but there are also theories that it started in France and in Kansas, USA.

But it was quickly contained by the end of 1918. The belief is that doctors got better in treating the pneumonia that resulted from the virus and that the virus itself has mutated to a less lethal strain.

So next time you read stories from alarmist people, don't believe it right away. Do your own research instead of helping to spread panic. One annoying post we've read says: "It's all over for humanity." This is so defeatist. We can all survive this. With the help of God, with us taking better care of ourselves, with better information from the right sources, we will overcome.

Just take note that all this happens right during the season of LENT. The LORD must be saying something to us. it's time for honest reflection of where we are now, what we are doing, where we are going. Only we ourselves can supply the answer to those questions.

In previous years before corona, at this time of year, the main concern of people would be where will they spend Holy Week. Will they go to the beach, to Baguio, or abroad? Observing the sanctity of the season that honors the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is farthest from their minds. 

The important thing is to have a vacation and go gallivanting. We ourselves are guilty of this. Mea Culpa.

So ayan, sabi siguro ni Lord, Kuwaresma ngayon, manahimik kayo sa mga bahay nyo at magnilay-nilay kung ano ba talaga ang kahalagahan ng semana santa at ano ba ang katuturan ng buhay nyo. So let’s take a pause. Pray that this crisis will be over soon. Have a meaningful Lenten Season and a truly happy EASTER!!!! We will resurrect!!!!