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Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis has been widely praised after “debunking”. the “trite and misleading” language used to discuss coronavirus.
Government ministers have repeatedly used confrontational language to discuss the effort against coronavirus, with Dominic Raab describing Boris Johnson – currently in intensive care – as a “fighter”.
During Wednesday’s programme, Maitlis described the platitudes as “misleading”, saying that the myth of the virus as a social “leveller” had to be debunked.
She said. “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 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.”
Coronavirus has exposed the gulf between the lives of those struggling to make ends meet and the wealthy, with everything from job instability to feeding your family viewed through the new lens of how we cope in a crisis.
People on lower incomes are much more likely to be exposed to the virus because of the risk posed both by their jobs and their living situation – something Maitlis also pointed out.
She added: “Those on the front line right now; bus drivers and shelf-stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers are disproportionately the lower-paid members of our work force.
“They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed.”
With the sun shining, last weekend brought arguments about the use of public space during the coronavirus crisis to the fore, with people divided between the demand to stay home, and the need to get outside for both mental and physical wellbeing.
Huge divides in living arrangements were also brought up, with many pointing out that for those with the luxury of a house and garden would generally have an easier experience of lockdown than those in flats with no outside space.
Maitlis also alluded to this argument, saying: “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.”
Her frank takedown of the language used to talk about coronavirus has earned her widespread praise online, with a clip of the show shared thousands of times.
Emily Maitlis very eloquently expressing what a lot of people are thinking. #coronavirus is not a leveller, it hits key workers and those with lower incomes hardest. #LocalHeroes https://t.co/M7FRxDMtAs— Liam McGrath (@liamkmcgrath) April 9, 2020
PLEASE WATCH THIS.— jack rem x (@jackremmington) April 9, 2020
Understanding the racial and class implications of Covid-19 is vital. It isn’t a leveller in the way most of us like to think it is - certain demographics are hit *much* harder than others pic.twitter.com/tZUYWk7umV
This is fantastic from Emily Maitlis! More like this please from BBC and all media outlets. https://t.co/B0E74HPXOo— Laura Duggan (@lauraeduggan) April 9, 2020
It is astonishing & very, very sad that some people remain incapable of seeing this magnificent monologue as a clear expression of compassion & concern for *everybody*. Humanity can’t be partisan. Maybe people need more help understanding that. Seminal broadcasting by @maitlis. https://t.co/klK17qE0Wl— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) April 9, 2020
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.