Tyranny of distance

Our perception of severity is distorted by accessibility & relatability

An event in Delhi attracts 10x to 100x attention than a similar one in North-east. It's not merely due to easier access for vultures but about greater relatability for their audience. Ceteris paribus, our perception of severity is a function of distance, not merely geographical but psychological.
2020 covid mostly impacted slums (I speak from Mumbai experience, but it's generally true of Metros). 2021 impacted high-rises. Covid's gone from statistical to personal (mine got personal in 2020 itself). "I know someone with it" is more common. This distorts perception. Here's an example.
"More kids got it this time" is a common refrain.
Fact-check: false.
If at all, cases in sub-10-year olds are over-represented in 2021 as those who can't afford it were less likely to test (mostly) asymptomatic young. But this refrain persists, even among doctors, since selection bias and our mental weighting are powerful. Our media world, mainstream & social, is full of people-like-us, further reinforcing an invalid claim that rings true.
Sure, it's only perception. But perceptions can change reality. Late last year, parts of India rightly re-opened schools for some grades. Later this year, above perception can do real harm.