(Image: AP/Hamish Blair)

The media suffers from serious cognitive bias. That's no secret. But the past year of COVID coverage has really put it in the spotlight.

Back in March last year, as the novel coronavirus was ravaging Wuhan, the virus was wrongly dismissed as little more than another seasonal flu. It's an understandable reaction. The last global pandemic of a similar scale was in 1968. Other threats like SARS and Ebola didn’t end up hugely impacting the West. We all assumed COVID would amount to little because, well, that’s what happened before.

In time, the threat of the virus became clear and it took over the global media narrative. COVID is clearly far more contagious and more lethal than influenza which kills around 400,000 people each year. However, in pandemic terms, COVID remains a minnow compared to the Spanish flu. That virus infected a third of the world's population and killed more than 50 million people -- many of them young.