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Controversy Sparks After Greta Thunberg Included On Panel About Coronavirus

Controversy Sparks After Greta Thunberg Included On Panel About Coronavirus

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has been included on a CNN Town Hall panel.

While that might not sound strange to people who have watched the teenager speak about the dangers of climate change in a raft of different forums, the topic of conversation for this latest debate has nothing to do with climate.

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Instead, CNN has billed the event as 'Coronavirus - Facts and Fears'.

Thunberg will be joined by former acting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Richard Besser, former US Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CNN's Anderson Cooper and the network's Chief Medical Correspondent and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery Dr Sanjay Gupta.

The heavy hitting team will be discussing everything about the pandemic, which has led to questions as to why Ms Thunberg has been included.

Reacting to the news on social media, one person wrote: "Greta Thunberg? Now, she's a COVID expert? @CNN is a joke!"

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Another added: "Because a teenager best known for skipping school is who CNN considers an expert virologist."

However, there was also a chorus of support for the young woman.

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Oscar-winning actor Patricia Arquette replied with: "She's has extraordinary knowledge and she is the next generation that is left to clean this mess we've made. They wouldn't have her there if she wasn't a powerful voice."

Writer Roxane Gay added: "Unqualified men appear on cable all day every day, bloviating endlessly, but Greta Thunberg is a bridge too far? OK."

CNN hasn't revealed exactly what all the talking points are, so there could be an area where Greta can offer some of her opinion and knowledge.

In March, she shared a warning to people to stay home after experiencing symptoms similar to the virus.

View this post on Instagram

The last two weeks I've stayed inside. When I returned from my trip around Central Europe I isolated myself (in a borrowed apartment away from my mother and sister) since the number of cases of COVID-19 (in Germany for instance) were similar to Italy in the beginning. Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father - who traveled with me from Brussels. I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever. In Sweden you can not test yourself for COVID-19 unless you're in need of emergent medical treatment. Everyone feeling ill are told to stay at home and isolate themselves. I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it's extremely likely that I've had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances. Now I've basically recovered, but - AND THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: I almost didn't feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultainously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough. And this it what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don't know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups. We who don't belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others. Please keep that in mind, follow the advice from experts and your local authorities and #StayAtHome to slow the spread of the virus. And remember to always take care of each other and help those in need. #COVID #flattenthecurve

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on

She explained that testing for coronavirus is only available for people who require emergency medical treatment in Sweden - so it's impossible for her to be sure if she had the disease.

Greta and her father started experiencing symptoms after they returned home from Greta's tour around central Europe. The tour stopped in Germany, which has been badly hit by the virus and currently has more than 174,000 cases.

Greta explained she self-isolated for two weeks when she arrived back home, fearing she had been exposed to the disease on her travels.

She wrote on Instagram: "I almost didn't feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this!

"Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultaneously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough.

"And this is what makes it so much more dangerous. Many (especially young people) might not notice any symptoms at all, or very mild symptoms. Then they don't know they have the virus and can pass it on to people in risk groups.

"We who don't belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19-Negative

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie is a Trending Journalist at LADbible. His first job was as a newsreader and journalist at the award winning Sydney radio station, Macquarie Radio. He was solely responsible for the content broadcast on multiple stations across Australia when the MH17, Germanwings and AirAsia disasters unfolded. Stewart has covered the conflict in Syria for LADbible, interviewing a doctor on the front line, and has contributed to the hugely successful UOKM8 campaign.