Can we be honest with one another? The Coronavirus is no hoax. It is, for sure, a real thing. It is highly contagious – perhaps far more so than most experts even know – which could also make it far less deadly than the infectious disease community is currently willing to admit. As this predicament progresses, millions of Americans have been ordered to shelter in place. As such, one is left to wonder if we have become nothing more than zombies locked in an obedience school for humans.
Early in this so-called “pandemic,” President Donald Trump used the word “hoax,” regarding the virus, though he was not implying that COVID-19 wasn’t real, as the deranged media has suggested. He was referring to the hysteria that had been stoked by the esteemed Fourth Estate along with many politicians and global health “experts.” To this day, one wonders if the president personally considers the mass panic we now find ourselves in to be out of proportion with the level of danger or whether he has ingested so much of the panic Kool-Aid, his tongue has turned purple.
If he has held onto those first impressions, then perhaps he may be on to something.
Most people accept the fact that this particular Coronavirus strain first took hold in the Chinese province of Wuhan, back in November of 2019. For all anyone knows, though, it may have been earlier, since there is no telling how long the Chinese government successfully concealed the existence of the virus.
One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
So, this bug has been with us for about the same length of time as seasonal influenza, which, like the Academy Awards, Christmas albums, and re-runs of Friends, attacks the human race, without mercy, every year. As of April 5, the CDC records total U.S. Coronavirus cases and deaths – confirmed and presumptive – as 304,826 and 7,616, respectively. Estimated CDC numbers for influenza, for the 2019-2020 flu season, stand at:
- 39,000,000 – 55,000,000 illnesses
- 18,000,000 – 26,000,000 medical visits
- 400,000 – 730,000 hospitalizations
- 24,000 – 63,000 deaths
There’s something wrong with this picture. Remember: the influenza numbers hit this kind of range every year. Additionally, millions of Americans get a flu shot annually, and still, we are ravaged, year in, year out. If the upper estimates are accurate, then the flu kills as many Americans every year as were killed in the Vietnam War, if not more (listed in the Defense Casualty Analysis System are 58,220 U.S. military fatal casualties in that war).
No Planes, Trains, or Automobiles?
Life goes on, though, for the rest of us. Many people do not even skip a day of work, even though they have flu-like symptoms – and, indeed, that may go a long way toward accounting for the massive numbers. The point is, though, that we have never considered it necessary to shut down the entire country, to potentially sacrifice the livelihoods of small business owners and their employees, to halt the buses and trains, to ground the planes, to close the beaches. We certainly have never, for a single moment, entertained the idea that it is worth dismantling the nation’s economy to stem the spread of seasonal influenza.
Sit down for a moment, ignore the sound of your infant child crying to be let out of the dryer, wedge that sock a little further into the mouth of your teenage child, tell your spouse’s grandmother that, yes, the air outside her guestroom is still poisonous and ponder, for a moment, that reality: we lose tens of thousands of human beings every year to a bug that doesn’t even slow normal life down. We shrug off the maybe half-million or so hospitalizations. We would laugh at the very notion that all regular activity must come to a halt for several weeks or more, in order to save us from the flu.
Insert Another Movie Reference Here
With that perspective, there is undoubtedly only one question to be asked: What, in the name of Santa’s scarlet britches, are we doing? Have we all lost our minds? Is this an episode of The Twilight Zone, or perhaps a bizarre M. Night Shyamalan movie?
If you consider yourself a freedom-loving, God-fearing, red-blooded American – a proud son or daughter of the land of the free and home of the brave – why did you merely shrug your shoulders when a pompous governor or, worse, an arrogant city council leader told you that you’d be fined or jailed if you set foot on the beach? Why did you think to yourself: “Well, it’s for our own good,” instead of thinking: “Excuse me? And just who the flock do you think you are? I’m paying your salary, so don’t tell me I can’t go to the [insert expletive of choice here] beach”?
In the humble opinion of this author, the consequences of what we have allowed politicians and bureaucrats to do to the country over the past two months will resonate long after we have contained the Coronavirus. The adverse effects of what has been done will far outweigh the sickness from which we are all forced to cower.
The real kicker? You’re going to love this if you are currently not aware of it: We are not going to eradicate the virus. Six months from now, it will still be with us, spreading from person to person, even when we are all back to something approaching normality. It is quite likely that you, dear reader, or someone you know will contract COVID-19 at some point within the next year or two. It is entirely possible that ten years from now, the virus will have infected a total of maybe 200,000,000 Americans – even if we have a vaccine by then, which is reasonably sure.
Was the payoff worth it, then? The breaking of the economy, the psychological distress, the bars being closed, the loss of jobs, the boredom, the bars being closed, the separation from friends and family, the uncertainty of the future, the bars being closed? All this to not get rid of a virus. Is it worth it?
Can we be honest with one another?
Read more from Graham J. Noble.
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