The revelation of President Trump, and subsequently more than a dozen of his advisers, cabinet members, and closely held Senators, testing positive for the Coronavirus, has set-off a fresh wave of Covid hysteria in America.
Within 48 hours of that story, Cam Newton, one of the biggest names in the NFL, and quarterback for the vaunted New England Patriots, had also produced a positive test, while the Tennessee Titans, as of this writing, were near 20 total positives for their team. Both events caused the postponements of at least two NFL games this weekend.
These two momentous occurrences, reported breathlessly and endlessly across mainstream, conservative, and social media have provided a clear and unequivocal answer to one of the many questions that continue to linger within America; yes, we are still an irrational and terrified nation as it relates to Covid-19.
There was a hope that as time passed and people became more restless, there would be more of us who finally declared that we must find a way to live with the virus, not run from it. There was a sense that perhaps, as people saw that around the world, many countries wearing masks were having the exact same rates of spread as countries never wearing masks, there’d be a universal understanding that, at best, masks have no effect, and we could eliminate that very polarizing issue from our society. There was a sense of optimism that as hundreds of millions of parents were forced to embrace yet another round of distance learning and see the detrimental effects all of this is having on their children, that a “mama bear,” uprising would occur and a demand of normalcy would be uproarious and impossible to ignore.
None of those things are happening; and the events of the past 72 hours prove they aren’t going to.
Let us disregard the wretched stupidity that is social media, particularly as it relates to wild conspiracy theories on both sides, along with seemingly endless human refuse literally and overtly wishing death upon the President of the United States. Instead, let’s focus on peoples’ overwhelming solutions to both of these major events.
As news of Trump’s infection was blasted across the world, it was accompanied by companion headlines proclaiming “the US just recorded the most daily COVID-19 infections in nearly 2 months.” Within those articles there was no context provided as it related to the death rate not rising, the testing rate increasing exponentially, the national hospitalization rate dropping, and the actual case rate dropping. To the last point, of course there are more cases when you test more; the key is what percentage of people tested are coming back positive. If we test 1,000 people Tuesday and get 50 positives, and then on Wednesday we test 2,500 people and get 52 positives, guess what? The headline says “Cases increase on Wednesday!” Even though the case rate plummeted.
With all of that ignored, the loudest Americans had very simple answers; end the NFL season immediately and lockdown the nation, including a national mask mandate. Yes, this again.
Despite the fact that we all just witnessed a 4-month real-life experiment called “Major League Baseball,” which showed that yes, an organized sport in America can produce a season outside of a bubble amidst the pandemic. MLB had scares, postponements, and more than half a dozen teams with outbreaks and is now about to play the World Series. They never shut down, they played through, with safety protocols in place, and they succeeded. No one died, no one went to the hospital. And yet, despite that amazing success story literally happening right before our eyes, we see a similar, yet not nearly as extreme occurrence in the NFL, and people, most notably (and alarmingly) sports fans, are calling for the NFL to just shut it down until Spring. (and please don’t ask what’s so magical about Spring; there are never logical answers to the lunacy that is 2020).
On the other end of the spectrum, there are plenty of people taking joy in Trump’s diagnosis as proof of his approach to the virus not working. While doing so, they ignore entirely the millions of people wearing masks and social distancing who also still got the virus. And so, of course, they see this as the much feared “second wave.” As we continue to live in a state of perpetual insanity, defined as repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result, the new national cry is to repeat what we did during the first wave; lock it down and run from the virus!
Those of us who dare to suggest that there is another way; one in which we must learn to live with the virus, are constantly told to “follow the science.” Presenting scientists and doctors who also believe that living with the virus is the proper path gets you nowhere for reasons that are never explained. The truth is that we’re not following science, we’re following hysteria.
In fact, all of the “science,” we’ve been told to follow has been hypothetical and based on computer models, human bias of worse-case-scenarios, and laboratory experiments.
We now have actual science in the form of tons of data gathered over the last 6 months across the world. We don’t need science, or even mildly educated people, to understand the irrefutable results of what our decisions have accomplished.
To judge from the evidence, the answer is clear: Mandated lockdowns had no effect on the spread of the coronavirus. When you compare the actual results in states like California, Nevada, New York, and New Jersey which imposed extreme lockdown measures to states like Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Iowa which had much more mild responses you see one clear thing is true: There is absolutely no difference in results as it relates to the per-capita spread of the virus, hospitalizations, and even deaths. Just as if you compare America to the world and see countries with similar lockdown measures having the exact same overall results as those like Sweden and Poland, just on different timelines. In other words, like masks, lockdowns essentially had zero effect on the outcomes.
What we do know is that the lockdowns have, and continue to have, detrimental effects on every other facet of our lives outside of the virus. The economic devastation is obvious and still not fully known; let’s not forget that the lockdowns also prevented cancer screenings, heart-attack treatment and substance-abuse counseling, all with still as yet unknown levels of suffering, despair and death. Our mental health is spiraling, our children are irreparably altered in negative ways we have yet to fully understand, and even our dental health, as a result of wearing masks endlessly, is reaching epidemic levels. Oh, and other countries around the world are determining the exact same things about the results of their lockdowns, even as they insanely lock down again.
And yet we cry for more. So much for faith and optimism in the American populace.