Using Maya Angelou’s famous quote as a guide, let us step back for a moment and do the best we can unless and until we know better, as it relates to COVID-19, aka Coronavirus.
The major disconnects as it relates to the Coronavirus at this hour are between reality and what we’re told is inevitability. More and more scientists, world leaders, and pundits are telling us how bad the Coronavirus is going to be; Maria Bartiromo (pundit) said on Fox Business Thursday afternoon that her sources tell her that “hundreds of thousands of Americans,” will die before this crisis is controlled. A research study released Friday by the Australian National University (scientists) reports that the best case scenario for the end of the Coronavirus Pandemic is 15 million dead people. The World Health organization (world leaders) meanwhile, erroneously repeats over and over again that COVID-19 has a death rate of 3.4 – 3.8% (when in actuality, if you remove China from the calculation, the number immediately drops to less than 1%), and that it is a “false hope,” that warmer weather will help slow the spread of the virus. (Something many scientists initially said was the inevitable end of the Coronavirus; similar to the spread of the flu, which all but dies when temperatures rise above 70 degrees).
Meanwhile, the reality is vastly and starkly different to the forecasts. As of this writing, 19 Americans have died from COVID-19; 2 Floridians in their 70’s, 16 elderly people in Washington State all part of a nursing home, and an “elderly man with health challenges,” in Northern California. In other words, every American that has died is the type of person most susceptible to being at risk of survival from pretty much everything and anything. It’s almost a coincidence that the Coronavirus is what killed them, given that a broken hip, the flu, or rusty nail all could have just as easily been the culprit.
We have barely tested any Americans for COVID-19, so we don’t really know how many are infected. One thing we do know is how pervasively contagious the virus is, so logic dictates that there are most likely tens if not, more likely, hundreds of thousands of Americans walking around with the Coronavirus already. The key to that sentence is “walking around.” To most people, COVID-19 is a mild case of the flu, more closely resembling symptoms of the common cold; the sort of thing Americans generally ignore and simply sleep off or work their way through, just as we always have.
That is not to suggest that the panic will ebb if, and when, the truth comes out. If, a month from now, it is reported that the CDC estimates 5 million Americans have COVID-19 and, at that time, 29 have died from it (all elderly and health compromised), will that suddenly end the hysteria and panic amongst the American citizenry? Not likely, based on both history and current events. We are a scared culture unlike never before which thrives on drama and hand wringing (and now hand washing).
To ignore the parallels between the Coronavirus and Climate Change is to be intellectually dishonest. For decades; scientists, pundits, and world leaders have made proclamation after proclamation about the dire and inevitable effects of man-made Global Climate Warming Change; and in every single instance, none of what was foretold has come to pass. In October of 2018, I documented and footnoted a dozen such doomsday prophecies, all of which had one similar outcome; the world wouldn’t be here today. Yet it is. And yet, more than ever, we have tens of millions of people believing the world will not exist in less than a decade from now as a result of man-made Global Climate Warming Change. Thus, the hope that America’s insane reaction to COVID-19 will be halted by facts that contradict all of the dire predictions is nothing more than a path to despair. https://radradio.com/robs-soapbox/climate-change-that-cried-wolf/
To be clear; the Coronavirus is already killing, and will continue to kill, thousands and maybe hundreds of thousands of Americans. Not directly, but rather as the result of our childish reaction to a giant nothing burger:
- There is already a shortage of hospital beds in Washington State to treat flu victims. You remember the flu? It’s a virus that kills around 50,000 Americans and 650,000 humans worldwide every year. But thanks to the dreaded Coronavirus, we are now more concerned with keeping people contained from catching COVID-19 and are incapable of treating flu victims.
- As hospitals and the health system becomes more exposed, more of them are being quarantined out of “an excess of caution,” which is another way of saying “better safe than sorry,” which is another way of saying “live in fear!” Hide from something this is essentially nothing, on the off-chance it might become something, and meanwhile, while hiding from that possibility, watch in horror as actual death occurs all around, totally unrelated to the possible something that never becomes anything.
- As hospitals and the health system become more overloaded and shorter staffed, it will become literally impossible to treat everyone. By simple math, the obvious result will be exponentially more and unnecessary death; people needing emergency appendectomies, suffering from pancreatitis, hemorrhaging, and god knows what else, simply won’t be able to be found, transported, and treated at the rate they need to be. And from there, things will cascade downward. When all is said and done the fatal effects of the Coronavirus will never truly be known, but will also never be correlated because hey, at least we didn’t get COVID-19!!
For this is the classic playbook at work:
- Create or dramatize a crisis that is either not real or is not actually a true threat
- Cause fear and panic over said crisis which is not actually a threat
- Claim to be in charge, have everything under control, and be working tirelessly to put an end to the crisis which has no chance of ever becoming an actual crisis.
- Inflate, distort, manipulate, and overreport statistics to keep people in fear of the non-crisis while ignoring actual, existing and legitimate things people should be focused on, like say, the flu.
- Wait until you can no longer lie, and then report that you have, in fact, contained, controlled, and conquered the very crisis that never had a chance of becoming, nor did it actually become, a threat to relatively anyone.
- Take credit for your amazing work as a leader, hero, and protector of all, and wait to be thanked for stopping something that was never going to be anything.
That’s the playbook of humanity as it relates to fear and hysteria. You can apply the steps to almost anything that has ever reached such a scale. Climate Change, Ebola coming to America, Y2K, Bird and swine flu, SARS, West Nile, and even the tsunami’s that were going to hit the West Coast after Fukushima.
We see it all the time on a micro-level as well; there are countless Americans walking around today believing that sex trafficking in this country is an epidemic; despite endless, breathless, and exhausting attempts to calm people by proving otherwise. Untold numbers of mindless dolts believe that bees are disappearing and that salt causes high blood pressure and that hand sanitizer makes you less prone to diseases, when the opposite has been proven irrefutably in every case.
We are a gullible, stupid, scared nation that closes schools on forecasts of snow, not actual snowfall. So, it should come as no surprise that millions of American parents are demanding that schools close and/or are keeping their kids at home as a result of the Coronavirus, which does not infect nor harm children. Not one child in the world has died as a result of COVID-19, and the few that have been infected see almost no symptoms. Yet, as of this writing, 125 American children have died of the flu in the last 4 months.
My wife just interrupted me to report that her law school just initiated contingency plans for empty classrooms as a result of the Coronavirus. After discussing such, as she walked away, she said “so are we going to do this for the flu next year?” That would be the optimistic end to the Coronavirus panic; that it would force us to start taking seriously something that actually directly kills tens of thousands of Americans including children every year. Thus, we know it will not be the outcome.
Most hopefully, the story will simply fade away as the threat doesn’t ever materialize. More likely, we’ll get the courageous announcement of success sometime this Spring of controlling a threat that never was real. People will claim that cancelling our lives and acting like terrified babies was the key to success. Either way, we will have upended our lives, panicked our children, and placed countless people at risk for almost literally no reason.
*NOTE: (This was the original end of this week’s Soapbox…but the subsequent e-mail that I reference next was too delicious to resist):
And yet, with all of that, we still receive emails like the one printed below, sent to us Saturday morning (3/7/2020) from a listener named Mike. Unlike me, Mike does not footnote or cite any of his claims (most of which are refutable if not at best, questionable). He also uses the intimidation of “math,” in his email to scare as many people as possible. “Math,” when used as a substitute for science, is meant as a bludgeon tool against dissent. Because, after all, math is math. “Two plus two is clearly four, so everything I have said must be true, right,” says Mike.
The problem with analytical data is that it is meant to be analyzed, not merely extrapolated, as Mike does.
Mike’s email is meant to be forwarded and used as a tool of hysteria, and it will work. People will not question all of the fallacies in his email, they will merely panic more:
From: Mike <redacted>
Sent: Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:31:34 AM
To: RAD Radio <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Covid19 Math
Current data indicate Covid 19 coronavirus cases double every four days.
There are currently 340 known cases in the US.
IF…that number doubles every four days, in 80 days there will be 267 Million cases in the US.
The population is 331 million people in the US.
80% of the population will be infected in 80 days per this math.
At a death rate of 2%, 5.3 million people will die from coronavirus in the next 80 days in the USA.
This equates to 1.6% of the US population dead in the next 80 days.
This is just raw math extrapolating the data currently available.
Hey Mike…I already covered the fact that the United States is catching up to figuring out how many actual cases exist in America, meaning the reporting will be alarming for weeks. I also already addressed the death rate which, when China is removed from current statistics is a mere 0.7% worldwide (and that still includes Iran and Italy, two other countries which have completely botched their response to this virus).
IF (as you like to say), 80% of the American population were to contract the virus and IF the death rate were 0.7% (which it clearly is not…it’s much lower) we would now have cut your death total by 3.5 million people.
And yet, this also betrays the fact that in China, where this all started (and is now under a microscope literally and figuratively), the spread has already been abated…in fact, China began resuming normalcy as long ago as more than a week ago, when the spread dropped dramatically, once everything stabilized. In other words, the actual “spread” is nothing like what math makes it seems at this time. The truth is, perhaps, that half the world already has it…which, IF true, would place the death rate around .0000008% (As long as we’re just going to make up “what ifs” using math, let’s really go nuts).
I’ve noted all of my facts below (items 9 & 10), which will be irrelevant to fear mongers like Mike.