Mirroring a segment we did on Friday’s show, I turn over this week’s soapbox to other people, who happen to be in the ever shrinking category of humans still making sense.
For those of you still feeling the need to engage people on the issue of Covid, perhaps one of these will be of assistance to you, most notably the first one.
Mike Rowe is almost universally beloved. Throughout this crisis, and even on his new show “Dirty Jobs Rowed Trip,” he has found a way to address the pandemic in a way that placates all sides; but he finally seemingly snapped last week and let his guard down…and he did it in the most eloquent, sound, logical way possible. When I read it, I offered the greatest compliment I can give someone: “Hey, I could have written this!” (I have never claimed to be modest).
Perhaps, if you’re lucky, some virtue signaling scaredy-cat in your life would take a moment, given Rowe’s credibility, to at least read his words and try, just for once, to think. I doubt you’ll have any luck, but it’s a damn good read either way.
It begins with a post by an alleged fan of Mike’s named Darlene, and his response follows:
In a recent post, you said you’ve been to Tennessee and Georgia, giving speeches and filming for your new show. Before that, you were on the road shooting for Dirty Jobs. Is it really so important to film a television show in the midst of pandemic? Is it responsible of you to encourage this kind of behavior when infection rates are spiking? Don’t you watch the news? More and more cases every day – aren’t you concerned?
Of course, I’m concerned. I’m just not petrified.
On March 15th, the day after my part of the country was locked down, I posted a link to an interview with Dr. Michael Osterholm. I’m posting it again, because I believe you and everyone else in the country would benefit from listening carefully to what he has to say. https://bit.ly/2WLOM6o
Dr. Osterholm is the Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy. This is the same epidemiologist who ten years ago, predicted a coronavirus would come from China and turn our country upside down. In his book “Deadliest Enemies,” he anticipated the utterly irresponsible way in which the media would report on the situation, the completely opportunistic and shamelessly political way our leaders would likely react, and the unprecedented chaos and confusion that would arise from all the mixed messages from the medical community. His resume is (exemplary), https://bit.ly/3jvzQTW
and his analysis of the situation is the most logical and persuasive of any I’ve heard so far. He’s also the only expert I know of who hasn’t walked back his numbers, reconsidered his position, or moved the goalposts with regard to what we must do, what we can do, and what he expects to happen next. I say all of this because Dr. Osterholm publicly predicted – in early March – that we could conservatively see over 100 million COVID cases in this country, with a very strong possibility of 480,000 fatalities – even if we successfully “flattened the curve.”
It took me a few weeks to accept this scenario, because 480,000 fatalities is a frightening number, and lot of other experts were saying lots of conflicting things. But eventually, I came to the conclusion that Dr. Osterholm was probably correct, and quickly navigated the four stages of grief that usually precede acceptance – denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. By late April, I had come to accept Dr. Osterholm’s predictions as a matter of fact. Since then, I’ve had three full months to come to terms with the fact that, a) I am probably going to get COVID-19 at some point, b), I am almost certainly going to survive it, and c), I might very well give it to someone else.
I hope that doesn’t sound blasé, or glib, or fatalistic, or selfish. Four-hundred eighty thousand deaths is an obvious tragedy, and I’m deeply sympathetic to all who have been impacted thus far. I’m also very concerned for my parents, and everyone else in a high- risk category. But when Dr. Osterholm says that COVID can be slowed but not stopped, I believe him. When he says a vaccine will not necessarily hasten herd immunity, I believe him. And when he says that people have confused “flattening the curve” with “eliminating the virus,” I believe him.
Thus, for the last three months, I’ve been operating from the assumption that this is a year-round virus that’s eventually going to infect 100 million people and kill roughly 1/2 of one percent of those infected, conservatively. I’ve accepted those numbers. Unfortunately, millions of others have not. Many people have no sense of where this is headed, and I understand why. They’ve been betrayed by a hysterical media that insists on covering each new reported case as if it were the first case. Every headline today drips with dread, as the next doomed hotspot approaches the next “grim milestone.” And so, for a lot of people, every day is Groundhogs Day. They’re paralyzed by the rising numbers because the numbers have no context. They don’t know where it will end. But Dr. Osterholm says he does, and I’m persuaded that he’s correct. He might be wrong, and frankly, I hope he is, but either way, he’s presented us with a set of projections based on a logical analysis, and accepting those projections has allowed me to move past denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and get on with my life with a better understanding of what the risks really are.
Fact is, we the people can accept almost anything if we’re given the facts, and enough time to evaluate the risk and make our own decisions. Last year in this country, there were six million traffic accidents and 36,000 fatalities. Tragic, for sure. But imagine for a moment if no one had ever died from a car accident. Imagine if this year, America endured six million traffic accidents and 36,000 fatalities…for the first time ever. Now, imagine if these accidents and fatalities – over 16,000 and 90 per day respectively – imagine if they were reported upon like every new incidence of COVID. What would that do to our willingness to drive? For a while, I suspect it would keep us all off the roads, right? I mean, six million accidents out of the blue is a lot to process, and 36,000 deaths is scary – especially if you don’t know how high that number could get. It would take us a while to (assess) the risk, before we blindly hopped into our cars again. Eventually though – after getting some context and perspective – we’d be able to evaluate the relative danger of operating a motor vehicle. Then, we could decide for ourselves when to drive, where to drive, and how much to drive. And so, we do.
Again, don’t misunderstand. I’m not ignoring COVID, or downplaying COVID, or pretending the risks at hand aren’t real. Nor am I comparing COVID cases to car accidents – I’m simply comparing the fear of each to the other, and the fear that always accompanies uncertainty. I don’t want to get this disease or give it to someone else, any more than I want to be in a car wreck that injures someone else. But I’ve accepted certain things about the pandemic, and now, I’ve gotten used to the risk as I understand it. I take precautions. I get tested as often as I can, and if I can’t physically distance, I wear a mask – especially around higher risk people. Likewise, I wear a seatbelt, obey the speed limits, and check my mirrors before changing lanes. Yes – I’m aware that we’d all be a lot safer if we kept our cars in the garage. I’m also aware we’d be a lot safer if we all kept ourselves in the house. But that’s not why cars, or people, exist.
Anyway Darlene, that’s a long way of saying that I have accepted Dr. Osterholm’s numbers, and now, after three months of acceptance, I’ve made a decision on how I wish to live my life. Sooner or later, you will too. We all will.
Eloquent isn’t a strong enough adjective to properly describe Rowe’s response and attitude. And even if it doesn’t change one mind, it serves another purpose; Through this mess, many of you have wavered and begun wondering if perhaps retreating into our homes and hiding from the virus in perpetuity isn’t maybe the best idea after all. We’ve lost more than a few troops on our side, to say the least. Public shaming and humiliation work, and as more and more people have screamed about cases, masks, and new shutdowns, it has become harder and harder to remain planted in reason, logic and common sense. Yes, even for me, at times. To know that Mike Rowe is firmly in the camp of “learn to live with the virus,” as opposed to “run, hide, and destroy our lives,” (which is sadly where the vast majority of people are) gives me more than just hope and confidence; it confirms and solidifies my resolve more than ever.
Some people, unfortunately don’t like to read. So maybe watching and listening to Bill Maher make sense, with a few comedic notes, as he explains, ultimately that living is about more than just breathing, will do the trick:
Incidentally, we didn’t feature this one Friday, but here’s another of his monologues in which he too, makes the case that we must start living with the virus and none of the policies in place make any sense:
And finally, there’s Joe. Just Joe…a maggot, who wrote a brilliant and factually spot on email to us as to why, exactly, despite no actual reputable science to re-enforce it, everyone is being told to cover their faces. (Incidentally, if that sentence leaves you gob smacked please see previous soapboxes in which we have chronicled that there has never, not once, been a reputable, Randomly Controlled Trial that has ever shown that masks stop the spread of viruses identical to Covid-19…and the only one actually done on Covid-19, back in March in South Korea, showed masks didn’t do a damn thing. Everything you’re being told is based entirely on modeling, human bias, and laboratory experiments filled with assumptions and being paraded about as actual “science.” It’s not).
Now, I’ll grant you, this one isn’t going to change any hearts or minds. First of all, it’s “just a guy,” and for some reason we live in an age where we immediately discredit people until we can’t. In the end, Mike Rowe is “just an entertainer,” and Bill Maher is “just a comedian,” and I am just a “jerk on the radio.” And while that last one is true, it doesn’t mean that us “lay people,” aren’t correct now and then. In fact, throughout history, it is the people who are not in the forest who actually see the trees. We are currently basing our lack of living on the expertise of people who have spent their entire lives learning to be petrified of germs and the potential of a pandemic. We are essentially, as a nation, allowing our moms (the most paranoid people on earth by definition) to decide whether or not we need to put a coat on before we go outside.
Secondly, Joe is not only “just a guy,” but he also posits what morons will call a “conspiracy theory.” It’s not…it’s truthfully, factually, provably true that the scenario he lays out has been successfully used time and time again throughout not just American but world history. But no matter, let’s just all keep repeating the same behavior over and over again while expecting different results. After all, it’s not like that is the very definition of insanity or anything…
“Masks are supposedly worn to prevent droplets from an infected person from being spread to others. Assuming you’re infected, just for a moment set aside the fact that anytime you handle your mask to take it on or off, your hands will get infected. Or while you’re alone in your car or home and are not wearing a mask, (because if you are wearing one while alone in your car or home you are an insane person), droplets are certainly on your clothes, and if you touch the front of your shirt your hands will get infected. So, anything you touch going into a business is now infected…Again, put all that aside. If it’s droplets we are all supposed to be worried about then as long as we don’t have a face to face conversation, which I usually don’t do with complete strangers in a grocery store), and I’m not walking around randomly spitting on people, (which I almost never do), my droplets will not get on you. I don’t walk around spraying my bodily fluids everywhere like some kind of slobber sprinkler.
Regarding stopping the spread of this virus, masks are nothing more than a placebo…So why are we now being told to wear them? The short answer is…it’s a distraction…they give people a false sense that they have some control. It gives them a purpose, something to do so they feel like they can make a difference. They can wear their masks, showing everyone how responsible they are and feel like a hero…Secondly, at some point either a government or health official realized that if we tell people to wear masks, there are still some critical thinking people that will question this. They will speak out. Then, like time and time again, suddenly we are all fighting amongst ourselves instead of looking at government health officials and asking why they aren’t doing enough to stop the spread and why they haven’t come up with a treatment or cure yet. Put the responsibility on us so we don’t question them and demand answers. It gives them an easy out; they can just blame those who aren’t wearing masks. It’s a classic distraction tactic and as usual the majority have fallen right in line.”