By Edward Achorn
It is good to be safe. But it is bad to be overwhelmed by fear, to the point you end up hurting yourself and others.
We got there with COVID-19. The data suggests the news media and the politicians (of both parties) scared Americans inordinately about the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China.
A recent Kekst CNC poll found that Americans believe 9 percent of the population has been killed by the coronavirus.
In truth, about 160,000 have. That means Americans believe the virus is 180 times deadlier than it actually is.
(And the death toll may be a significant over-count since the government provides enormous financial incentives to label as many deaths as COVID-19-related as possible.)
About one-twentieth of 1 percent of the population has been felled by COVID-19. That makes it far less deadly than the original “scientific” models predicted — models politicians used as their justification for locking down the society and blowing through trillions of dollars.
Those at risk
One-third of those deaths involved people 85 or older, who have a sky-high mortality rate even absent COVID-19. Nearly 50 percent of the deaths were nursing home residents (almost 80 percent in such high-death states as Rhode Island).
About 60 percent of the deaths involved people 75 or older. About 80 percent involved people 65 or older.
That means young people were amazingly safe, comparatively, from what has been sold as a devastating modern plague.
And it is now apparent that the Asian flu of 1957-1958 and the Hong Kong flu of 1968-1969 were far deadlier on a global scale without shutting down our society.
COVID-19 is a killer, no doubt. People are wise to take precautions, including frequent hand washing. Older people with significant health issues should be especially careful.
But all of life is filled with the danger of contracting disease. That is the human condition. There is no such thing as a totally safe school or place of business. Any life worth living cannot be lived without some risk.
Yet we did lock down for COVID-19, doing damage we have not even assessed yet. In addition to wiping out small businesses — destroying people’s dreams and the fruits of years of self-sacrifice while causing immense economic harm — we have led people with other ailments to delay or deny themselves medical care. That could end up killing even more Americans than COVID-19 did.
We have isolated people and destroyed the interactions — such as hugging a grandchild — that make life endurable for humans.
The White House on Saturday night ticked off some encouraging developments with the virus:
-Nearly 85 percent of jurisdictions across the country have reported a steep decline in cases, despite increasing testing.
-The rate of people testing positive — many showing no symptoms at all — is 6.5 percent, a 71 percent reduction from April and a 15 percent reduction since mid-July. Many of the positive results, we have learned, are false. Testing people without symptoms has limited value.
-Hospitalizations have been halved since April.
Meanwhile, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that, after a small spike in July in some Southern states, deaths from COVID-19 continue to decline. (Chart below by Dr. Andrew Bostom.) All this would suggest the disease is burning itself out.
Where are the headlines proclaiming this? Does the public know any of this?
On Facebook, instead, I find many people who are desperate to follow increasing government strictures and eager to denounce fellow citizens who do not wish to go along as dangerous idiots.
Fear still sells
Fear still sells. Last week, the media made much of a proposal by one party’s presidential and vice-presidential nominees that taps into the public’s terror.
They called on governors — without the benefit of legislation — to dictate that all Americans must wear a mask whenever they are outside the home. As we have seen, some of these constitutionally dubious measures are backed up by force. The two politicians declared, without any valid science to support the claim, that 40,000 lives would be saved by this draconian measure over the next three months, even though many Americans are already wearing masks.
In the minds of many Americans, public safety justifies any invasion of the people’s daily lives and any affront to human dignity. They do not believe people are smart enough to take sensible precautions or follow scientific guidance on their own.
Can you blame people for thinking this way? They have been led by politicians and the news media’s panic narrative to believe COVID-19 is 180 times deadlier than it is.
(Read Edward Achorn’s books about American history.)