Death dumps make Americans fearful

By Edward Achorn

Earlier this summer, I posted charts showing dramatic declines in deaths from COVID-19, according to data collected by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. I hoped that people would feel less panicked if they could see the big picture — something most of the news media were not showing.

“What’s wrong with you?” asked some of my Facebook friends.

They argued that it was the Sunbelt’s turn to experience the crowded hospitals and death spikes that New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts had endured in April. They warned me that events would soon render my piece embarrassingly obsolete.

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The recent COVID-19 scare

By Edward Achorn

My thanks to Andrew Bostom, M.D., a Brown associate professor, internist, and epidemiologist, for this latest chart of national COVID-19 deaths.

The revised numbers do display that, after deaths fell for 10 straight weeks, America underwent a slight and unnerving uptick earlier this month. The raw numbers, as of July 27, are HERE.

The recent turnaround prompted near-hysteria in the news media, leading to new and economically damaging lockdowns. Americans were terrified.

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Stop destroying children’s lives

By Edward Achorn

The science is crystal clear. Children should return to school in the fall. They are remarkably safe from catching COVID-19 and from spreading it.

Cheating them of an education and social development again this fall would be incredibly cruel.

Yes, the news media have scared many people out of their wits. Polls find many parents are terrified of sending children to school. Teachers unions and other political entities hope, as always, to exploit these fears to advance their own interests.

But I pray it is still possible for parents and leaders to muster enough courage and decency to focus on children. Young Americans need thoughtful and well-informed adults on their side.

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Exploding the COVID-19 terror

By Edward Achorn

Could we stop panicking a bit now? Would the dictatorial governors let up on the lockdowns that ruin businesses, destroy jobs, rob children of their education, terrify citizens, and destroy human interactions? Might the news media be shamed into sharing this reassuring news?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released data showing that deaths from COVID-19 have declined for the 12th straight week.

Is this the impression you get from watching the news?

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COVID-19 and the panic narrative

By Edward Achorn

Many Americans remain terrified of COVID-19. The narrative of panic advanced by much of the news media fuels that feeling. In recent days, the focus has been on skyrocketing numbers of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

But there are very promising signs that the virus is burning itself out. After spiking earlier this year, death totals have fallen steadily — for 11 straight weeks, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. While every death is sad, the curve reassuringly looks like charts of flu deaths in past years. Deadly viruses tend to strike hard, claim lives, and then mutate and weaken.

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Coronavirus facts argue against fears

By Edward Achorn

We are learning that COVID-19, while deadly, is much less deadly than originally feared. Moreover, it cruelly targets the elderly and those with serious health conditions, while tending to leave the young and healthy alone.

Whether the public knows that is another matter.

Rhode Island internist and epidemiologist Andrew Bostom, using the federal Centers for Disease Control’s “most likely case scenario” data  (published on May 21), has calculated that the infection fatality ratio of COVID-19 is 0.20% to 0.27%. The ratio for the 1957-1958 Asian flu was a comparable 0.26%, but nobody dreamed of shutting down the American economy back then.

Citing a British statistical analysis, Dr. Bostom also argues that a child under 15 in the United Kingdom is four times more likely to die from a lightning strike than from COVID-19.

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The lessons of Memorial Day 2020

By Edward Achorn

The coronavirus crisis has had many depressing effects. One is that it has underscored that many Americans do not seem to understand their basic rights, the nature of their Constitution and how their government works.

Unless Americans reconnect with how this country is supposed to work, and why it remains a beacon of hope to oppressed people around the world, it is hard to see how our freedoms will survive.

An understanding of history is a crucial part of that, because it informs us of the nature of most human societies, and how rare and magnificent our blessings are.

History also acquaints us with the cruel cost of protecting these freedoms. This weekend we mark Memorial Day. Barbecues and sunshine are part of the celebration, even in this grim year, but the day is really about those who laid down their lives to preserve this country.

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We didn’t close America in 1957-1958

By Edward Achorn

I was born in 1957. That’s me at the piano — late that year, I think — with my older sisters Susan (middle) and Nancy.

That fall, a deadly flu was tearing through America.

It ended up killing some 116,000 Americans — in a country that, with 170 million people, had about half the population of today’s America.

Even using inflated numbers, about 95,000 have died so far from the coronavirus, by comparison.

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Illinois, Rhode Island the most restrictive states

By Edward Achorn

A new survey by Wallet Hub, based on data gathered Monday, concludes that the most restrictive states (and the District of Columbia) for coronavirus lockdowns are (in order):

51. Illinois

50. Rhode Island

49. District of Columbia

48. Massachusetts

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The courts, the Constitution and the coronavirus

By Edward Achorn

Another judge has ruled that Americans live in a constitutional republic — virus or no virus.

The Associated Press reported: “A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying she didn’t seek the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

“Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state’s social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.”

Governors may use emergency powers to issue edicts — specifically to protect the public — but in most cases only for a limited time. That is because, in America, power is supposed to reside in the people.

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