Standing In The Gap Of The Real And Perceived
I keep reading stories about overworked healthcare professionals and shortages of equipment during this coronavirus crunch. I recognize the real strain that healthcare workers are feeling in certain population centers around the country. I’m not at all discounting their experiences of frustration, heartbreak, and near exhaustion. The question, though, is “Why?”
The answer is not as apparent as we may be led to believe.
It’s hard to tell how much of the increased use of hospitals is due to that much more actual need for acute care, and how much is the psychological overreaction in the population to the incessant barrage of doomsday talk and actions by the government and media. It’s hard to tell, like toilet paper, how much of the shortage of masks is increased need, and how much is unavailability due to the overbuying of masks by parties that don’t even normally use masks, or could never use, in any reasonable amount of time, what they’ve decided to buy and hoard in recent weeks. A thoughtful answer to these questions is not simple or clear at all. Everyone is so caught up and fearful in the moment, it’s difficult to think about the long term or broader view.
For instance, North Carolina, Georgia, and Sweden have almost exactly the same populations in size, a touch over ten million each. Sweden has taken a decidedly different approach to the coronavirus crisis, and indeed, it is suffering a higher death rate than Georgia, which itself is being hit pretty hard over this. Even more dramatic is the difference with North Carolina, which has been early and enthusiastic to respond.
It would be easy to castigate Sweden for their approach today. But if Sweden succeeds in creating a modicum of herd immunity this time around, while everybody else around the world was taking such great pains to contain the spread, the anticipated second wave of this thing in the Fall may make Sweden look pretty smart if its accumulated coronavirus-related deaths for the whole year turn out to be significantly less than comparable populations. But nobody talks about that. Time will tell.
There are also legitimate questions about how the media is reporting on this virus — misattribution of video clips, suggestions of overcrowding at healthcare facilities where there is none — as well as questions about how certain governments are counting deaths attributed to COVID-19, possibly magnifiying the societal impact and sense of urgency, perceived and actual, that this crisis is having.
A week ago, the “experts” were telling us to brace for a 100,000 to 250,000 person death toll in the United States, even with the attempted mitigative measures that have been mandated. They said that was absolutely, positively, hands on a stack of Bibles, happening, no matter what, and the best that we could do is “flatten the curve” of how many died in a given span of time.
Today, according to an NPR report, Dr. Anthony Fauci, our de facto Surgeon General du jour, is now downgrading that projection to just 60,000. Andrew Cuomo was ranting on the air less than two weeks ago that if he didn’t get 30,000 ventilators within days, that New York City would become a veritable graveyard. Yesterday, though, NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio said, as reported by a NYC Fox affiliate, “By this point this week we thought we’d be seeing 300 or more people each day, more people each day, who needed a ventilator. Now it’s about 100 people more each day and that might even be going down.” None of which would ever add up to a need for anywhere close to 30,000 ventilators.
That reduced need might be in part because doctors are questioning the effectiveness of ventilators for treatment of COVID-19, since about 80% of who patients who go on one die on it, according to other reports coming out of NYC. But it’s also because the disease, as devastating as it has been there, is still not reaching nearly the numbers affected that were originally projected, as cited above — and those projections included all available social distancing, PPE usage, and disinfecting measures.
The point is, there’s mounting evidence that the American public has been forcefed, like geese being prepared for fois gras, one view of this sickness and how we should handle it, and that may have not only cost us, in the end, more lives, but also trillions of dollars of lost productivity and more debt on the backs of our grandchildren, for no good reason that hasn’t existed a dozen other times in my lifetime, that we have managed to survive thus far without the hysteria and draconian actions and restriction of our civil liberties.
And who’s asking why? Until a few days ago, almost nobody that mattered. That scares me more than COVID-19, that authorities are that thoughtless, and so trigger happy to curb our constitutional rights and further enslave endless generations of our descendants. It makes them all suspect. How many Democrats have been quoted in the last few weeks saying, in effect, “We can use this to usher in our long term (socialistic) vision?”
Too many. Clyburn. Schumer. Newsom. They’re easy enough to google. And I don’t know that they’re all Democrats. I don’t even know that they’re all elected.
And if that’s not what’s behind this whole fiasco, then why the sudden cacophony over this particular virus, and not others? Why now, and not all the other times?
I’m looking for this virus to peter out at about 40,000 deaths in the United States. But if it’s twice that, it will still mean that the experts’ original estimates, which they said were inevitable no matter what we did, were horribly wrong, and the reaction to this contagion will have ultimately done our country much more harm than good. Not that experts we are supposed to trust with our lives being wrong is news.