SPECIAL: Why Do We Keep Acting as if the COVID-19 Pandemic is Worse than It is?

J Robert Smith

  • April 19, 2020
  • 4 min read

Truth: This virus is new and can be deadly. We have been afraid that something bad was going to happen. We knew we were not prepared so we hit the panic button. We were wrong and caused a lot of unnecessary damage. We don’t want to admit it so we are stuck. Everyone is to blame.

Rod Shapard, Twitter Post, April 19, 2020

Broadly speaking, we are in the middle of a race between human skill as a means and human folly as an end.

Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, p.88, Routledge

When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but his will, the rule, and his commands and actions are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people, but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any other irregular passion.

John Locke, Chapter 18, Of Tyranny, “On Gouvernment”

The Take

We slammed the brakes on the national economy and states for this? Thoughtful Americans must scratch their heads. The COVID-19 pandemic was supposed to be a tsunami of hospitalizations and deaths. The Grim Reaper was supposed to hire like grocery stores. But there’s nothing of the sort.

Yet, like hamsters on wheels, we persist in narratives and actions as if we’re confronting a menace worse than the 1918 Spanish Flu Influenza or the Black Death. Or some combination.

The critical question isn’t how we initially fell prey to fear and trembling, but why in the name of rationality have we stuck with misperceptions and draconian actions in most states and localities? The raw data and facts on the ground tell a very different story. That story should compel us to significantly revise health and public policies. Lining up with reality is the gold standard of mental health.

COVID-19 isn’t swatting down Americans like flies. Backhoes aren’t busy digging mass graves across the Fruited Plain – though there are shortages of hand sanitizer and facemasks, the latter thanks to decrees by experts and governors cum petty tyrants. Most state autocrats are “Democrats.” Let the irony sink in.

COVID-19 is a public health concern, indeed, but it’s not an alien invasion. Humankind isn’t on the brink of annihilation. People are getting sick and some are dying, but that’s not across age demographics.

Disproportionately, its oldsters with underlying health issues who are passing. Those under 60 in generally good health aren’t dying – not many, anyway. The raw data shows that those under 17 are barely touched by COVID-19 – or, if they are, they’re either asymptomatic or mildly so. In fact, tens of millions of Americans may have contracted COVID-19 without even knowing it! Given that likelihood, why is acquiring immunities a bad thing?

On April 19, most Americans are shuttered in their homes like kids cowering from the bogeyman. To date, 22 million people are jobless. Businesses are idled. Many mom and pop operations will never open their doors again. Uncle Sam is tacking on $2.2 trillion in debt due to relief aid. The national debt will top $25 trillion and counting.

Speaking of kids, their schools are closed, most for the season. Sports and athletics are pigeonholed as “might-have-been.” There’s remote learning, such as it is, but kids spend big chunks of days watching the boob tube, hanging out on handhelds, or playing video games linked with friends.

Kids fleeing real aliens might be better off; doing anything real beats doing everything virtually.

President Trump, a clear-eyed entrepreneur is a clear-eyed president. But getting the nation unhooked from arrays of draconian actions related to the “Horrific Pandemic that Never Was” may prove more daunting than imagined.

The monkey wrenches in revving up the nation’s economy and state economies include, but aren’t limited to: the aforementioned misperceptions that nurse fear and risk aversion. People must apprise themselves of the facts. Knowledge is the antidote for fear.

Governors and state legislators need cojones. We all know politicians as a species. Risk aversion is coded into their DNAs. Caution in opening up their states’ economies and communities stem from their fear that suddenly, magically, COVID-19 morphs into the monster originally conceived. They don’t want their political careers going south due to a super strain of faux pas.

Then there are state leaders, Democrats, who are driven by ideology… driven by the old Rahm Emanuel tagline: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” Michigan’s Cruella de Vil, Comrade Gretchen Whitmer, readily comes to mind. The contagion is a smart means of reshaping society. Beneficent government will take care of its helpless little charges. And if the charges don’t want or like the help and controls – Bang! Zoom! To the moon, Alice!

We may discover that stopping economies is easier than restarting them. Heck, we may discover that reclaiming America – the America of God-given rights and liberty – may be harder to achieve than understood… at least, not without mass revolts.

What do you think? Weigh in!

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