There is No Good Choice

James Watkins |Editor

It’s like this for most Americans.

We are frustrated because we know that as we shelter-in-place and social distance, the spread of coronavirus is controlled; we save lives. We have seen that our medical centers and hospitals can handle even a worst case scenario like the one we witnessed in the tri-State and New England area when the first wave hit. 

But we also watch as our once-great economic workhouse slows to a crawl. 

Just 4 months ago people were working, making money, enjoying what looked like a bright economic future. Now we are unemployed and worried about our kids and our own well-being. 

One day you hear a report that the curve is flattening, but then you hear that going out is risky still and people will die if you do. But then we cower and can’t go back to work because our leaders are telling us it is illegal.

How then, do we make the right choice? None of us wants to be responsible for being unwitting spreaders of this invisible virus. And besides, what to believe? One day we are told the virus can stay on metal surfaces for a week, then, the CDC says, well, maybe not. We are told our masks are good, then told they are bad because they collect bacteria and we touch our faces. You just can’t win.

The pundits on the left say it’s Trump’s fault. That his poor leadership is costing lives. 

On the right we are told to fight for our rights, that people have a right to work and be free to move about, even with a deadly virus lurking.

What to believe?

I watch the numbers every day. As a broadcaster I just got tired of certain numbers being reported and others being excluded. One side (the media) stokes fear, the other side (right-wing talk show hosts) stokes anger.

I use Worldometer, which is a collection vessel for all of the CDC’s around the world. It’s not perfect, but it comes close. The data is updated instantly and most other government agencies use it, including the World Health Organization, and Johns Hopkins.

Here are some things that I have observed in countries that have extremely high death counts:

  • Bad air
  • heavy smoking
  • older population concentrated in close quarters
  • high or dense population where you have five or six people living in the same home
  • high amounts of people who are nutritionally poor or with cardiovascular or diabetic problems
  • terrible medical infrastructure

The U.S. will probably not see too many “hot spots;” New York/New Jersey is the exception only because it has a massive public transportation system and a highly condensed population area which makes it impossible for people to NOT come into contact with one another. New York, like London, experience high death counts for this reason.

In places like LA, or elsewhere in highly populated areas you may see continuous periodic concentrations of COVID deaths in nursing homes, or among a much older population sets (senior citizens who have been kept alive by statins and hypertension medication) but in the general public, coronavirus, until there is a vaccine, will be just like influenza in the years to come. Thankfully (the CDC data bears this out).

Most of America will adjust just fine. 

It is a huge deception to show growing cases of the United States. We are a nation  of fifty small countries, little mini-States that eventually will get COVID 19; the numbers will rise as we see it spread, but this does not mean death counts or medical facilities will experience the same high rates as cities like New York or Boston.

Proof?

  • There were no major outbreaks following Spring Break, which the experts predicted
  • There was no outbreak in Wisconsin after public voting, which is what the media reported would happen based on some “expert opinion.”
  • There was no outbreak in New Orleans among the poor people as we expected beacuse this is what the exerts predicted.
  • There was no outbreak in Seattle, which actually saw the first cases of coronavirus and is a gateway city from Asia to the U.S.
  • We saw no outbreak in San Francisco, despite the fact that over 150,000 people in the Bay area are of Chinese descent, with a probable assumption that some people freely travel between China and San Francisco for business or personal reasons.
  • Coronavirus has been spreading since January, most major metros in the U.S probably have community spread, cases are rising, but death counts are not rising in the same proportion as cases because we are testing more people faster. The fatality rate is actually dropping in proportion to known cases

Weak governments and weak, or poor countries will be hard hit if they have no proper medical infrastructure. Brazil, Mexico, Russia, India, Pakistan, Countries with 5 million plus cities with high rates of impoverished people are likely suspects of future outbreaks.  Obvious. Not always exact however, because, as we have seen, places like Bangladesh and India have not see a huge explosion- yet. What are we witnessing in these countries is desperate economic issues that will lead to dysentery, suicide and death by starvation or malnutrition.

Economically we must reopen. The world must reopen, despite the virus. Work is intrinsic to life. Even during the plagues people worked. They had to because they couldn’t just sit idle and die. There were no government bailouts and handouts. There was no such thing as a “first responder.” You were lucky if someone showed up to remove the body before the dogs and pigs could get to it first.

My Grandmother told me during the Spanish flue (what she called yellow fever) said people didn’t talk about it. They accepted death because soldiers had just returned from Europe and the country lost a lot of solders to begin with, so no one know how bad the flu was until it passed – and it did. She said they “just dealt with it.”

There should never have been a politicization of this virus. It is a testament of our lack of leadership. Shame also on a compliant media that just can’t help themselves to spreading alarming information in a way that is meant to frighten people into compliance. 

The coronavirus, in addition to killing people, has exposed our best – and worst natures; our characters are being tested.

I will leave you with this. How you deal with this virus will tell you a lot about your own character. It will tell you, for example, how much you rely on the government or others to make decisions. It will also tell you how afraid you are of life – and death.

The coronavirus will also tell you how resilient and faithful you are to being courageous in the face of fear. Are you running to grab toilet paper or are you checkin on your neighbors to make sure they are okay?

Sadly, I had assumed that character was a much more common trait.

In just four months we have people now hating each other based on whether they wear a mask or not. Enemies created by a simple piece of cloth covering your mouth.

When this is all over many of us will be shocked at how badly we behaved.

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