If you prefer to resume living a normal life, or not see everything you’ve spent decades building destroyed in a matter of months, or your children not to waste away in a world of computer screens and “virtual playdates,” you must want to kill people’s grandmothers. That’s what millions of your fellow Americans think.
Think that’s an exaggeration?
Take a glance at social media. Fact-free hysteria, and accusations of murder, are everywhere.
I myself was initially very concerned about COVID-19, and my Twitter feed bears this out. I am still concerned, and I think vulnerable people should take sensible steps to protect themselves. But when I observed how people I now call the Doomers conducted themselves, I began to wonder: if this is such a home-run case, why are they acting like this?
Wild, exaggerated predictions carried the day. In Florida, my state, we were told we’d have 465,000 hospitalizations by the end of April. We had about 5500. Our governor closed down the state two weeks later than the Doomers wanted, so they predicted piles of corpses. These never materialized.
What modest numbers have been seen in Florida have been concentrated overwhelmingly in just three of the state’s 67 counties.
Then I noticed that good news from around the world was greeted almost angrily. I have never seen anything like this. It’s as if some people need the virus to be an apocalyptic problem.
I would ask questions and get curt answers. “Wait two weeks,” I’d be told. Then, I was assured, I would see that some country or state that hadn’t joined the lockdown cult would get what was coming to it.
Piles of corpses were supposed to appear in Japan. Just wait two weeks, they said, and Japan will get what’s coming to it for not taking our advice. You’ll see!
Then it was, “Oh, the Japanese wear masks and wash their hands,” etc. Nice try, Bozo. You knew they did these things before you made the ghoulish predictions.
What’s so hard about admitting: we’re not entirely sure what’s going on here?
And although the news we’ve been hearing about declining cases in Georgia and Florida, which have been reopening, is good, “cases” are not primarily what should concern us. The more we test, the more “cases” we find. The point is, most “cases” wind up amounting to precisely nothing.
There were over 800 “cases” at that South Dakota meat packing plant, and so far over 800 recoveries.
In March we got lurid reports of a doubling of “cases” in Hong Kong. We’d better wait two weeks! Piles of corpses!
Eight weeks later, zero additional deaths.
Meanwhile, the lockdowns are having horrific consequences on a scale most people do not realize, but which I describe in a free eBook I’ve just released, called Your Facebook Friends Are Wrong About the Lockdown: A Non-Hysteric’s Guide to COVID-19.
And interestingly enough, if you plot the timing of the lockdowns in the various states against their health outcomes, the result is completely random. More on that in the book.
Like most people, I am all for taking reasonable precautions and keeping an eye on the virus. And we can discuss which methods more effectively preserve biological life.
But is mere biological life worth living? This is not a question the “experts” are qualified to answer.
If people’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations are all dashed for an indefinite period of time, which purveyors of the present strategy almost flippantly propose, is that really living?
“Probably no large gatherings for a long time,” we’ve been told. How long?
And what are “large gatherings”?
Oh, just concerts, theater, lectures, church, sporting events, the arts in general – pretty much everything that makes life worth living.
The kind of “life” all this portends has a pulse, yes, but no soul.
If I may dwell on the “large gatherings” issue for a moment: for anyone who performs in front of an audience – dancers, musicians, comedians, magicians, athletes, singers, actors, whatever – the present pandemic strategy means your hopes and dreams are on indefinite hold, and may never be able to be fulfilled.
Dr. Zeke Emanuel of the ironically named Center for American Progress contends that we need to be on lockdown for 18 months until there’s a vaccine (as if that’s a guarantee, or the vaccine is effective, etc.). He says:
How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19? The truth is we have no choice….
Conferences, concerts, sporting events, religious services, dinner in a restaurant, none of that will resume until we find a vaccine, a treatment, or a cure.
We have to be realistic, Emanuel urges us, and accept that we will be giving up cherished things for a long time, “things like schooling and income and contact with our friends and extended family.”
You read that right.
Things like schooling and income and contact with our friends and extended family.
This is insanity.
The response, meanwhile, has proceeded as if everyone were equally at risk. But the extraordinary thing about this virus, an aspect we had no right to expect but which should be helping us devise an appropriate response, is that it takes a particular toll on the elderly.
The fact remains: more people over age 100 than under age 30 have died. According to Neil Ferguson, the principal architect of the major UK model of the virus, between one-half and two-thirds of all people dying from COVID-19 would have died within a matter of months even in the absence of the virus.
So how about, instead of fruitlessly trying to distribute millions of “tests” all over the place, we concentrate our energies on helping the most vulnerable, and giving everyone else back the one life we each get?
For that matter, how about we avoid the approach of certain Democratic governors and not send COVID-19 patients, still contagious, back into nursing homes?
Those would be good starts.
In the UK, Lord Sumption just wrote:
What sort of life do we think we are protecting? There is more to life than the avoidance of death. Life is a drink with friends. Life is a crowded football match or a live concert. Life is a family celebration with children and grandchildren. Life is companionship, an arm around one’s back, laughter or tears shared at less than two meters. These things are not just optional extras. They are life itself. They are fundamental to our humanity, to our existence as social beings. Of course death is permanent, whereas joy may be temporarily suspended. But the force of that point depends on how temporary it really is.