Have We Become a Society of Wimps Addicted to Drama?

Imagine a world where no one plays sports. No one dines out at restaurants. No one travels. No one is allowed to leave his or her home. Streets are desolate. Companies have shut down. Some businesses no longer exist. Whole cities, states, and entire countries are locked down. Deployment of military personnel and equipment gives the impression of a state under martial law. The entire planet stands still, waiting, hungry for information, and fighting a war which seems hopeless with an uncertain future.

Have We Become a Society of Wimps Addicted to Drama?

My voice may not exactly emulate the late Don LaFontaine very well; but you do not need to travel or watch a substandard Hollywood movie to imagine this dreary world. All you have to do is look out the windows of your home. Perhaps the idyllic serenity of a suburban neighborhood is obscuring the reality of a horror being played out all over the world; or a desolate commercial district — which is normally bustling with crowds of people — obviously reveals the dystopian nature of the unthinkable.

No one would have thought at this time last year — or as late as even the past few weeks — that the world would get to a point where practically everything has shut down and millions of people are either isolating themselves or are quarantined to help prevent the spread of a virus…

…but that is exactly what has happened. Whole populations are currently isolated from the rest of the world — save for the technology which is available to us. People are still hoarding toilet paper and other items for themselves — including medical supplies and food — as they stockpile for some sort of Armageddon.

With events which occurred during the 21st century — such as the attacks of Tuesday, September 11, 2001; the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009; the swine flu in 2009, the Ebola virus in 2014, and the Zika virus in 2016 epidemic as a few of a number of examples — people seemed surprisingly eager to easily relinquish some of the same civil liberties that members of the military fought so valiantly over the decades to protect; and all in the name of safety.

Anything in the name of safety seems to be the slogan for society these days…

…and now we face an enemy so small, a microscope is needed just to see it. So far, this enemy called 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — has resulted in the human race wreaking havoc among itself to the point where multiple types of disasters are being created which will not only last for years before they are corrected and resolved; but some of the changes may very well become permanent.

If you think I am exaggerating about those impending disasters, think about people who are unable to earn a living because they were furloughed for an indefinite period of time and have no savings as a safety net. Think about all of the supplies which have been hoarded that some of the people who really need them cannot find them to purchase anywhere. Think about people who are medically in need and may have to succumb to an illness because the help they require to survive becomes unavailable.

For many of those aforementioned people, survival becomes a more substantial challenge — perhaps even a matter of life and death — but no one seems to be listening.

Then — and Now

I read this article titled Say Your Prayers and Take Your Chances — Remembering the 1957 Asian flu pandemic by Clark Whelton, which was brought to my attention and forwarded to me. The following is an excerpt from the aforementioned article, in which the author claims that he is ready for whatever comes…

Except, I’m not ready. In fact, even at my advanced 80-something age, I find the whole COVID-19 panic to be strange and troubling. I’ve lived through epidemics before, but they didn’t crash the stock market, wreck a booming economy, and shut down international travel. They didn’t stop the St. Patrick’s Day parade or the NCAA basketball tournament, and they didn’t drop the curtain on Broadway shows. Will these extreme measures have any real effect on the spread of COVID-19 in New York, or America? We’re about to find out.

My first encounter with a global pandemic came in October 1957, when I spent a week in my college infirmary with a case of the H2N2 virus, known at the time by the politically incorrect name of ‘Asian flu.’ My fever spiked to 105, and I was sicker than I’d ever been. The infirmary quickly filled with other cases, though some ailing students toughed it out in their dorm rooms with aspirin and orange juice. The college itself did not close, and the surrounding town did not impose restrictions on public gatherings. The day that I was discharged from the infirmary, I played in an intercollegiate soccer game, which drew a big crowd.

It’s not that Asian flu — the second influenza pandemic of the twentieth century — wasn’t a serious disease. Worldwide, this flu strain killed somewhere between 1 and 2 million people. More than 100,000 died in the U.S. alone. And yet, to the best of my knowledge, governors did not call out the National Guard, and political panic-mongers did not blame it all on President Eisenhower. College sports events were not cancelled, planes and trains continued to run, and Americans did not regard one another with fear and suspicion, touching elbows instead of hands. We took the Asian flu in stride. We said our prayers and took our chances.

To be fair, living in the year 1957 — I was not even a thought back then, as that was before my time — was notably different from living in the year 2020.

Social media in 1957 was limited to learning the news of the world through much slower methods — such as newspapers, news reel shorts prior to feature films in movie theaters, radio, and the nascent medium known as television — and basically disseminated by people who were known as journalists and reporters. The news could sweep across the country and around the world only so fast.

Fast forward to the year 2020, and anyone can spread information — or misinformation — with the greatest of ease through a variety of methods of social media: a $500.00 portable electronic device which can fit in a pocket and a way to connect to the Internet creates an incredibly accessible ease of entry for just about anyone. Furthermore, technology gives license for people to blur the line between reality and fiction with the use of image manipulation software and video manipulation software. Influencers — what an ironic similarity in pronunciation to the word influenza — and corporate marketing machines tend to dominate and manipulate what people want with just about any product or service.

In other words, anyone in 2020 who wants to be heard can simply do so at little more than a click of the button — and with an audience worldwide.

Commentary

I am still waiting for the day when more and more people start looking at this pandemic from a saner and more realistic point of view. Yes, more people will be infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus within the foreseeable future — regardless of the efforts of everyone, as I believe that the train already left the station. More people will become ill. And yes, more people will die from 2019 Novel Coronavirus. In fact, all of this has already happened from the time you started to read this article until now…

…but I still do not believe that warrants what is more and more becoming every day a literal shutdown of much of the entire planet. I state some of my reasons in this article in which I pointed out that as many as 46,000 people are estimated to have already died from influenza within four months in the United States alone — and that is from as many as 45 million people estimated to have been infected with just that one type of virus. Should we have shut down the planet then, too?

At the time this article was written, at least 9,840 people — or slightly greater than 4.2 percent — have died of the minimum of 234,073 confirmed cases in 176 countries and territories worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. I would like to see a similar dashboard highlighting statistics pertaining to influenza or tuberculosis or measles or rabies or 12 other infectious diseases from which more people are dying on average every day, as I am certain that they would be more shocking — especially as treatments and cures are currently available for a number of those infectious diseases — but I suppose no one would be interested in that, as the disease du jour is caused by the infection of 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

I am not espousing apathy or indifference — nor am I encouraging anyone to engage in irresponsible actions. I am merely imparting facts and offering an opinion based on information which has been gleaned from some of the most reliable sources available…

…and I am simply attempting to inject some realistic discussion — but with the panic which has already ensued worldwide that has thrown us into a maelstrom of ridiculousness, the time to interject a reasoned voice has likely already passed anyway.

I am completely convinced of one thing: what has currently enveloped our planet could have been avoided so easily.

Other Articles on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus at The Gate

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources — as well as attempt to maintain a reasoned and sensible ongoing discussion towards how to resolve this pandemic.

Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:

Summary

So…have we become a society of wimps who are addicted to drama? I encourage you to read the remainder of that aforementioned article to help you reach your own conclusion; and I further encourage you to please opine constructively in the Comments section below…

…but I have been avoiding reading and watching the news in general, as much of what is reported in the media is sadly little more than yellow journalism and sensationalism — and purposely designed to draw more readers and viewers for revenue purposes than a story based on purely factual information. I will say that I am very disappointed in the overall performance of the media and leadership around the world in general — both of whom I hold responsible in contributing to the unnecessary drama which has led to panic as though we were in a doomsday situation, which we are not.

I have plenty more to say with regard to this 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — which I intend to write in future articles — but please allow me to conclude this article with this statement: although things will get worse before they get better, things will get better.

I repeat: things WILL get better.

All photographs ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

80 thoughts on “Have We Become a Society of Wimps Addicted to Drama?”

  1. Vera R says:

    Shockingly bad take here. I know your revenue stream just dried up and you must be losing a lot of sleep wondering how you’re going to pay the bills without your ad and affiliate earnings. The “this is just like flu” take is like so two weeks ago but it appears to be new content. Turn off Fox News. Turn on Tony Fauci. Do what he says and encourage your readers to as well. The sooner we do that, the sooner we will come out the other side and start traveling again and your coffers will fill once more. Really dude. Minimizing this as media driven fake news isn’t going to stop the virus.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Whatever argument you presented here lost any credibility at “I know your revenue stream just dried up and you must be losing a lot of sleep wondering how you’re going to pay the bills without your ad and affiliate earnings”, Vera R.

  2. Ben O says:

    Thanks for the insightful piece, this is exactly the discussion that we need to be having as a society. Shutting down the planet is a knee-jerk reaction which will have immense consequences.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you, Ben O.

      1. UK says:

        With this attitude make sure you take care of yourself like your guest writer did in their college infirmary god forbid should you get sick, and not bother with us healthcare providers on the front lines of this. You have no clue what we’re facing.

        This is all so we don’t have to choose whom we intubate: you or your parents.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          My parents are deceased, UK

          …but thank you for your thoughtful sentiment.

        2. NB_ga says:

          Guest writer? You must have misread. The piece quoted is an eloquent article by an elderly survivor of the Asian flu. Mr. Whelton’s firsthand account of how outbreaks were handled back in the day are enlightening as are the opinions of (most) all who have weighed in on this post. Polite discussion and debate aids all of us.

          I seriously doubt he, nor Brian, intended it to be an attack on healthcare providers but rather a factual account of a similar event in history. Your efforts on that front are especially appreciated.

  3. onearm0001 says:

    No. Come to my hospital and tell 3 of every 10 people who come in the door and will die without medical treatment that, because of a lack of resources, that they can’t have it. Go home, and good luck. When you’re OK with that, re-open the stadia, bars, and restaurants. And then have the people come to the hospitals and turn away their brothers, mothers, and cousins. And tell them good luck.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …so your hospital is fully prepared and equipped to deal with whatever comes through that door, onearm0001 — and is not being overwhelmed?

      Every person who has passed through that door had a valid reason for being there and did not waste your time or the time of anyone else?

      Regardless of the answer — you never definitively stated that you are a medical professional — thank you for your hard work in doing what you can to save lives.

      1. onearm0001 says:

        I am a physician working at a hospital that offers everything up to and including heart transplantation. Lots of people come through the door who don’t need to do so. But there are people who are coming in that my ED colleagues send home from the ED who, in other times, would be admitted. Some of whom will die. And looking at the Italian experience, we’ll be sending people home soon who we know will die because they’re too old, or too comorbid, or too… any other reason we can think of… so that we can save those resources for the next person who really needs it who’s not old, doesn’t have heart disease, or diabetes, or high blood pressure, or isn’t overweight, and who has an incrementally higher chance of survival. Those are conversations I don’t want my colleagues having and, eventually, when they’re down with COVID, I don’t want to have.

      2. Glenn Connery says:

        Brian,

        You show so little empathy? Have you not read any of the stories of the doctors in Italy who have to make triage decision on who lives and who dies? I don’t know if this guy is really a doctor or not. But you are a scumbag if you can’t work up some empathy for healthcare workers right now.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          Tell you what, Glenn Connery: please find one single article which I wrote here at The Gate where I stated that I have “so little empathy” for any doctor — or any medical professional, for that matter — anywhere and not solely in Italy.

          In fact, if you had bothered to read the comments in this article alone, you will find that I have wished at least two people in the medical profession well and thanked them for their work in helping patients.

          Anyway, go ahead and find it — and please quote me with a link.

          I’m waiting…

          1. Fathiss says:

            Hey Idiot, Glen said you lacked empathy. Not that you wrote an article degrading the medical profession. But the true idiot that you are inferred what was never implied.
            I’m glad others are recognizing you for the scumbag you are! But being an idiot, I realize you don’t know any better.

        2. Chris@Oak says:

          Italy and their Socialist government made a deal with the Devil (Chinese Communists).

  4. Fathiss says:

    I have to read your blogs every now and again to be reminded how a true idiot thinks. At least this one was not a complete cut and paste like your other thoughtless drivel.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Only an idiot would know the true meaning of an idiot, Fathiss

      …and in all of the times you have commented here at The Gate, I have yet to read anything of substance from you.

      Thank you for reading The Gate, my friend. I look forward to your quick return and yet another of your vacuous comments…

      1. Fathiss says:

        Great response! Your picture fooled me. I thought You were an adult. But your “I am rubber, you are glue” response tells me you’re a third grader at best (or at least that’s your comprehension level).
        Now don’t let mommy spank you for staying up too late!

    2. Chris@Oak says:

      @Fathiss
      You can read? Or do you just do as your Master Trolls direct you to post?

      1. Fathiss says:

        Chris, I call people out for what they are. I have no Master like you and the many sheeple who follow and blindly defend crap like this.

  5. Too Many says:

    It’s your blog and you can write whatever opinions you want. But the facts and truth that are evident is that the Chinese government was finally able to slow the infection by shutting down their country and they had the power of an authoritarian government.

    If you want to see how bad it can get, look to Italy. That’s not fake or made up deaths from a Communist regime. That’s a Western country that is really having that many deaths because they didn’t contain it successfully.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      …so are you in favor of living within the borders of an authoritarian government, Too Many? All in the name of safety?

      I would rather die…

      1. Too Many says:

        Did my post ever mention anything about being in favor of an authoritarian government? Or do you like to make unfounded leaps of conclusion, as your opinion shows? Your views are incredibly short-sighted and self-serving.

        I specifically contrasted China’s government apparatus to the US, which basically has personal freedom and liberty ingrained into the mind. The point is, it will be a herculean effort for a country like the US, and they are emulating the Chinese in the effort to combat the spread.

        Or simply look at South Korea or Taiwan, which are full fledged democracies, and note that they have also successfully been working to contain the spread. But they also took draconian measures that make Americans think about what they are giving up temporarily.

        You even state you “haven’t watch the news in general”. Perhaps you are missing out on factual information and filtering what you construe with your own bias. By bias, I mean the fact you state “if I am one of the millions of people who die… so be it” seems to indicate you are OK with death. Which is your personal prerogative. But I don’t believe the family in New Jersey who lost 3 of their members think that way; nor the family and friends of the 11,000+ (and counting) consider the economic impact as their priority.

        This doesn’t just kill off 70+ year old people who no longer are as productive to society. This also kills those in their prime economic contribution phase. Let’s put this in another perspective: what is the economic impact if we DO NOT contain it and allow it to kill enough people to get herd immunity?. All those people sick, unable to work, or dead, will cause just as much if not greater damage to the economy. Your perspective is akin to amputating the arm to avoid the burden of wearing a cast.

        There is no vaccine available (yet). Relying on herd immunity is great as long as you don’t have to kill a few hundred thousand people to get it. The flu doesn’t send so many people to the hospital to the point they are overrun and need to triage who lives and who dies. Flattening the curve is what the current approach is. Delaying the spread that will drive way more people to the hospital than capacity allows will save lives.

        Given a choice, and the very real possibility if this goes unchecked, someone you know or care about may die or suffer from long lasting effect of it, what is a better option?

        Personally, I’d rather see a brief slow down of the economy, the damaged livelihood of many people, including myself, than to see my friends and family dead or unable to provide or care for their children, parents, or loved ones.

        But you just go ahead and think your own freedom (and opinion) is worth much more than other people’s lives who have been (or will be) lost because the economic impact to the living is too much for the short term (but completely disregarding the economic impact from more deaths than necessary).

        If you want some factual information, read this:
        http://www.flattenthecurve.com
        A separate calculation:
        https://www.caseinterview.com/coronavirus-analysis

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I did not leap to any conclusions, Too Many. I simply asked you a question.

          “But you just go ahead and think your own freedom (and opinion) is worth much more than other people’s lives who have been (or will be) lost because the economic impact to the living is too much for the short term (but completely disregarding the economic impact from more deaths than necessary).”

          Talk about the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. In fact, your reply is filled with leaping to conclusions with reference to me in what is otherwise a thoughtful and constructive argument against my point of view, which I wholeheartedly welcome.

          Thank you for the links. I intend to click on them and read the articles you cited…

          1. Too Many says:

            The entire premise (and point of view) of your opinion piece is predicated on your disdain at how wimpy people are in this approach to contain this pandemic. You even consider your own demise as an acceptable loss of life in order to gain herd immunity in lieu of short circuiting the economy.

            Or did you not mean what you wrote?

            Again, those additional, needless deaths or disabilities, have a cost that would be far greater than a temporary drop in the economy.

            Ask yourself would you rather lose a life, potentially your spouse’s or child’s or parent’s, or lose your job or their job? People can bounce back from unemployment, but the can’t bounce back from death.

    2. Chris@Oak says:

      @Too many says Lies-
      Are you in a bunker in China trolling for the Communist Party in China?
      Or a member of the alt-left media doing the work of the PRC?

      “ the facts and truth that are evident is that the Chinese government…”

      …NEVER to be believed or trusted.

      1. Too Many says:

        @Chris@Oak – are you a tin-hat wearing, QAnon, fake-moon landing, contrail huffing, flat-earther? Sounds like anything from the news outlets is fake news to you unless it fits your belief.

        Certainly have no problem with questioning the veracity of news reporting (especially from authoritative governments with limits on the press), but a critical eye also includes accepting the information until it can be factually disputed. Saying it’s fake news just because you don’t want to believe it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

        News outlets from non-Chinese sources have shown evidence (videos) that the people who were in quarantine zones have begun to start back to normalcy. So I would take that as supporting evidence.

        Not to mention, if it really is propaganda, and the Chinese actually are worse off and there’s no relief from the upward numbers of infections and deaths, then we truly are screwed. Imagine if an authoritative government that has the ability to strip away rights like a parent takes a toy away from a child can’t manage it, what can we do in a society where freedom and liberty is our fundamental right and the government is for the people?

        1. Too Many says:

          Btw, if you can’t take the word from the Communist news agency (certainly viewed with grain of salt), take it from a capitalist:
          https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/cramer-starbucks-hubei-province-reopening-shows-how-us-might-recover.html

        2. Fathiss says:

          Great job Too Many,
          You have nailed it and you nailed the Idiot and his minion. Well presented thoughts as opposed to his 3rd grade responses..

  6. jdmsilver says:

    I’m going to put this stat at the beginning and end since some people won’t read the whole thing. In late January, there were under 300 recorded flu deaths in Italy since the start of flu season. 627 died yesterday from the corona virus. Are we really having this conversation? The logic here is so off and I’m baffled that it keeps coming. You cannot compare the number of people that have died of the flu to the number of people who have died of this. The flu is already out there, doing its work, this isn’t. The shutdown is to prevent the spread so that the numbers don’t overtake the flu.

    We can use travel terms of equivalence. Let’s say we are looking at causes of flight delays. If X is the number of delays caused by weather, and Y is the number of delays caused by strike, then to compare the two and say that Y isn’t a big deal because it is lower than X does not take into account the ability of Y to grow exponentially. Flu numbers will be consistent over the long term and we have a vaccine. This has no vaccine, and is terribly contagious. The CDC forecasts the possibility of millions of deaths in the USA if we do not work to prevent it.
    Millions > 22k flu deaths so far.
    In late January, there were under 300 recorded flu deaths in Italy, 627 died yesterday from the corona virus. Are we really having this conversation?

    627 in one day vs 300 in 3 months. Come on….

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Point out one single article which I wrote here at The Gate in which I said that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus “isn’t a big deal”, jdmsilver

      …and my point is not about the comparison of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus versus influenza in and of itself. I still believe that the reaction to this issue is an overreaction; and I would not be the least bit surprised if more deaths result from this overreaction in the form of depleted supplies for those who really need them, as one of numerous examples.

      1. jdmsilver says:

        I think my argument would be that reaction and defining something as a “big deal” are the same. If you feel it is a big deal, than there should be a proportional reaction. My guess is we’re actually stuck with more of an ideological debate here based upon your response to others. I’m willing to sacrifice civil liberties/rights for what I would deem the greater good. Yes, there is always the argument to be made that once you sacrifice, it is easier to take them away, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that I would choose not to live at all as opposed to living with curtailed freedoms. We are very lucky in the United States, and we all watched with apprehension following 9/11 as the security apparatus of our country grew and has now become the new normal. So of course we could see the same consequences from this event. I guess I just don’t believe that our future is one of idealized freedoms as our population and globalization grow.

        In the end, we’ll probably have a good idea of who was right and can point fingers at each other. Hopefully we can all meet up for a beer in a first class lounge someday and do that in good fun.

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I am not looking to point fingers, jdmsilver.

          As for sacrificing civil liberties and rights, I think that is not a blind absolute. Rather, I would venture to say that you and I likely have different thresholds as to how much civil liberties and rights we are willing to give up — and there is nothing wrong with that.

          I don’t completely disagree with you and your point of view. This might be little more than an ideological debate; but perhaps we can agree that whatever the future holds, we all learn something from what happened and take the necessary steps towards a brighter future in which we are all better informed.

          As for that beer in a first class lounge some day, meeting you would be my pleasure — but may I make that a root beer, please? I don’t drink alcoholic beverages…

  7. Robo says:

    I am a physician in New York. The concern with COVID-19 is the rapid rise in cases in a very short period of time. This coronavirus is more than twice as contagious as influenza. Flu season is roughly 6 months long and the vast majority of patients will not require hospitalization. A much larger percentage of patients require ICU level care and intubation/mechanical ventillation with COVID-19 as compared to flu. The rapid rush of patients in Italy has devastated the healthcare system and this may occur in the United States. Influenza does not require this level of ICU care in such a short time frame. Please follow guidelines for social distancing, hand hygiene, etc. This is nothing like flu, and complacency will lead to terrible consequences.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Readers of The Gate know that I have been properly and thoroughly washing my hands for years, Robo; and as a result, I have not become ill in years — not even a cold.

      I hope that you are not mistaking my point of view as a call for complacency. I have always acknowledged that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is an issue with which we should all be concerned — and I never espoused not following guidelines. My argument is about overreaction.

      I’m sure you are putting in long hours in recent weeks as a physician; so thank you for helping to save lives — and please take care of yourself in the process.

      1. Robo says:

        I appreciate your blog and am a longtime reader. A few weeks ago I thought this whole coronavirus situation was an overreaction as well. However, as I see that hospital ICUs are beginning to become overwhelmed with critically ill patients, I feel less and less that we are over reacting. We truly need to flatten the curve, in order to keep our hospitals functioning as optimally as possible and prevent as many deaths as possible. The various “lockdowns” certainly seem to be an over reaction but I do hope that they have the intended consequence – slow transmission in order to keep our healthcare system running. I hope this situation improves rapidly in a few weeks, so we can restart our economy, and get back to the traveling we all love!

        1. Brian Cohen says:

          I honestly and truly hope you are correct, Robo.

          My concern is: with all of the prevention methods which are being used to mitigate — and hopefully eliminate — this pandemic, is this potentially causing more damage than preventing it?

  8. albert says:

    @onearm0001 there is a cost benefit to everything in a society. Life has a cost associated to it in an economic sense. You cannot spend an infinite amount of money to save lives, eventually the rest of society will collapse because the marginal cost of saving each additional life is too high. Economics 101

    What do you say to the person that has no job now because we shut down normal life for months? Suck it up?

    I think this is a good article within the mass hysteria in the media and puts things in perspective. Everyone should ink to the article he quoted as well.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for eloquently explaining the point which I have been attempting to relay, albert.

  9. Tony says:

    Yes, you’re absolutely right that the mainstream media has adopted a very strong anti-death bias — the press has, by and large, adopted the biased view of the Centers for Disease Control that uncontrolled COVID-19 spread is a very bad scenario to be avoided at all costs, and the press has generally been unwilling to consider the idea that uncontrolled COVID-19 might be a reasonable cost of doing business in our modern interconnected world which we should just allow to happen.

    You ask a reasonable question: shouldn’t we just let those people die? How much is it worth to us? How many people is it, anyway?

    The evidence certainly shows that if we refuse to let COVID-19 change how we live our lives, everyone in the US will develop herd immunity within a few short months.

    If we do that, we will be making the choice to allow an extra approximately 1 million people, mostly Boomers and Silent Generation members but also a random chunk of healthy youngsters, to die an early and extremely painful death.

    Yes, there will be some rough times, socially speaking, as a bunch of people you know die. But after that infection runs through our population like a cleansing flame, we will come out, alive and well, stronger and largely immune.

    The deaths might not be that bad for the economy. Because of the high fatality rate among old people, after a one-time spike in medical costs, this event will dramatically reduce the costs of Social Security and Medicare by 10 percent or more. Many of the dead aren’t working and aren’t currently contributing to GDP. The redistribution of resources of dead wealthy Boomers will help pay down student loan debts and will open up once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for an entire generation of young adults to become new homeowners as housing stock is available at very affordable prices.

    So it’s not all bad.

    Now, on the advice of public-health experts we have currently chosen a different path, which involves closing down schools, cruises, flights, libraries, and businesses, and staying away from one another for a while.

    The public-health experts have been cagey about the details of this option but this may be 18 months of lockdown (until a vaccine is widely available or more effective treatment reduces the death rate to a level that policymakers are more comfortable with).

    Doing this destroys the hospitality and restaurant industries and will trigger a global recession, and it only gets us marginally fewer corpses (perhaps tens of thousands of people will die instead of millions).

    Is this worth doing? Should we just suck it up, stop being wusses, and accept the cleansing flame, then move on? We do allow people to die for other reasons, after all. Why not allow a few more?

    Good on you for asking the question. Why don’t we just let the Boomers die? What price are we willing to pay?

    I would suggest that you please don’t be mad at the press for adopting an anti-death view — it’s a natural, kneejerk reaction not to want your friends and family to die at preventably high rates.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      What a thoughtful — albeit grim — comment, Tony. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

      For the record, I am not mad at the press and the media for “adopting an anti-death view”, as you are correct that doing so is “a natural, kneejerk reaction not to want your friends and family to die at preventably high rates.” What I have a problem with is the way they report with sensationalism designed to attract more viewers and readers — seemingly at a higher priority than keeping people calm and informed.

      I really do not care if people agree or disagree with me. I care more about engaging in constructive public discourse with the hope of arriving at the best solution to solve a major problem.

      One other thing: if I am one of the millions of people who die as a result of allowing the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to run its course — which I agree would potentially strengthen the immunity systems of more people than it would kill — so be it…

      …and no, I do not advocate anyone dying.

  10. Have you had the chance to read this article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/world/europe/coronavirus-imperial-college-johnson.html

    Basically, without the social distancing steps taken now to stop the spread, up to 2.1 million people in the US alone could die.

    There is one major big difference between COVID and the other diseases such as measles: there is NO VACCINE for Covid at the moment.

    Flus and influenza has yearly vaccines, and more folks really should take heed and get their annual flu shots. Most dont because the fatality rate compared to the millions who get infected is so much lower.

    The problem with COVID, besides not having a vaccine at the moment, is that it is in a special sweet spot of being infectious enough and fatal enough to cause major damage and lost lives. Italy is seeing the brunt of this, even with a total shutdown of the country.

    According to this info from Prof Dr Akiko Iwasaki, COVID19 is 30x more deadly and 2x more contagious than the annual flu: https://twitter.com/virusesimmunity/status/1238475009712160769?s=21

    Hope that enlightens your misplaced ignorance. You should be taking COVID and the social distancing measures seriously.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      “You should be taking COVID and the social distancing measures seriously.”

      How do you know that I am not taking this seriously, Sang Kancil Guru?

      Perhaps I am not the one here who is suffering from “misplaced ignorance”…

      1. Sang Kancil Guru says:

        Are you then? What have you shown that you are taking this seriously besides chastising others for being rightly worried and taking the social distancing measures that are needed? Instead you just advocate folks to be exposed to Covid without a vaccine because that’s what happened to the Asian flu back in the 50s eventhough it is a false equivalence. You are free to expose yourself to Covid, no one is stopping you from doing it.

  11. Captain Happy says:

    Finally a voice of reason. The economic fallout from this will cause much more suffering and deaths than the virus itself. The media has blood in it’s hands. When I go to the store, and literally everything is missing, I know the world has completely lost it.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Apparently, not everyone agrees with that point of view, Captain Happy — and thank you.

      I am amazed at just how sharply divided the comments are in terms of points of view…

    2. Chris@Oak says:

      @Captain Happy
      Perfectly stated.
      Look at how the media’s talking points mirror Chinese propaganda.

  12. Robo says:

    Brian, you do bring up a very good point. We will not know the true consequences and benefits of the current lockdowns, travel restrictions, etc. for awhile. I do hope these measures are ultimately helpful, but only time will tell.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Whatever happens, Robo, I hope that we all learn some valuable lessons to be applied towards a brighter future for as many people as possible.

  13. Tom says:

    While I don’t agree with the substance of the article, I appreciate you putting words to it and explaining that side of the argument. What I do have a problem with is the title of the piece. Completely tone deaf…and I assume not words you would say to the face of the families who have and will lose loved ones to the virus? Nation of wimps? “Addicted” to drama? Really? The images of the hospitals in Italy Spain and the obituaries in the newspapers there don’t strike me as drama in the way you are insinuating.

    But maybe I am just a snowflake….

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      No, you are not a “snowflake”, Tom

      …and the title of the article was not in reference to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus specifically; so no, I would never use those words “to the face of the families who have and will lose loved ones to the virus”.

      I do appreciate you expressing your opinion. Thank you.

  14. NB_ga says:

    Yeppers. We have become exactly that. And the repercussions are terrifying.

    A virus is running rampant in our nation (and the world at large). That is scary. I have elderly parents. I have three kids. I am ‘too young to die’ myself. I understand the fear. But it is insane to capitulate to full government control on the off chance it will keep us safe. That is no way to live, even temporarily. This reaction was way late to the game and is way, way, way overboard.

    I live in the same city as both the busiest international airport in the world and the CDC. I do not believe there is any chance that this virus did not enter my area prior to three weeks ago. I do not believe that it stayed tucked snuggly in China or Italy or Europe until just now. How many thousands of us had a random virus this past winter, treated the symptoms, and recovered fine? And, unfortunately, some died, just as some die every year. No one was testing us for Covid-19 (or the new name of the day) and no one was in a complete panic that we were infecting every one we pass on the streets. We will never have complete infection or mortality rates because the only people being tested are those severely ill enough to warrant it. Death is never ideal but it cannot be prevented in all cases – be that from the new virus, the old flu, a car accident… or a myriad of others ways, we will all eventually meet our demise.

    What CAN be prevented is the destruction of the livelihood of Americans. Shutting down society has resulted in massive job loss, an upheaval in the education of our children, and widespread anxiety. It will lead to people losing their homes, their health insurance, the ability to feed their families. That could have been prevented. Instead it is getting worse by the day.

    Furthermore, we are giving up our civil liberties on a daily basis…. blindly agreeing to whatever new rule or restriction is suggested (or demanded) because someone somewhere says it will protect us. Just yesterday, a local city government passed an ordinance allowing themselves to meet without a public hearing and without public notice in order to pass legislation “to protect the public”. This is horrifying! And no one seems to care because they just trust that the nameless “they” know better about how to protect everyone. Far more horrific than any virus to me.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I completely agree with you, NB_ga — and of even more concern is the possible long-term effects of such sweeping policies and restrictions.

  15. Long Time Reader Sean says:

    Brian- I am a long time reader of your blog but this is the first time to reply to any of your prior posts. While you are entitled to your opinion, I must say I am disappointed read this.

    In my view, this post is a prime example of an article written by someone who was willing to set up all the constructs and defenses while stating a lot of things that demonstrate a significant lack of understanding on the overall rationale behind the international response to COVID-19. Nobody is denying current reactions will have lasting consequences. But it is necessary to contain what’s going on and manage the flow of painful experience (e.g. health care system capacity concerns etc.)

    This is not the time to broadcast this type of stuff. Poor timing.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I appreciate your comment, Long Time Reader Sean. Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion.

  16. George says:

    Brian-

    It is great that you posted this. More writing like this might help stem the tide of idiocrity that is infecting our world faster than any virus will.

    You will mostly get flamed by the over-excited keyboard warriors. But, keep up the good fight.


    The travel industry posted some stats recently:
    – 1Million people a DAY in just the travel industry are losing their jobs

    When you look at the WHO statistics, it’s even more stark that ‘do nothing’ would be MUCH better than the response to this virus.

    Each year, 57,000,000 people die. That’s just math.
    It’s about 157,000 per DAY.

    So, to throw the world into utter chaos – punishing the poorest people who will lose jobs, cars, houses and perpetuate poverty into the next generation…

    It’s madness.
    But, what’s more interesting, is that it’s totally relatable.

    Keyboard warriors get to boss around politicians and brand managers and business owners now. They have the power.

    And just like commenters to your blog – they demand ACTION!
    Someone must do SOMETHING!
    So, a business closes, or a political figure promises something.
    And then the angry mob moves onto the next target.

    This mob mentality distorts reason, defies logic, and doesn’t believe in critical thinking. It is, much like a herd, driven by emotions – primarily fear.

    Until we have leaders with backbones, who stand up to the masses of people and say ‘listen guys, I know you’re scared, but you’re wrong’ – we will have no changes.

    Please keep spreading the word.
    Not everyone is as dumb as the anonymous posters here on this thread, or on social media.

    Some of us still have brains and logic. And we agree with your comments – even if it’s unpopular, or almost impossible, to say so publically.

  17. Tom says:

    Brian – Yes, there is a tendency toward drama in this society, and yes it is often by media (of all leanings) and corporations and politicians that benefit from it, and yes, there are some elements of that in the reaction to COVID-19, but the overall, seemingly extreme governmental reactions (the lockdowns, and curfews, and shelter-in-place decrees) are, in my opinion, justified, for several reasons:

    1) This Novel Coronavirus (Novel, because it is new) originally began with animal to human transmission. Therefore no humans had antibodies ready to fight it when it bloomed. With influenza, because of generations of exposure, many humans do have antibodies. So, if one human has COVID-19, many more people near that person will get the virus, and it will spread to the next group of people, and the next group, exponentially faster than would happen with influenza.

    2) As I’m sure you’ve heard, the best guess is that people can be contagious carriers of COVID-19 for two weeks before symptoms show up, if they ever do. Per the CDC: “Most healthy adults [with influenza] may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick..” Therefore, Coronavirus is more hidden than flu is.

    Combine 1 & 2 above, and you have a pandemic that is more contagious, and more silently so, than any we have encountered in our lifetimes.

    3) If Coronavirus is unchecked, and becomes as common as influenza, that is an unprecedented number of people in hospitals. Per NPR: “Data from China shows that 20% of COVID-19 patients, though, are serious enough to get sent to the hospital. That’s about ten times more often than flu. Even though a great many people are hospitalized for the flu — the preliminary data for the 2018-19 flu season is nearly half a million — the rate of hospitalization is far lower: 1-2% percent of cases, according to the CDC.”

    4) Also per NPR: “Once a patient with a serious case of coronavirus is hospitalized, the average stay is 11 days, according to a study based on January data from Wuhan — about twice as long as the 5-to-6 day average stay for flu.” Longer stays mean more resources being drained in a system that won’t be able to sustain that.

    5) Unchecked, a dramatically higher number of people will likely be affected (not just hospitalized, as above) by COVID-19 than are from flu. NPR: “In the U.S., for example, in recent years about 8.3% of the total population get sick from flu each season, a CDC study found; including people who carry flu virus but show no symptoms, that estimate ranges to up to 20%.

    “Nobody knows what percentage of the population will eventually contract coronavirus. But there are some educated guesses. Since this is a new disease and there’s no vaccine and no established immunity from past cycles, experts believe everyone is susceptible.

    “A March 19 letter from researchers at the University of Hong Kong and Harvard, published in Nature Medicine, predicted that globally, “at least one-quarter to one-half of the population will very likely become infected, absent drastic control measures or a vaccine.

    “An influential modeling analysis released March 16 from Imperial College of London predicted a worse-case scenario in which 81% of the U.S. population could get infected over the next few months, if no actions were taken to slow or contain the spread of the virus.”

    6) Percentage-wise, far more people die from coronavirus than do from flu. “In the U.S., seasonal flu kills 1 in a thousand people (0.1%) who get sick from it — the death toll last season was more than 34,000. Worldwide, an estimated 300,000 to 650,000 people die from flu each year.

    “By contrast, COVID-19 is currently estimated to kill at least 10 people per thousand infected (1%). “It’s about ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Disease, in congressional testimony on March 11.”

    The raw numbers of people who are killed by coronavirus are now far smaller than those who die from flu, but since it is far more deadly and far more contagious, the point is to avoid getting people to be exposed to it. If as many people who are exposed to flu get exposed to COVID-19, the human population could be decimated.

    One of the main reasons for the draconian measures is (as I’m guessing you’ve heard) to “flatten the curve”, so we can try to avoid overwhelming our health care system to the point that it breaks, though we may already have waited too long to avoid that. Those measures are also to help keep more people alive. Let’s say that I went out to a party with my friends, and I am unknowingly carrying COVID-19, and I infect dozens of people, and they infect dozens when they go to work the next morning, or go to the supermarket, or the gym, or wherever, and they infect dozens and on and on and on. Should hundreds people be consigned to illness, or hundreds die, either because I was unable or unwilling to make to make a responsible choice, or because the government didn’t step in?

    You allude to issues of freedom and authoritarianism, but there are moments so big, so drastic, that the weight of the lives lost is greater than the temporary loss of freedoms. If you don’t like the choice of whether you go out to a restaurant taken away from you by a government, imagine how I feel by the choice of whether my mother or my wife or I get to live or die being taken away by someone who just had to get their latte.

    Governor Pritzker of Illinois said today on announcing that states shelter-at-home decrees, “I fully recognize I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving people’s livelihoods, but ultimately you can’t have a livelihood if you don’t have a life.”

    Can government save ALL people from others’ stupidity, carelessness, or criminal behavior? No. No normally should they try. But there are moments when the scales tip, and the potential loss of life — people, by the way, whose loss would devastate the economic lifeblood of a society for the long term — such sweeping attempts are justified. In my opinion, this is one of those moments.

    1. Your daddy says:

      If you that worried about dying YOU control that. Have your mother and your family shelter in place, that is your choice and it protects you, but we are going down a dangerous road.

      1. Tom says:

        That’s part of the point…my choices don’t fully control the outcome, even if I personally shelter in place. The more people who don’t adopt these stringent behaviors, the more the people at the places I absolutely have to go to (supermarket, drug store, etc.) are likely to be infected, and are likely to infect me. The unusual biological truths of this disease and our lack of immunity, as described above, makes that true in spite of my personal behavior.

        Perhaps it was a mistake to talk about my specific circumstances. I was trying to use them as an example of how we are all interdependent, and how our actions affect everyone around us. And how in rare circumstances — like dealing with a disease thats very nature makes it unprecedentedly dangerous to an unprecedentedly mobile world — it can be appropriate for government to step in like this. Yes, we have to be careful to make sure the response doesn’t continue past its value, and doesn’t become inappropriately toxic to the society it is meant to protect, but imagine what happens to our economy and liberties if the worst legitimately possible case scenario comes about.

        And imagine what it might feel like to die in agony, unable to catch your breath, your lungs losing their elasticity and filling up with fluid, having been turned away from the hospital and treatment that could save you, because there isn’t room…and that could have been avoided if more people had sheltered in place and practiced social distancing, whether voluntarily or because of governmental imposition. Though that sounds dramatic and sensational, it’s not drama-addicted, alarmist propaganda. It’s what happened in Wuhan, and is happening in Italy, and we’re not magically immune to it.

        1. Tom says:

          This video, from Dr. Emily Landen, is short, and makes the point better than I have. I wish my communication here, and been as simple and clear and relatable as hers is. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/20/emily-landon-coronavirus/

  18. Vlad says:

    I’m torn on the arguments presented here, which do lean callous. But I’m also reminded that what we’re intentionally doing to our economy doesn’t just affect our wallets. Unemployment has been conclusively linked to death. As a society, we seem to have made the decision to trade some lives for others. The loss of lives due to unemployment is not as directly visible, which I guess makes it easier to stomach/overlook. And *that* I do have a problem with.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for a very reasonable and thoughtful comment, Vlad.

      I was not trying to be callous at all; and I have great respect for those people who work in the healthcare industry and truly do what they can to take care of us.

      All I did was ask a question which I thought needed to be asked. I never responded to that question with an absolute firm yes.

  19. DaninMCI says:

    Good blog post. Is this a serious event sure. Is it serious enough to cripple the world economy that built the medical technology, hospitals, trained doctors, enabled the world to prosper? No.

    I lost my job in January by no fault of this flu virus but due to lack of proper leadership at the company, I was at causing financial collapse in the best economy in 70+ years. It has become nearly impossible to find a new job in my sector within the last few weeks. I won’t be getting any stimulus checks from the government as that is based on your 2018 or 2019 income. I can’t even take advantage of this time off to travel like I normally would on points and miles because we’ve wrecked it all through the hype. The long term effects of this will kill many more people than this virus ever will. Think of those that will become homeless or turn to drugs, etc.

    Social media and the mainstream media pretending to be journalists are mostly at fault. Political opportunists like the California Governor claiming that 25 million in his state will get a virus that stands at 283,000 world wide is irresponsible hype and he is not alone in that. Or how about the irrational governmental agencies that would have us lock down the beaches but yet offer to open the national parks for free (which should be free anyway btw). We will look back at this event as a culture shift in everything we do in the future and hopefully learn from the mistakes we’ve made.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am so sorry to learn of your current unemployment situation, DaninMCI. I do hope you find employment at a better job as soon as possible.

      Although I do have some education and training in journalism — I have worked for newspapers in the past as a writer — I do not consider myself a journalist; and yet, I cannot help but agree with your assertion. I think that much of the mainstream media has been irresponsible in reporting on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — to the point of the perceived overreaction as to what we are currently facing.

      I agree with you that “The long term effects of this will kill many more people than this virus ever will.” I could not have said it any better.

      If there is anything I can do for you, DaninMCI please let me know.

  20. JW says:

    There are very few of these kinds of posts/pieces out there, but each one has had me thinking about the long-term cost to society that Social distancing policies will impose. The morbidity/mortality that will occur in intangible ways. Loss of income = less resources=less ability to combat/ cope with future illnesses, food and medical insecurity, housing insecurity and the like. The upshot is, it doesn’t matter, the barn door has been left open. Still, the reckoning will come, whether it is a year or two years from now.
    I also think that it is interesting that the world defaulted to a China model without really examining why and the fall out that would happen because of it. The last stat I read was that 1.2% of people below a certain age would be in critical condition due to acquiring COVID19. Knowing that, will we wonder later why we didn’t just impose quarantine on the elderly? That would have been an unacceptable idea a month ago, but imagine if the world would have just kept going, providing resources and mobility for everyone else, whilst still requiring compliance from those most vulnerable? Schools in session – not grandparents watching the inevitable petri dishes that are children, hospitals dealing with the young victims of the virus while the elders are sequestered and hopefully uninfected until a vaccine is available? I myself have mandated a quarantine on my older relatives, telling them that I will obtain any of their needed items, and essentially forbidding them to leave their homes. What if the world had done that instead?
    None of my musings are scientific, they are just that, musings, but in the next two years, the world will be overwhelmed by poverty from those least able to survive the economic consequences of this pandemic along with the victims of the pandemic itself. That poverty will have its own victims.
    I agree that the title of your blog post is unfortunate, but I also think that the content provides a valid discussion. Thank you.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      If the title of the article was We Have Become a Society of Wimps Addicted to Drama, JW, I would wholeheartedly agree with you — but the title was in the form of a question in order to promote discussion, which it has. I hope that the discussion continues in a civilized and constructive manner.

      I tend to agree with your musings, as I would not be surprised if the fallout from the measures in mitigating the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus does significantly more damage — including more deaths — than the virus itself.

  21. Your daddy says:

    Finally a blogger who isn’t a complete p***y. Thanks for speaking the truth.

    JPM chase yesterday said 2nd GDP will be a minus 14% that is the most in modern history for one quarter including the great depression.owest ever was just over 8%.

    A better plan would be to have those who are high risk shelter in place and let the rest live their lives.

    In the end suicides in the USA from all the people who lose jobs, get depressed, etc from this complete over reaction will be far greater than the dam virus itself.

    1 million people die every year from automobile accidents, where is the outrage,?

    Just crazy…

    Also there are lots of case studies about what happens when you start taking away people’s civil liberties. Just wait they see how easy it is to take them away in the name of “safety”. Everyday I dee mainstream media saying this is a blueprint to deal with climate change etc.

  22. Simon says:

    Maybe when you lose your family members you will understand this is not drama or a joke. No we are not being paranoid. You are being arrogant and frankly offensive about something you have no first hand experience of. I am stuck in my house forced to wait for my family to die alone at home in horrendous circumstances unable to help, comfort then or be their as they pass away. No funeral, no ashes, no way of saying goodbye and having to plan how to not tell them that their husband of fifty years has died and pretend he is ok. It is not drama and unless you take it seriously many more will die. I sincerely hope you never have to live what we have lived and be forced to watch your love ones die lonely and without anybody to comfort them.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have indeed lost quite a few family members over the years, Simon — some of whom I watched die first hand, so I know the pain all too well…

      …and if you have been reading the extensive number of articles which I have written pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, you will not find one instance or occurrence where I treated this pandemic as a “drama or a joke” — nor have I not taken this seriously.

      My thoughts and prayers are with the members of your family who have been impacted by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. I do hope they are able to get the help they need.

  23. Eric says:

    The other issue is that, without sufficient blunting of numbers seeking access to care, people without COVID-19 are going to die because of their heart attack, stroke, GI bleeding, hip fracture or whatever else they will still be getting while this is going on. I work as a a hospital physician and we are always busy and often people are waiting in the ER hallway to be seen or to get a bed in the hospital. There is data to indicate that the death rate in Wuhan was much higher than other parts of China because of the systemic overload – too many cases at once and more people die because care is simply not available. And if we hit that point, it’s not just people dying from COVID-19.

  24. Brian – I see you end the article with this statement, but I missed the content in the article where you state how we could have avoided our current situation.

    “I am completely convinced of one thing: what has currently enveloped our planet could have been avoided so easily.”

    In your previous article, As Many as 46,000 People May Have Died in the United States Alone From…, you compare the deaths from Covid-19 as of March 6 to other causes of death to show the far lower numbers of Covid-19 deaths 15 days ago compared to flu.

    Take a look at the exponential growth in 15 days from the numbers you showed in your March 6 article:

    “At the time this article was written, at least 3,380 people have died of the minimum of 98,192 confirmed cases in 88 countries and territories worldwide, according to Situation Report 46 of the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus…

    …but of those statistics, 3,045 of those deaths — or slightly greater than 90 percent of the worldwide total — have been in China. 80,711 of those confirmed cases — or slightly greater than 82 percent of the worldwide total — have been in China…

    …which means that the percentage of deaths worldwide outside of China due to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is at fewer than ten percent; and the percentage of confirmed cases worldwide outside of China is at fewer than 18 percent — and yes, additional confirmed cases and deaths will be reported, which will change those numbers.”
    ***
    Covid-19 infections took from December 1 to March 8 to reach 100,000 (80% in China) and 500 cases in USA with another 100 countries reporting Covid-19 cases.

    Covid-19 surpassed 200,000 infections worldwide on March 20 = 12 days.
    Relatively few new cases, <600 in China since March 6 numbers from your article.

    Covid-19 will surpass 300,000 infections today or tomorrow on March 22 = 1 to 2 days.
    The USA is one track to surpass the 81,000 China Covid-19 cases in the next week. Cases all over Europe are surging too. Needless to say the virus will also spread through Africa, the Americas and central Asia.

    A simple doubling exercise every 4 days shows how quickly this can surpass flu numbers for world with perhaps 10 times more people needing hospitalization for Covid-19 than flu.
    Flu, a virus that has been around thousands of years with new mutational strains each year. Many of us have immune systems that readily handle annual flu infections.

    300 K Mar 22
    600 K Mar 26
    1.2 M Mar 30
    2.4 M Apr 3
    4.8 M Apr7
    9.6 M Apr 11
    19.2 M Apr 15
    38.4 M Apr 19
    76.8 M Apr 23
    153.6 M Apr 27
    307.2 M May 1
    614.4 M May 5

    Assume 1% eventually die from Covid-19 and there are 6 million deaths.

    Since social distancing is the only known way to slow the spread, the choice now is simply enforce social isolation or let the virus spread unhindered and accept the deaths that result until enough people have gone through Covid-19 to create a herd immunity and stop the virus from spreading.

    1. Chris@Oak says:

      @ Ricardo Garrison-
      “… how we could have avoided our current situation…”

      The Chinese Communists and W.H.O.
      own this global disaster.
      Had they not lied and covered up for each other, there would have been a different outcome.

      The ChiComs have unleashed a global Economic pandemic. The media uses their talking points.

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      People who knew early on about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — in China and in other countries — should have taken appropriate action earlier, Richard Garrido. That includes informing the public in a way that would not incite the panic which we are currently experiencing. That includes isolating those who tested positive for the virus itself.

      Health care systems worldwide — especially that in the United States — seemed to be woefully unequipped to deal with a pandemic and should have been better prepared as a proactive measure.

      Misinformation by leaders and other authoritative figures caused further confusion pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

      Much of the media at large was irresponsible with its reporting of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and the pandemic which ensued — out for those almighty clicks and views by sensationalism instead of factual dissemination of information.

      Once the most vulnerable groups of people to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus were identified, they should have been isolated for 14 days or however long it takes to protect them — not shut down virtually the entire planet for weeks in some cases and months in others.

      Finally, everyone should have been practicing proper sanitary habits — including and especially thorough washing of their hands, which I have espoused repeatedly for years.

      Had all of the aforementioned measures — perhaps even some of those measures — been taken, I believe we would have had less of a chance of a pandemic from occurring.

      As for distancing ourselves from each other, I have practiced that for years as well, as I am not exactly what one would call a gregarious person — but I personally believe that at least some of the methods which have been employed as an overreaction will not accomplish all that much, as I believe the train already left the station.

      You have always been a wizard with analysis, Ric — but I sincerely hope that time proves your numbers to be incorrect…

      1. JJ says:

        “ Once the most vulnerable groups of people to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus were identified, they should have been isolated for 14 days or however long it takes to protect them — not shut down virtually the entire planet for weeks in some cases and months in others.”

        how in the world would that protect them if they isolated for 14 days & no one else did anything but continued spreading the infection around to more and more people thus continually restarting your 14 day requirement?

  25. JG says:

    What gets me mad is the media focus on sensationalism and the quoting of numbers. Example, just today 3/21 “Spain’s cases leap by 5,000 in last 24 hrs” and the article really didn’t help put that number in context. Pure fear mongoring and it’s pretty common unfortunately.

    A better article about status in NY also came out today but they really didn’t help draw many observations. Percentage /comments mine, but the numbers from NY gov today 3/21:

    1) 45,437 tested, 10,356 positive (22.7% had it),
    2) 1,603 required hospital (they reported 15% required hospital but I think a better indicator is 3% of those tested required hospital)
    3) 46 deaths (0.1% died of those tested or 0.4% died of those that tested positive so far).

    So given the 1,603 hospitalized so far (46 deaths I assume that’s part of the 1,603) you can predict how many more deaths at a minimum coming in NY. Yet we will be bombarded in the media by sensationalized numbers out of context. There will be a big heading “5 more dead in NY….” That’s not the relevent news …..you bunch of bums in the media (sorry that really gets me mad).

    I actually like LA County’s recent change, stop wasting the limited medical personal’s time taking the tests. If they have fever, difficulty breathing put them in medical care. If they don’t go home quarantine for the next 14 days and get out of my way.

    My gut says quarantine was probably a good thing but extended quarantine is not. And for the media sensationalists, as my old boss use to say if you don’t have any recommendations don’t come with complaints. Maybe the media should focus even more on how poor hollywood is holding up. Has Elsa been tested yet?

  26. Veejay says:

    Forgive me, but I’d rather follow recommendations by Dr Fauci than a travel blogger with no qualifications. You wouldn’t be spewing this stuff if you truly understood what “flatten the curve” means.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Forgive me, Veejay, but I’d rather stand by my thoughts and opinion than a commenter who does not state his or her qualifications.

      Please accept my apologies, but I do not recall meeting you and you knowing what are and are not my qualifications.

  27. JJ says:

    I don’t know about everyone else but I for one will not forget those who think they should have the ability to short an option on the lives of my loved ones.

    This isn’t an overreaction & it never had to destroy the economy at all – what needed to happen was a COMPLETE overreaction at the beginning! You know why little Taiwan doesn’t need massive internal restrictions even now as they’re so close to China & have tons of cross-strait travel? They PANICKED the moment China alerted the WHO on 12/31 of an unknown SARS-like disease. That very day they started sending health inspectors in full gear onto every single plane landing from Wuhan. Their president on 1/22 declared a health emergency & took over distribution of masks, setting in place a rationing system to allow every citizen three per week & funded private industry to ramp up production (currently up to almost 10mm/day). Also they cut off travel with China very early on, including all foreign nationals who had been to China.

    The population didn’t scoff and say why are you overreacting? Nope, they came together in a community oriented way that extends to how they have implemented quarantines – every quarantined person has an assigned caretaker who brings them food & medicine or anything else they might need & also takes away their garbage for them. Their health dept calls frequently & is working with phone companies to ring fence those who are quarantined (also HUGE fines for breaking quarantine, 2yrs in jail and up to $30k USD). Yes it is an intrusion to those being quarantined but the alternative is everything shut down as we have here in California now.

    So which do you prefer? Because allowing this thing to overtake our hospital system and potentially kill a lot of people, including people I love, is not an option.

    We missed our opportunity to follow Taiwan’s exact course. Because of that we need a lockdown to flatten the curve and once that’s hopefully done, then we can tackle what restrictions will need to be in place before we get back to normal (at least til we find a vaccine). Maybe that means public temperature checks like every Asian country that fought this is currently doing. It means mass testing & people MUST submit to quarantine & intrusion to be sure they’re following their quarantine, if they test positive. It means we wear masks in public because asymptomatic people are apparently the biggest spreaders of this thing. It means we practice social distancing as a part of normal life and don’t have mass gatherings for awhile.

    Yes it’s a pain. No it’s not overreacting as the doctors in these comments keep trying to tell you…they are concerned because they’ll be on the front lines watching people die while trying not to get infected themselves. But why listen to their concerns right? What could they possibly know….

    1. NB_ga says:

      JJ… First, I do not see how comparing the reaction of a tiny nation of 23 million people to that of a massive nation of well over 323 million people could hold any water. What can and should be done to a people in one is not in any way comparable to the other. Congrats to Taiwan for handling the issue. Even so, likely not a reasonable response in the U.S. under any circumstances.

      That said, even if we had the mindset and infrastructure to extrapolate out that extreme action, the time has long passed. We, in the U.S., have conceivably been exposed to this virus for well over 3 months and yet it is decided to blow up the country now? Ridiculous.

      We will never know how many Americans were exposed and infected by the virus. As a people… we get a virus, we treat the symptoms, most get better, and we go about our lives. For generations and generations. Even now, mild to moderately ill patients in the U.S. are being told to stay home, treat the symptoms, only reach out if the condition becomes emergent. This completely skews the numbers and, subsequently, the reaction. If we are only testing the severely ill and deceased, we are certain to have enormous morbidity rates that cause panic. If we consider that the nation as a whole has been exposed then the infection rate is very small and the mortality rate is infinitesimal. Not at all cause for this outrageous shutdown of our society. Especially given that the fallout of job loss and homelessness and despair will almost certainly result in far greater loss of life than the virus itself.

      For the record, I am generally abiding by the rules requested of my government. And I do not see where Brian says he is not also doing so in any of these related articles. Choosing to speak out against these somewhat absurd requests or requirements (at least in my case) does not mean I am putting others at risk of greater infection. I am simply speaking up for a less panicked reaction with far less furor.

  28. popecelestinethefifthsghost says:

    I see a lot of people braying about Italy and not stopping to consider how much of the population is made up of the elderly. This virus is not the Bubonic Plague. It is nothing novel. Novelty specifies something we haven’t seen before not something we haven’t seen in a while and I like that you point out that actually, we have seen similar worldwide strains in recent years and there was no worldwide shutdown. It’s as if everyone has suddenly become aware that diseases are a yearly occurrence and that they reap the lives of millions annually, monthly, weekly, daily.

    And no matter how those in the comments may argue about the danger of whatever bug is the most popular right now, your stance that a worldwide shutdown will having a lasting and negative impact on a financial level is correct.

    The rubber band can only be pulled so taut before it snaps backwards. Without jobs, a way to provide, and live – why, the non-infected and the infected alike are eventually going to either A:
    Give up their freedoms entirely so Big Daddy Government can take full care of them or B: Plunge into war, discord, and anarchy out of which those who survive the destruction and illness will fill the power vacuum for better or for worse.

    What you warn people to heed and consider is not foolish nor ill-advised. Anyone with a perfunctory grasp of history understands this.

    True, those that will likely die or see permanent damage done by this virus are the elderly, the very young, the immunocompromised, and the unhealthy (typically people who are obese or who suffer from self-inflicted health problems) – yet, that is always the case each and every year with outbreaks of various kinds.

    And yes, wanting to defend those who are at a high risk is not morally wrong. But, if sacrificing the many for the few is what is called for when there is a microbial threat then by God, why haven’t we been in quarantine all this time? Civilization cannot and should not exist by that logic.

    I agree too that we have become weak inside and out. Perhaps that is why everyone is caving to fear and submitting to authority even though the situation does not warrant it in light of the facts.

    People will and do die. Wars and disease happen. You either survive it or you don’t. No amount of quarantining will prevent this and instead will engender larger problems down the road.

    Perhaps if people looked up some more of those lovely statistics you provided and cross referenced them with historical plagues and the yearly death toll for generic and rare outbreaks, they’d be able to see things from the more clinical viewpoint you have.

    Thank you for being hopeful. I personally can only find this silly and wait on pins and needles to see what happens next.

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