Everybody's talking about Corona virus, otherwise known as COVID-19.
First, is the disease real? I think it probably is. It's far short of being able to sit in a courtroom, put my hand on a bible, and swear under oath that I see enough evidence that Corona virus exists, but let's assume there's a virus that isn't just another bad flu. (2020 May 15, I have a change in that status. Several doctors and other health care professionals I know have not seen any cases, but my own pulmonologist (lung doctor) says she has seen five or six cases in her hospital work. So the absolute, yes-or-no existance of COVID-19 now passes my burden-of-proof test. There are 300 thousand traffic lights in the United States and something like three million claimed Corona virus cases, I see a lot more traffic lights then Corona cases, so I'm not concluding anything about the absolute number of cases, only that I now believe, with some confidence, that the disease exists.)
Second, what are its consequences? Big numbers and bigger numbers appear in news coverage along with images of endless lines to wait for crowded emergency rooms. People I know have seen those same emergency rooms empty with medical personnel being furloughed for lack of patients to treat. I'll point out while three people in my own office have had flu during this Corona outbreak, nobody I know has had Corona virus. I know a woman in England who had a bad cough and I know a friend in Philadelphia who knows somebody in New Jersey he thinks had it. Nobody else I know well enough to trust about it seems to know anybody. A medical-professional friend looked for a case in Arizona, calling professional friends of friends, no luck. The same news medium that lied to us about crowded hospitals reports all kinds of famous people catching and dying from Corona.
Third, how many people has Corona virus killed? Here in the United States, they're saying 60K, a bad flu year. Hospitals are under tremendous pressure to report Corona deaths, so heart attacks, cancer, strokes, car crashes, and household accidents are all reported as Corona virus deaths. If you go out the back door of the hospital, then it's Corona virus on the death certificate. Even so, even with highly-inflated numbers, even with huge exaggeration, the numbers are barely a bad flu year. More realistically, Corona virus probably is on a par with Zika, swine flu, SARS, bird flu, or West Nile. just as it appeared to be when it emerged on the scene.
(Remember "Star Trek," first season, thirteenth episode, "The Conscience of the King.")
Fourth, how many has the lock-down response hurt or killed? Here in the United States, 25 million people in the services sector are jobless by government decree enforced by police with guns, soon to be homeless. They're going without medical and dental care, sleeping on friends' couches (as long as those friends have couches), hoping each day for a chance to work again, and longing to start paying the bills that have piled up. The number-guess I saw is 25 thousand per month of those will be deaths by suicide, drug addiction, medical issues, et cetera and I find that credible. So that's 50 thousand deaths so far, not tentative, not maybe, real deaths, in addition to untold human misery.
Fifth, the loss to the arts is staggering. I realize it's a bit snooty to complain about lack of concerts as 25 million people are really hurting, but singers, dancers, musicians, actors, ushers, theater operators, and so on bring so much joy into our lives and now they're being pushed aside. (I buy tickets for about seventy live-concert events per year.)
Sixth, how many has the lock-down response helped? Staying home, washing hands, using disinfectant wipes, how many of those would die if those outside were not locked down? We have the answer as those places that locked down had, I'm told by people I trust, similar curves to those who did not lock down. So, in the United States, we sacrificed 25 million livelihoods and 50 thousand lives to save maybe a few hundred victims of maybe Corona virus.
For me the decision was easy. At my age and health there's a two-percent (2%) chance I'm not going to see a year from now. The original super-scary numbers suggest an overall Corona death rate of 0.05%, maybe 0.2% at my age. I can mitigate that risk by staying away from people, no concerts, no travel, no restaurants, far less joy in my life. Or I can enjoy my pleasures and face a game of Russian Roulette with one Corona bullet and 499 empty chambers. (I believed then and believe now the actual risk I faced is twenty times smaller than that, but let's consider it.) In taking that risk, I'm not risking the lives of others as they can take a similar safe path and stay away from other people including me. Until that choice was taken away from all of us, I easily chose the path of living my life with the very-small risk of not living as long.
Today is 2020 August 6, Thursday,
3:24:17 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
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