What have we done? It’s the question that is being asked with increasing frequency. The answer, with equal frequency, are justifications that amount to simply, ‘We are protecting you.’
No matter if you feel that the answer given is adequate or not – which growing numbers are on the not side – there is no question. We have irrevocably changed the world. The long-term consequences of this are unknowable.
Like millions if not hundreds of millions around the globe, America has gone-to-ground. That is to say we have hunkered in. Not only because of the forced isolation mandated at the State and local levels. We have curtailed our interactions and limited our collective participation in society.
News media impact
It has been a long known fact that the cost of the 24/7 major news media was fear and hate. News media companies, in the US and abroad, need eyeballs to make a profit – or enough revenue to justify their existence in larger conglomerates.
That is exactly what they have done. Right and Left share the same disdain because they have both had the exact same actions. It’s so common that even discussions of entertainment cannot escape noticing this.
So the fearmongering that is the Coronavirus on news media really isn’t a surprise. Rather we should be surprised it took this long to happen. Especially with such a relatively tame outbreak. Yes, Covid-19 is insanely contagious. But it is amazingly timid in lethality.
Covid-19, or Coronavirus, mortality
According to the most recent data – there are 554,849 known cases and 21,942 deaths in the US according to the CDC today. Worldwide there are 1.8 million confirmed cases with 117,569 deaths attributed to Covid-19 by Johns Hopkins University. This means that currently for the US, with a population of roughly 325.8 million people, the mortality rate is 0.0066%. Globally for the 7.6 billion population, the mortality rate is 0.0015%.
According to the World Health Organization – May 24, 2018 – tuberculosis was the least deadly cause of death in the world for 2016. It killed 1.3 million people. That’s slightly more than 10x Coronavirus at this point.
These numbers are important because, though 56.9 million people died in 2016 (and similar amounts every year), society did not stop. The 3 million that died from lung infections did not cause the stock markets to crash and usher in a global recession.
“As of March 2020, global stocks have seen a downturn of at least 25% during the crash, and 30% in most G20 nations.”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_stock_market_crash
In 2016, there was no threat that potentially some 29% of small businesses and 36 million Americans they employ would cease to exist. Fear of Coronavirus has done that though. That’s partially in addition to the 16 million currently unemployed.
Even a 2nd Amendment component
Yes, Covid-19 has all but eliminated the argument on gun control. Some 2 million firearms were sold in March alone. That could be due to the fact that gun violence in Chicago remains unabated. Currently reports are 550 have been shot, up 13% versus 2019.
But outside the strictest gun control zone in the country, crime seems to have dropped and mass shootings have all but vanished. Even so,
“New York, Massachusetts, and New Mexico have forced shops to close but have allowed them to continue selling online. Washington state ordered shops to close, but several continued to operate despite the ban.”
Official unofficial government overreach
If only that were the full extend of the issue. But it is not. Local governments have eviserated the right to gather, or even drive by locations without draconian steps of isolation. In New York, guidance at the State and County levels have disallowed the public from driving by a neighbors home with a sign celebrating a birthday. That is without having the car windows rolled up and an absolute minimum of people in the vehicle.
It’s gotten so draconian that people have been given tickets for going to a sermon, in their cars in Greenville Mississippi. Back to Upstate New York, Broome County made the official announcement that residents were unofficially disallowed from going outside their homes unless it was the same even/odd day that matched their year of birth – called Operation Crush Covid.
In other parts of the country there are similar non-crimes being used to punish and intimidate the public. In Philadelphia a man was dragged off a bus for not wearing a face mask. He was not arrested or cited and the directive has since changed. The precedent remains.
Even in our homes the invasion of privacy, the terror of big brother, looms large. In Kentucky some have been forced to wear ankle bracelets and others placed in house arrest. Google has sent out surveys asking users to identify potential Covid-19 victims.
All of this for a disease that has 400% more confirmed recovered than dead. A virus that has a mortality rate 10x lower than tuberculosis. For a virus that could have already spread across the planet since October 2019 and “the spread is far worse than scientists previously estimated, it also implies that only one in a thousand people infected with COVID-19 requires hospitalization.“
Where does that leave us? Especially when we consider that Coronavirus won’t just go away. It will continue to exist, just as measles and mumps and Ebola and Swine Flu all still exist. In fact it is all but predictable that there will be another round of Covid-19 this fall – along with the normal flu, and every other infectious disease.
Will we shut down the world again? Will any of the Rights currently being dismissed due to fear of Covid-19 be given back? Will there be even more restrictions and extra-legal punishments handed down?
It is without question that EVERY death due to Coronavirus is sad. There are families and friends deeply effected each time. That’s just as true of drunk driving deaths, or those caused by cancer, AIDS, and everything else.
But we are seeing the death of society right now. Culture, entertainment, freedom and economics. In a line from another entertainment video on Youtube
“You aren’t in the right if you agreed to rules and then attempted to break them later for perceived injustices.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ3qNnNDDZU minute 17:06-14
We agreed, in America and most of the civilized world, to freedoms. To varying degrees the Right to speech, commerce, religion among other tenets. But in the age of Covid-19, we are allowing government to toss that all aside. Without a promise of when, or IF, those Rights will ever return.
The most deadly aspect of Coronavirus is not it’s mortality rate. It’s the death to the norms and foundation of laws that we previously lived by. The precedent has been set, and a low bar it is. If we are told to be afraid, and there is even a modest degree of danger, the gloves are off. Government is let loose of its leash, without even a whimsy towards consequences.
No one can clearly or fully predict the tumultuous repercussions to what has already been done in the name of Covid-19. There is at least 2 more weeks, and likely at least a full month, before even the thought of normal daily routines can begin. But if we do not try to rein in Government now, at every level and without regard to the affiliation of those in elected seats, we may not ever have another chance.
That prospect is chilling.