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March 13, 2020

Is the COVID-19 Cure Killing Us?

Is the cure right-sized for the disease?

Not to diminish the fear people feel – that is real, but given that the current viral fear pandemic besieging our nation is a medical issue, let me draw a rough healthcare analogy.

If a man goes to his doctor and says that he is having chest pain, he should get ready for a battery of tests, especially if he is well insured. One reason for all those tests is that the physician wants to help determine the cause and will call in other specialists who will keep ordering tests until the cause can be identified and the risk quantified. If it turns out to be a heart condition, a proper course of treatment can be determined. But if the physician assumes it is heartburn with no further assessment, sends the patient out the door with a roll of antacids, and that patient dies of congestive heart failure in the parking lot, there is an enormous liability, not to mention the fact the patient is dead.

In the case of COVID-19, the mainstream media is playing doctor, and worrying the patient to death, the medical/bureaucratic/political team is in the role of the doctor (also aware they must cover their rear end), and Americans are the patient being subjected to all the tests.

Here in Tennessee, there is another analogy.

If weather reporters predict a big snow (“big” is relative), knee-jerk school administrators close schools. This creates a significant local disruption and financial burden on working parents and the businesses that employ them. This is particularly true in the case of lower-income single parents. The administrators force these closures because of liability — if a bus driver or parent has an accident on a slippery road trying to get kids to school, they can be held legally liable. In the meantime, the snow panic results in a consumer run on basic necessities, and the accidents mount up because people are still out and about.

In the nationwide viral fear pandemic currently sweeping our country, the “weather predictors” represent the mainstream media, the “administrators” represent the medical/bureaucratic/political team, and the “working parents” represent anyone with a job, particularly actual working parents supporting their families. On those occasions when the weather prognosticators were right, the administrators can claim they made wise decisions that protected many people. However, more than a few times, the snow never fell (insert eye rolls here).

Now, as we have written repeatedly, this will be a bad flu season — it is not just heartburn and the snow is going to fall. In the U.S., there have already been 26,000 flu deaths this season, and CV19 casualties could far exceed the 2017-18 flu season, when the CDC estimated the U.S. flu death toll was 80,000.

As CV19 viral infections and deaths accumulate — and they will continue to do so — politicians have attempted to indemnify themselves from voter liability, regardless of the burden they have created across the nation for working men and women and their families. And in two months, when the threat has subsided and the fear dissipated, the politicos and their Beltway media echo chambers will be preening their feathers, reminding you that if you survived China virus, you owe them an eternal debt of gratitude for saving your life, regardless of the price you and the rest of the nation paid for the cure.

The school shutdowns, which have enormous impact on families, are based in part on the lowest common denominator factor – the parent who is going to send their child to school sick because it was not convenient to keep him or her home. And when Americans begin to figure out the economic consequences of the state and local actions which have shuttered schools, events and businesses, there will be political HELL to pay. Thus, in April, the Left will begin to crank up its finger-pointing machines, especially using “coronavirus policy leaks” as fodder for blaming Trump.

But the most pressing question now: Is the cure right-sized for the disease? Hindsight is (mostly) 20/20. We may look back in six months at the devastation of hundreds of thousands of deaths. We don’t know.

But we also don’t know if, in effect, killing the jobs of tens of millions of working Americans will, in the end, prevent this disease from ultimately taking the toll it was going to take regardless of basic mitigation efforts.

The fact is that all the extraordinary measure taken to shut down the nation under the auspices of “social distancingwill help mitigate the rate of spread, it will not contain the virus. Indeed, the mandates to quarantine the healthiest among us rather than the most vulnerable, will also substantially slow the development of natural immunities in order to progress toward herd immunity, which, as our medical advisors note, will greatly prolong the viral impact. However, the quarantines and distancing will help take the immediate load off of hospitals and buy additional time to develop treatment regimens — but at what price?

The key question about “hunkering down” is, for how long? Are we going to flatten the infectious-spread curve so long that we flatline the economy? A critical part of our response to CV19 is the lack of an exit strategy from the current economic contraction.

This viral contagion is already nationwide, and it will continue to creep and hopefully slow with the weather gets warmer. It has mutated into two strains, and one may be much more aggressive. The “S-type” appears to be milder and less infectious, but the “L-type” is more contagious and accounts for 70 percent of cases. Unfortunately, though human vaccine trials will begin in early April, if successful the vaccine will still take 8-12 months before it is available.

What we do know for certain is that the MSM has demonstrated to the world that they can generate mass hysteria. On their collective negligence, health commentator Dr. Drew Pinsky, summed it up: “I don’t claim to know what’s motivating the media, but their reporting is absolutely reprehensible. They should be ashamed of themselves. They are creating a panic that is far worse than the viral outbreak. The bottom line… Stop listening to journalists! They don’t know what they are talking about!”

Are we going to shut the nation down next fall when somebody sneezes in China?

All the coming political self-congratulations, spin and finger-pointing aside, the response to coronavirus is certainly a case study of the most grossly negligent media-driven panic in decades, and it’s indicative of the degree to which the MSM can drive fear and panic. The resulting CV19 viral fear pandemic is the biggest load of crap ever dumped on American workers. They and their families are absorbing the financial shock of this monumental malfeasance, and the nonstop 24/7 news cycle is responsible. Every media talkinghead fomenting the fear and those politicians who are using it as political fodder should be exiled to Wuhan. Panic is not a strategy — unless you are a Democrat wanting to defeat Trump.

As one of our editors noted this morning, “We founded a nation out of wilderness, settled the great untamed West, survived a Civil War and two World Wars, and a Great Depression between them. But today we seem like a nation of chicken littles.”

As President Donald Trump prepares his National Emergence declaration today, it is worth reconsidering what he reminded us Wednesday: “No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States. We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world. We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family. As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity.”

And we will again. Fear not.

I know this for certain. Our nation survived The Great Depression, and we will survive The Great Distancing. But will history prove that our actions to mitigate and recover from The Great Distancing turn out to be as ineffective as our efforts to mitigate and recover from The Great Depression?

Footnote: In the worst of circumstances, production and distribution can cause supply-line interruptions of essential goods and impeded restocking. It can also result in the interruption of essential services, especially medical services. If factory workers who produce goods, truckers who deliver products, or inventory managers in retail facilities who stock them are afraid to come to work, the supply line can be disrupted. If medical and other safety providers are overloaded because of material shortages or personnel availability, that can lead to service interruptions. The combination of supply line and service interruptions can result in panic and chaos, which can lead to civil unrest. Note that Civil unrest in urban centers can occur rapidly.

(Visit our comprehensive China Virus Pandemic response and recovery page, and see our related pages.

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