Douglas Andrews / Jun. 26, 2020

COVID-19: Stay Very Afraid

Despite some reasonably good news, the mainstream media is still driving panic.

If you scan the news headlines these days, it’s likely to dampen your spirits — especially if you’re interested in coronavirus. And that’s the plan. Your mainstream-media tribunes want you to be afraid, to be very afraid, of COVID-19.

“As virus surges,” The New York Times announced, “younger people account for ‘disturbing’ number of cases.” From The Washington Post: “Texas, Florida pause reopening plans; new coronavirus cases hit single-day record in U.S.” And clearly taking its cue from the Post, an NBC News headline blares, “U.S. hits highest single day of new coronavirus cases with more than 45,500, breaking April record.”

In each of these articles, and in virtually all others like them, you’ll see certain adjectives again and again: These are “grim” milestones, after all, and “disturbing” trends.

Even the good news — such as the Post’s report that coronavirus cases in the U.S. may actually be 10 times higher than reported — is treated as somehow ominous and foreboding. But think about it: If the number of people who’ve been infected is an order of magnitude higher than we’ve been led to believe, then the mortality rate is necessarily an order of magnitude lower than we’ve been led to believe. And that’s unequivocally good news. Put another way, would you rather be battling a bug with a 2% mortality rate or one with a 0.2% mortality rate?

There’s more good news out there, but we have to look for it. As The Washington Times reports, “The coronavirus surge across the South and West is concentrated in younger adults, meaning fewer people are dying compared to March and April.”

Of course, our deeply partisan media doesn’t tend to traffic in gloom and doom just for the fun of it. They do it for a reason: They desperately want to remove President Donald Trump from office. And whether the bad news is about widespread civil unrest, or a breakdown of law and order, or a virus that we can’t seem to control, if the propagandists can convince us that our lives are miserable and our future bleak, then they’re that much closer to making November’s election a vote for change rather than continuity.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board won’t come out and say this, but at least it recognizes that we as a nation need to cope with COVID-19 rather than run screaming from it. “Fears of a resurgence of the novel coronavirus are dominating the news and spooking financial markets,” the editors write. “The flare-ups bear watching, and preparing for, but the original lockdowns were never going to eradicate the virus short of unacceptable economic pain. The unhappy but inevitable truth is that Americans will have to learn to cope with the virus, which means trial and error and more individual responsibility.”

The Journal goes on to cite statistics from some of the nation’s hardest-hit areas: “Hospitalizations in Texas have doubled in two weeks and increased more than four-fold in San Antonio and the lower Rio Grande Valley. … Hospitalizations have also doubled in Arizona in two weeks amid flare-ups in rural counties along the Mexican border. Miami-Dade County in Florida has reported a 50% increase in hospital admissions over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations are up a quarter in California over the last week.”

But then we’re treated to some context, some perspective, and a rational way forward: “Public-health officials worry about an exponential rise in cases — that’s their job. But political leaders have to consider overall public and economic health, and locking down again doesn’t seem justified by the evidence. … It will be a long haul, but America has managed through worse.”

And indeed we have. We’ve been through a civil war, a world war, a far more deadly pandemic, a Great Depression, polio, and then another world war.

Despite what the mainstream media would have us believe, powering our way through COVID-19 shouldn’t be all that daunting — especially if we remind ourselves to tune out the nonstop negativity.

(Visit our comprehensive CV19 Pandemic response and recovery page to review our timeline of government and political actions related to the pandemic, and see our related pages.

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