First of all, thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have been affected directly or indirectly by this coronavirus epidemic, especially the victims themselves, as well as their caregivers and the medical personnel dealing with it all.
Yes, for each victim and their families, this is horrible and life-changing. Even for those who contract the disease and recover, the pain and suffering can seem like death itself. A bad cold or the flu can be a reminder of that.
I am not a health professional nor a scientist, but I still do not believe it is as bad as all the “news” hype would have you/us believe. Note that I am not minimizing the disease or its effects, but I am questioning the amplification of the fear and panic that is being generated by the "news" reports and anecdotes of social media. The intelligent and informed medical professionals who share their perspectives are generally to be trusted. Even they do not have all the answers, but I believe they are doing what they can to serve their fellow man.
An excellent recent interview with Dr. Fauci on March 26, 2020 is really worth watching and hearing. It can be seen here.
One thing that I would like to encourage is perspective. Try to rise above hype and fear, and keep your eyes on the bigger picture. Along with that, be safe and practice proper cleanliness and health routines.
What We Are Facing
Here are some of the links I have used in observing this whole crisis surrounding the Coronavirus Disease – “COVID-19.” (I "hope" they are honest and accurate, but I wouldn't guarantee it.)
I keep looking at a number of aspects and details about this national/international outbreak. How many actual cases of COVID-19 are there? In the world? In the U.S.? How many related deaths have there been – tested and confirmed? These numbers are being updated all the time. How do they know if some of the earlier cases were actually COVID-19 or not, since tests were limited or unavailable? Or were they the regular flu or pneumonia, either of which can be quite deadly?
One main issue of this crisis is the panic and hysteria about how deadly this virus is, and how quickly it spreads. This seems to be a new twist in the ongoing history of humans and disease. Indeed, much of the panic is caused by the constant discussion about every aspect of this disease and the reaction to it, especially by "news" people who have an inordinate need to fill time, hear themselves talk, and somehow earn their extravagant salaries. There are far more people sick of hearing about this disease than from the disease itself!
I believe we will see over time how true much of all this discussion is. Even after months or years, we still will not know all the details and intricacies of this virus and its corresponding disease symptoms. One thing I would hope for, and that would be hope. The world has gone through problems like this before, and we will again. And mankind lives on...
If we can ever know for sure how many people actually had this disease and recovered from it without being tested and confirmed, there would possibly be seen a much lower fatality rate than it appears from the outset until now. It is indeed horrible how many people have died so quickly, especially in certain areas like China, Italy, Iran, and now in the U.S. But if some people who are infected with COVID-19 don’t have very bad symptoms, then they wouldn’t even have been tested. They would get over it, build their own antibodies, and go on with their lives.
In the last ten years (2011-12) there have been far more deaths in the U.S. from the flu than there have been WORLDWIDE so far from the COVID-19. So far – as of 3/30/20 – over 34,000 deaths in the world; deaths in the U.S. – over 2,500 to this date. Yes, these numbers of cases and deaths will increase. We will indeed see to what extent.
I have some questions. Are these all tested and confirmed cases? Who is dying? What are any common factors, if any, for those contracting and dying from this? (Older folks, especially with compromised immunities, weaker systems, or diseases that make them more susceptible.) What is the relationship to influenza (the flu), and other diseases and causes of death?
Just what are the significant factors that make this worldwide event more of a “crisis” than others we have faced, even in recent years?
The response of our country, and the world.
Repeating - for emphasis - what happens every single year with the flu seems to be at least as big a problem as this coronavirus, at least so far. The number of cases, hospitalizations, deaths - all of it.
Since the hospitalizations in the U.S. in 2017-2018 from only the flu were estimated at 810,000, then why are the 133,000 total cases so far now a real problem?
Yes, I know, it has much to do with the overwhelming numbers all at the same time. And yes, this is new. Yes, this is affecting certain areas worse than others, and certain groups of people. Yes, this has spread around the world quite quickly. But is it really worse, or just "new" and different?
Considering all that I am seeing, I (and others far more influential than me) question if our financial and social response to this “crisis” is really totally warranted, especially to this magnitude? Two trillion dollars in extra spending, and borrowing, by the U.S. to fight this “war” with this disease. Where does that go? Will it really help or change anything? What will the long-term consequences and damage be to our economy, our nation, our legal system, our health systems - from all of this?
The Goal - To Save Lives and To Prevent Further Spread of Death
One thing that I am watching closely is the maneuvering of politicians, economists, scientists, business people, and others. Everyone sees this from their own perspective, and with their own agendas. There are those who truly show care and compassion for their fellow man, and then there are those who wish to further their own group, garner more support and attention for themselves, or just scheme to be on the “winning side.”
I hear politicians and medical professionals talking as if they were God Himself, that they somehow can “prevent this from happening again.” Listen carefully to the words and phrases our “leaders” use. Their words are often charged and loaded with extra meaning and can reveal motives and intentions that are sometimes far from the best. The stated goal of politicians can often be heard to be “keep this from happening to even one more person.” Along with promises that are impossible to keep, there is much blame expressed toward political or business enemies. It would always be great to hear leaders talking of working together to come up with solutions that benefit everyone.
Listen carefully to the language that is used during this time - by the news, by politicians, by medical experts. One such word I have heard used frequently is "unprecedented." A quote from the movie Princess Bride, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." None of us were there in 1918 when the Spanish flu infected 500 million people worldwide, a quarter of the world's population at the time, killing possibly 100 million people, and killing as many as 500-600,000 in the U.S. Look it up here.
Much of the alarm is related to the newness of this disease. It is an unknown. But the alarm being generated seems also to be closely related to the “news” media, and as we should know, fear and panic draws attention and “sells papers.” It is sensational. And it provokes fear and unrest. We have been through trials before.
Life Goes On...
My goal in sharing perspective and comparative numbers is not to instill fear, but hope.
In your life right now, gain some perspective and keep your hand off the panic button. Learn what you can, take advantage of some time off to do things you have put off "till you had some more time." Make the most of this situation. And grow your relationships. Help a neighbor, call an old friend, keep your eyes open for making some changes in your life for the better. Let this disruption be a positive however you can. And keep your hope alive!
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
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