Opinion: It’s Time to Stop Fear-Mongering About COVID-19

The novel strain of coronavirus known as Covid-19 has taken over the globe. It is killing millions of people in possibly the worst pandemic humanity has ever seen. Unless the people of the world sacrifice their rights and liberty to their all-powerful governments, then humanity is certainly going to be wiped out.

 

 Of course this is all untrue, but it is what legacy media outlets like CNN, Fox News, and many others want you to believe so they can get more ad revenue and stay afloat in an age where their reign is coming to an end. It is what politicians who are inexplicably much wealthier than their congressional salary would want you to believe so they can get more money from lobbyists and interest groups, as seen with the stimulus bill and its questionable funding to the National Endowment for the Arts or its reduction on regulations on sunscreen. It is what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other socialist, big government-loving politicians want you to believe so they can push their radical agenda of completely dismantling the current political and economic system of the United States. It is what President Trump’s detractors want you to believe so the economy will crash, and they can gain power once he is voted out of office due to the bad economy they are helping to promote, all at the expense of the downtrodden Americans they claim to represent. These people are not allies of the average American citizen; they are allies of massive corporations, big government and special interest groups, and they are the ones who want America to live in Orwellian fear of this virus and stay locked down for as long as possible. But this is not the optimal solution; things must open back up in phases in order to ensure unnecessary deaths do not occur. Restrictions should be lifted on all but the most vulnerable, with face masks and social distancing to remain in place for those who wish to protect themselves from the virus.

 

It should be noted that the virus is real; it is not a conspiracy theory like some people believe. However, its threat to humanity has been entirely miscalculated. COVID-19 is far from the worst pandemic in human history. In fact, it isn’t even close, paling in comparison to the Black Death, the Justinian Plague, the Spanish Flu, the New World smallpox outbreak, the Antonine Plague, all of which and many others had death tolls in the millions. COVID-19 is comparable to far smaller outbreaks, like the Great Plague of London, which only affected one city, or the recent swine flu outbreak, which most people alive today will still remember. All human lives are sacred and have inherent value, and anyone who has lost a loved one due to COVID-19 holds my dearest sympathies, but the reality of the situation is that most people haven’t lost a loved one to the virus, nor do they even know someone who has. We may know people who have the virus, but the odds are incredibly high that they will recover. At the time of writing, 216,000 people have died of the coronavirus, and, all things considered, that is a small number. The vast majority of people who die from the coronavirus are elderly, making up more than 80% of the deaths, and this is incredibly tragic as no one’s life is worth less than anyone else’s. Of course, young people are not immune to the virus’ effects either; however, it has been shown that the elderly and immuno-compromised are the most likely to die from the virus. Since these two groups are the most likely to be victimized by the virus, it does not make sense to treat everyone as if they were at the same level of danger as these two groups, and they should be the ones the quarantine rules should realistically apply to, for their safety. In reported tallies of people who have been tested, and those are two very important qualifiers, about 3.1 million people have been infected. If 3.1 million people are infected, and only 216,000 have died, that means the chances of dying are quite low. This statistic also assumes two things: first, that countries like China are being honest about their case totals, which they are most likely not. Second, it assumes that every single person who has coronavirus has been tested for it and that these numbers have reached their respective government agencies, which is absolutely untrue for one reason: asymptomatic cases.

 

Asymptomatic cases of coronavirus are when someone carries the virus but does not show any symptoms, leaving them seemingly perfectly healthy and unknowingly carrying the virus inside of them. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and now household name, Dr. Anthony Fauci, estimates that between 25-50% of all coronavirus cases could be asymptomatic, a number corroborated by a lab in Iceland. This could mean that there are potentially as many as double the worldwide cases, if not more, all while the number of deaths remains the same, if not lower. By employing simple math, this dramatically lowers the already low death rate. The death total is found by placing the number of deaths in the numerator of a fraction, and the number of cases in the denominator. The more cases there are, the larger the denominator is, and therefore the smaller the total death rate, but the good news continues. Recent antibody tests in New York suggest that as many as 2.7 million New Yorkers may already have the coronavirus, 10 times the reported tally. This would make the death rate in New York even lower than previously thought, at around 0.5%. This pairs well with another study in Los Angeles, where antibody testing showed that the virus has only a 0.1-0.2% death rate. With more and more data being accrued, it seems as though this virus is not the world-ending catastrophe like the dying lamestream media and power-hungry politicians want the people to believe. 

 

The response to the coronavirus has been completely over-the-top and quite terrifying at some points, as it has highlighted the authoritarian tendencies in politicians and the willingness of the terrified masses to give up their liberty over a virus with such a miniscule death rate. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, a 62 year old man who argues on live TV with his brother over who is their mother’s favorite son, insisted that his state receive, “30,000 ventilators, maybe 40,000” to face the upcoming crisis. However, New York did not end up needing that many at all and has even sent hundreds of them to other states, showing his gross overestimation. Besides his miscalculations, the governor also displayed his authoritarian side by increasing his budgetary powers, as well as by cancelling six special elections. This isn’t the only over-the-top reaction to come out of New York, as New York City Mayor and noted quarantine breaker Bill de Blasio set up a hotline for New Yorkers to snitch on their neighbors for operating business or being out against stay-at-home orders. De Blasio showed his authoritarian sympathies with this stunt as he was calling on citizens to rat out their neighbors to the government as if they were reporting to Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984. However, he was met with poetic justice as his hotline was flooded with phallic pictures and memes equating the mayor to Hitler. But New York is unfortunately not the only state to fall into authoritarianism, with other prominent examples being Michigan, Virginia, California, Pennsylvania and many others. In California, people running by themselves on the beach are chased down by the police for “endangering others.” In Philadelphia, people are being forcibly pulled off of buses at random, and in Virginia, notable blackface connoisseur and governor Ralph Northam has shut down all forms of public worship and has used the pandemic to further his assault on constitutional rights. But one of the most blatant violations of liberties and overreaches of power comes from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has made headlines with her stringent and arbitrary restrictions on citizens rights, so much so that it has led thousands of Michiganders to go out and protest her government. Whitmer herself has taken full reign over the coronavirus response and has micromanged the whole situation, even going so far as to declare what items grocery stores can and cannot sell and what is or is not an essential item. She has banned the sale of fruit and vegetable seeds, which seems incredibly counter-intuitive if the idea is to keep people at home, as they could be planting their own gardens. She has also banned travel between residences, meaning people cannot travel to their own home if they own more than one. This does not apply to out-of-staters, obviously, so someone from Wisconsin could drive to their house in the Upper Peninsula, and this also applies vice-versa as a Michigander could go to a house they own in Ohio, for example. All of these authoritarian, overreaching, and anti-liberty actions are detrimental to the nation, and they show the terrifying reality that the average American is seemingly content to give up their constitutional rights over such a miniscule threat. Some may say that, if people support giving up their rights, then what is the problem? First, just because something is popular at the time certainly does not make it right, as one need only look less than a century into this country’s past to find widespread support for segregation, another unconstitutional assault on citizen’s rights which was certainly not acceptable. Second, history has shown time and time again how living under authoritarian regimes is detrimental to the people who are unfortunate enough to suffer through it. At the end of the day, the loss of liberty will not be the only massive problem to come from this.

 

Unemployment is at heights not seen since the Great Depression, with over 22 million Americans filing for unemployment since the outbreak began. Things get worse, however, as the International Monetary Fund predicts that a global depression will most likely take hold if the global quarantine is not lifted soon, and this will cause millions to lose their livelihoods and put untold millions into poverty, at a level similar to the 1930’s. If the economy goes downhill in the United States, this will do much more than destroy the world economy; it will greatly damage the world’s chief food supplier. If the United States falls into depression and needs to keep its food for its own domestic citizens and focus on internal issues, then the 3 billion people in the world, mostly in poorer third world countries who rely on the United States for aid, will be without food. The UN predicts that if things keep going the way they are, then 265 million people will starve to death by the end of the year. The world economy must open back up, and it needs to do so fast. What makes the lives of those who rely on food aid to survive worth any less than those anywhere else? Do they deserve to die so we can continue our fear-mongering? What about the countless Americans who will end up homeless, hungry, and unemployed? Do their lives not matter? This irrational fear must be eradicated, and we must open up, for the sake of not only Americans, but also the entire world.

 

Some people still have the privilege of being able to work from home or at their original job site, and it is easy for them to say that riding out the virus in quarantine is the optimal solution, but the fact of the matter is that these people do not represent all Americans. They need to realize how lucky they truly are. I want to end this with a personal anecdote and talk about a family friend. She is a single mom, and, with this coronavirus pandemic, she is now out of work. She cannot file for unemployment as she is trying to refinance her house, and her ex-husband is not helping her or her children. She has sacrificed for her children, working multiple jobs and giving them the best lives she possibly can and now may be forced out onto the streets because of this pandemic. So, in order to satisfy power-hungry politicians, an aging media and fear-mongers, people like her must suffer? No. It is time to end this coronavirus fear-mongering and allow life to continue, by easing back into normality. The elderly should stay in quarantine, for their safety, in a system similar to Sweden’s, a country which has remained in the middle of the pack in terms of deaths, without any draconian measures being taken. Face masks and social distancing can obviously stick around for a while, but they should not be state mandated, and the tyrannical overreach of government must be pushed back, lest millions suffer and die.   

 

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