So the world’s population is roughly 8,000,000,000 people. Let’s just say that 500,000 people have the Corona Virus (COVID-19). (Keep in mind that I have not seen any statistics that would even suggest that 25% of that many people have the virus.) That means that .000625 percent of the world’s population have the virus–an infinitesimally small fraction of 1%.
Yet the media and politicians are carrying on about the virus as if people were dropping dead all around us in the streets. It’s the apocalypse. It’s the end of the world. It’s mass hysteria. You could be next any second now.
Enough people have stopped going places (to avoid exposure to someone with the virus), enough children have had their schools close, and enough airline flights have been canceled that the world’s demand for oil has precipitously fallen off of a cliff.
Now, I don’t want to minimize the possibility of a pandemic. A significant percentage of the world has been wiped out by plague in the past and probably will be again. But this is a flu virus. And I don’t want to minimize the need to do common sense things to prevent the spread of any disease. Wash you hands for 20 seconds at a time. Do it often.
Exposure to the virus doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to develop this flu. And if you get the infectious disease, the odds are it will not kill you. And presently the odds of any one of us being exposed to the virus are really small. It’s ludicrously small. But people act as if exposure is all but inevitable. Why?
Yes, that’s the question for me: why are we responding the way we are?
The odds of us being killed in a car accident are vastly, vastly, vastly higher than the odds of our being exposed to the virus, getting the disease, and dying from it. Yet millions of us get in our cars without a second’s hesitation and drive like god damned reckless maniacs: tailgating at tremendous speeds, jumping in and out of lanes of fast moving cars, texting as we drive, etc.
Because we hear the endlessly repetitive drumbeat of media selling us nonstop fear to keep us hooked on their product, we believe it more likely than it is?
Maybe other forces are at work here as well? Are politicians using this scare to distract and accomplish their own nefarious goals? Is the medical profession propping up the scare to secure more funding1 ? I’m sure the possibilities here are endless, as endless as the constant harping on the least likeliest thing happening: you getting this flu virus!
Congress just funded over $8 billion for virus response. Who gets all of that money? Was that a clever and well executed coupe?
And I would be remiss if I didn’t bring this point up. You are far more likely to be killed by gun violence in the United States than you are to be killed by this virus. Where is the repetitive, infinite drumbeat about that fact?! Why aren’t people demanding changes to gun laws the way they are freaking out about the spears of the virus?
We need to all stop being mindless simpletons easily terrified by the machinations of wealthy powerful people. We need to stop and think. We need to use common sense.
We absolutely need to respond, but our response needs to be proportionate with the actual level of risk presented. Stop freaking out!
Enough of the nonstop news about something that affects so few people. What about some news about the more powerful problems that are immediately and directly impacting the lives of tens of millions of people in this country?! Why aren’t we hearing about all of that?
Trump significantly cut the CDC’s funding earlier. ↩