I remember when this whole thing began. Back in early January, reports began to emerge from China about a new virus that had broken out among the population. Numbers of infected and deaths were low – but China locked down an entire city of 11 million people in response. Then they widened the lockdown. “This doesn’t look good,” I thought. It seemed like a disproportional response to what looked like a fairly minimal disease outbreak. “What do the Chinese know that they are not telling us?” I wondered.
Here in the U.S., the mainstream press was preoccupied with the Trump impeachment, and doing whatever they could, anything they could, to continue in their mission to oust Trump from office, a job they had been zealously pursuing since before he actually took office in January 2017. Their entire attention was focused inward. COVID-19 wasn’t even a blip on their radar. I had to rely on outside sources to track the progress of the disease. Articles out of Hong Kong, Taiwan, the UK and Australia. Videos out of China and other places.
I have three primary video sources I have been using since mid-January to follow what is going on medically. They are, in no particular order, MedCram (Dr. Seheult), Peak Prosperity (Dr. Martenson) , and Dr. John Campbell. These three have put out a LOT of videos; early on they were posting every day. They have slowed some, but as of this date, Dr. Seheult has published 73 videos (some of which have recently been removed by YouTube), and 112 by Dr. Martenson. Haven’t counted Dr. Campbell’s videos, but there are at least a hundred.
I watched as it moved from China to Japan, Hong Kong, and South Korea. I watched as it entered Europe and began wreaking havoc there. I watched as President Trump closed our borders to travelers from China – and was savaged for it by the Press. I watched the Democratic reactions – “Demonstrate you are not a racist like President Trump by celebrating the Chinese New Year in Chinatown!” Protecting against the virus was the last thing on their minds.
By this time we were starting to get coverage here in the U.S. The media had discovered COVID-19! We watched hospital systems becoming overwhelmed in Europe. We watched as Italy began making decisions on who would live and who would die. There weren’t enough ventilators for everyone, so if you were over a certain age – well, you had a long life; time to move on.
But still, it was “over there.” No need for us to panic here! Or prepare. That would be “over reacting;” tinfoil hat conspiracy stuff. We were even told by our so-called experts that there was no need for us to worry about masks. “Masks don’t work,” we were told, and “might even be dangerous.” This of course, was in direct contradiction to everything we had ever been told before, and in direct contradiction to everything everyone else in the world was doing, but hey, that’s what we pay the experts for, right?
Then we started getting cases in the U.S. and the panic began. I get it. It was a new virus. No one knew exactly what to expect. Computer models were predicting that over 2 million people would die here in the United States at a minimum.
The people who told us that we shouldn’t use masks were now telling us that we had to hunker down. We had to “flatten the curve” so that our medical systems wouldn’t be overwhelmed like the ones in Italy were. Oh yes. And now we should wear masks. Everywhere. All the time. In fact, not wearing a mask might land you in jail. Because masks and social distancing are the keys to flattening the curve.
Why did they tell us before that masks don’t work? There was a shortage of masks. They needed them for the first responders, who didn’t have enough because, oddly enough, there weren’t any stockpiled. They didn’t trust us enough to tell us the truth – we might panic and rush out and buy them all up anyway - so they lied to us instead. We weren’t smart enough to handle the truth so they figured we weren’t smart enough to realize how ridiculous their lie was. We were just supposed to believe it because they said so. Now that they have told us they lied, and the very good reason (in their minds) why they lied, are we not supposed to wonder what other lies they have told us and/or continue to tell us that they think we are too stupid to be able handle?
I would call it “fake news.” They would call it “managing our news” and is something elites and the press do on a regular basis to ensure that we, the sheep, continue to graze contentedly and not question what is going on around us.
Those few of us that had been paying attention all along (and as a consequence prepared early) could have told them a lot about the virus. We could have pointed them to various websites, studies, and articles from other countries, but no – they had to learn everything from scratch, on their own, as if history began at that very instant and all that came before was hearsay or “anecdotal.” Their learning curve has been steep, and, unfortunately, political.
Everything is political in the United States today, and news in the U.S. has to be viewed through that filter. You can’t take any news item in the mainstream press at face value. There is always a political angle. There is always slanted language, anti-Trump inferences, and terms designed to “nudge” the reader in the direction intended by the writer. The news isn’t so much the news as it is the way the news propagandist wants you to think.
Flatten the curve became the mantra. We have to hunker down. We have to ensure that our hospital system does not get overwhelmed like everyone else’s did.
The United States closed its economy for the first time in its history. Two weeks. Let’s self-quarantine for two weeks (except for “essential” services of course). Then in two weeks we’ll pop our head out, like Punxsutawney Phil, and see what is happening. The idea was to flatten the curve; buy some time. It wasn’t supposed to be a permanent thing.
So we began. California was the first to shutdown, on March 19. All the states and territories declared a state of emergency. Most, but not all of them issued “stay at home” orders. All but Pennsylvania outright banned gatherings of various sizes. Pennsylvania simply issued a recommendation not to gather. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands banned all gatherings. Indiana banned all outside gatherings and 11 or more inside a household. Some states enacted out-of-state travel restrictions.
All states and territories closed schools for two weeks. This later became the remainder of the term. Some have said they will not reopen in the fall. Most of them closed daycares. Some restricted daycares. A handful did not close daycares. All but three (American Samoa, N. Mariana Islands, and South Dakota) closed bars and sit-down restaurants (Nebraska issued restrictions but did not order closed). Most ordered all “non-essential” retail establishments to close. Definitions of what was deemed “non-essential” varied from state to state. A description of who did what can be found here. (NOTE: since this is a Wikipedia link, it is subject to change at any time.)
Two weeks passed. The lockdowns continued. Four weeks. Then April ended and it became May. The curve is trending down. Flattening has occurred and our healthcare systems never reached the point of overload. Some areas of the country, like New York and New Jersey were hard hit and remain problem areas. Many parts of the country saw minimal confirmed cases and deaths. Never-the-less, the lockdown continued.
The president presses for reopening the country and issues guidelines for reopening, still leaving it to the governors’ when to start. The news media calls him “irresponsible” and presses for the lockdown to continue.
Some governors say they will remain closed until a vaccine is developed. No matter that the experts don’t expect one until sometime in 2021 at the very earliest. Some cities maintain that they will continue with lockdown even if their governors decide to reopen. Los Angeles mayor publically declares that LA may never fully reopen until COVID-19 is cured.
When did “flatten the curve” morph into “find a cure?” Talk about mission creep!
Now we have double digit unemployment. Businesses are declaring bankruptcy and shutting down forever. Many are wondering how they will feed their families and pay their rent or mortgages. Others are making more not working than they did employed (thanks to Congress) and are wondering if they really want to go back to that job they didn’t like in the first place. Gas is cheap but there is nowhere to go.
I have noticed that many of the folks who are yelling the loudest about keeping the economy shut down until we get a vaccine or find a cure are folks who haven’t really been inconvenienced much by the pandemic or who have a political axe to grind. There is a difference between someone who is getting paid but can’t get a haircut because the barbers are closed and a barber who can’t feed his family or make his rent payment because he isn’t allowed to work.
Politicians. Those in the news media. People who are deemed “essential” and are therefore still receiving a pay check. These people do not face the same problems as those deemed “non-essential.”
What does that even mean anyway? True, you can live without getting your hair cut. Heck, you can cut it yourself or have your spouse or someone else cut it. But I guarantee that job is essential to the person doing it. It’s essential to their family. It’s how they put beans on the table.
I find it interesting that the same people who take umbrage at “hurtful” language like OCD, bipolar, retarded, etc (because they feel it is going to upset people who actually have these conditions), apparently have no problem at all dismissing someone’s life work as “non-essential.” How could it possibly be “hurtful” to someone to say to them that they and what they do just doesn’t matter?
You know, I could understand this if we were dealing with something like the Plague, or Ebola, or heck, the Zombie Apocolypse. But we are not. We know more about this virus now. And while it is unpleasant for some, and deadly for others, the mortality rate really is not that high, overall, particularly for those who don’t have the various comorbidities the virus tends to prey on. Many catch it and never even notice. Is it a risk? Yes. But it is not going away. Whether we like it or not, it is established in the human population, and now appears to be a zoonotic disease that can be shared between us and bats, cats, dogs, ferrets, minks, and pangolins. Who knows? There may be others as well.
Bottom line: it isn’t going anywhere, we don’t have a vaccine yet, we don’t have a “cure,” but we may have some clinical treatments and prophylaxis to mitigate the infection. This virus is not going to end human life on the planet. Mommy and the government can't make this owie go away. We need to learn to live with this virus the same way we still live with the 1918 Spanish flu every year. We have a vaccine for Flu, we don’t have a cure, and millions get it every year. Many are miserable for a week or so. Some die, and life goes on.
There are no guarantees in life. Last I checked in the Constitution, we don’t have a “right” to an infection free existence. Unless, of course, someone found one in the “penumbras and emanations” while I wasn’t looking. And even if they think they did, I find no evidence that this is a “right” accorded by nature and nature’s God, as are the others described in that document and in the Declaration, our founding documents.
We need to stop the mission creep. We need to get on with our lives. It’s what we do as Americans, and as human beings.