COVID-19. A septuagenarian friend spelled it “COVIG19” in a mass email message. Makes me think of “go fig,” as in “go figure.” That’s the phrase for the thing because none of us know exactly what we’re facing and what to expect in the days ahead.
One thing’s for sure about the coronavirus—it’s not nothing, and it’s not the end of the world.
It’s interesting how personal things get when a novel virus is doing its worst in one’s own country. At the time and to most Americans, SARS, Zika, and Ebola all seemed small fry because they afflicted other people in other countries far, far away.
I remember watching Women’s World Cup soccer in 2015, and hearing fans mock the American goalie, Hope Solo, for voicing her fear of the virus. Each time she touched the ball, the crowds in Brazil went, “AHHHHH … ZIKKAAAA.”
It was kinda funny. COVID-19 isn’t funny at all.
Pardon the pun, but the coronavirus is nothing to sneeze at. I jest because I must. I daresay we could all use a touch of humor right about now. It’s a welcome diversion when dealing with a shared darkness.
Make no mistake—these are dark days.
Consider this litany of fear-inducing conditions: A worse-than-Great-Depression economic shutdown, swelling unemployment, nationwide distancing and quarantines, doomsday pandemic models and predictions, sensationalized media coverage, the largest economic relief package in human history—it’s a zombie apocalypse without the zombies.
The experts are all over the place on this thing. Some say we’re in for a gazillion infected and millions dead. Others put both numbers much lower. Let’s face it—we don’t know what will happen.
An online product marketer and data smart guy watched his Medium article, “COVID-19–Evidence Over Hysteria,” go from tens of thousands of likes and comments to REMOVED for violating Medium standards … of something.
What? Who put the kibosh on his analysis? Was it the WHO? Not the rock band—the World Health Organization, which is affiliated with the United Nations. Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But watching the WHO’s director-general sing the praises of China’s coronavirus response makes one wonder.
Somehow, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus continues to praise the communist China regime as they claim that the virus they unleashed upon the world is contained in their country and has killed only 3,304 of their 1.4 billion people.
Worse, many in our media are propagating China’s COVID-19 numbers. No healthy skepticism from the press, just bovine trust. Of course, there’s no earthly way to verify China’s numbers, but the math simply doesn’t add up.
Let’s crunch some numbers. Why not? We’re in self-isolation and there’s only so much TV and Internet we can ingest in a day. Here we go:
As I write this, of 331 million Americans, 142,000 have tested positive for the coronarvirus and 2,484 have died. Conversely, of China’s 1.4 billion people, the regime claims 81,000 have been infected, and 3,304 have died.
China has four times our population and had a month or so head start on a deadly virus that originated in their country, yet somehow has 61,000 fewer cases and only 820 more deaths.
This means that per capita, China boasts an astounding (and absurdly unbelievable) .0017 percent infection rate and 4 percent death rate.
Keep in mind; we’re talking about a nation that has more than four times our population with the vast majority of its citizens living in dense population centers. China’s population density is 384 people per square mile while the U.S. is 91 people square per mile.
And because of China’s infamous one-child per family policy, their population is older than that of most other countries. More older people means more are at-risk for COVID-19.
What’s more, China’s male/female ratio is tilted strongly male because the regime prefers men over women. So does COVID-19, seemingly. The data shows that male COVID-19 patients fare much worse than female patients.
All of this means that China is likely experiencing much higher infection and death rates than they’re admitting. Some leaks indicate the death toll is in the tens of thousands.
Why would the regime lie? For the same reason the Soviets lied about the Chernobyl disaster—their COVID-19 nightmare threatens their influence in the world, which threatens their hold on power.
Why point out the deception of China’s communist regime? Because our media is reporting their lies as facts. We know why China’s lying; the bigger question is this: Why is the American media enabling them?
I’m trying very hard to give our media the benefit of the doubt. Do they truly believe China’s regime or are they afraid to voice skepticism for fear of being accused of xenophobia or harboring anti-communist insensitivity?
As a writer, I earned my journalism degree by learning to verify everything. If you can’t verify it, don’t write it. Or qualify it as an “unverified report.” Isn’t skepticism of the claims of a deceptive communist regime justified?
After all, distrust of government is a central pillar of the “Fourth Estate” in America. Why does communist China get a pass?
The answer is two-fold. American media members hyperventilate when faced with any conclusion that can be linked to supposed racism and/or xenophobia.
Take the “Wuhan Virus” brouhaha. Throughout history, epidemiologists and infectious disease experts have routinely named viruses based on their points of origin. No one disputes that the coronavirus originated with an outbreak in the Wuhan Province of China.
Yet in today’s woke West, referring to COVID-19 as the Wuhan Virus is verboten. Somehow, doing so connotes a message of inferiority or fear (racism or xenophobia) of an ethnicity or people group. This is nonsense.
So is referring to it as the “Chinese Flu.” COVID-19 does not have an ethnicity, and its point of origin, Wuhan, is a place, not a race.
The other part of the answer is much more cynical. I wrestled with it for days because I’m an optimist at heart and because I hold out hope that our shared Americanism will prevail over politics and partisanship. Here it is:
Leaders of a political party and many media members care more about hurting the president and his administration than they care about adhering to basic journalistic principles and ethics—and reducing fear and anxiety.
Bias & propaganda
They want to believe China and pretend to do so because China’s victory over COVID-19 makes the Trump’s administration’s “failure” in dealing with the pandemic look worse to American voters.
This is why some media members have accused Dr. Deborah Birx of kowtowing to Trump. They imply that because Birx chided them about sensationalizing DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) conversations in hospitals, she must be getting bullied by the president and is lying for him.
Dr. Birx is an accomplished medical professional and former Army doctor, She helped lead the effort to develop game-changing HIV treatments. Yet for daring to tamp down media-driven DNR hype, she’s a coward and liar.
It’s shameful. So is the COVID-19-Trump-failure narrative.
Now more than ever, wouldn’t it be refreshing and helpful to see fair and responsible reporting and bipartisan words and action against a common deadly enemy?
Instead, we see CBS News use video from a crowded hospital room full of COVID-19 patients in Italy in a segment titled, “AMERICA’S EPICENTER NEW YORK NOW ACCOUNTS FOR MORE THAN HALF OF NEW U.S. CASES.” Sloppy journalism or willful manipulation? You tell me.
Faith in the future
The good news is that the free world is rallying to conquer COVID-19. Nations are working together in ways not seen since World War II. Medical professionals are pushing hard to develop effective treatments and a vaccine. Families are growing closer. Sacrifices are being made.
We’re toughening up and developing character. Many are seeking strength and succor in God.
We’re in this fight together. We are the World is now much more than a song.
We desperately need solidarity in the midst of our fear of the future. I’m tempted to explore the validity of the pandemic models, but what’s the point? We will flatten the curve or it will flatten itself over time. Every viral epidemic and pandemic in history has petered out at some point.
In all likelihood, our COVID-19 pandemic will not be a doomsday apocalypse. And it likely won’t be a mere blip of economic privation and civil sacrifice either. I think it will land somewhere in between and closer to a lesser side of the continuum.
Reasons for hope
As Americans, we’ve always met challenges with resourcefulness, humor, optimism and hard work. I think we’ll rediscover our national identity as we learn the true value of close and cohesive families and communities and cooperation.
And I think we’ll come up with COVID-19 treatments and a vaccination in record time. Come Christmas, I think we’ll be looking back at these dark days with humility, sadness, gratitude and hope.
It’s my prayer that we’ll realize we were made for a better, brighter world.
As many prepare to celebrate Easter in self-isolation for the first time in our nation’s history, let’s reflect on the ultimate sacrifice Jesus—the Great Physician and Almighty God—made for us.
The coronavirus may look like a crown, but it’s not king.