Are people listening to medical doctors anymore when it comes to COVID-19? I say that because it seems like the physicians I’ve listened to in many non-political interviews have a fairly optimistic outlook on moving beyond staying shut down.
One of those physicians is Dr. Michael Cunningham on the Oxford Exxon Podcast. Dr. Cunningham is realistic about the dangers of COVID-19 but brings forth data such as those under 25 have about a 1 and a million chance of dying from the virus. If one is under 30, they are more likely to die of influenza. The death rate ticks up with age but not dramatically for those with no high-risk pre-existing conditions. Dr. Cunningham further points out a second wave is unlikely for a number of reasons.
Obviously, that doesn’t mean that it’s not serious for older and high-risk populations, but the data is now pointing to around a 0.4 percent mortality rate overall. The seriousness has hit home for me because I’ve known at least two people who were on ventilators for an extended period of time but thankfully survived that ordeal. Of course, there are those who have much closer connections to the impact of the virus and it pains me to see any families suffer.
Yet, one glaring frustration is the hysteria still prevalent with some of the media or just an inability to contextualize the data for consumers of news. All of us have probably read or seen reports that sound the alarm on confirmed cases going up without pointing out that testing has dramatically increased or that percent positive and hospitalizations are down. On top of that, we see from some media outlets an inability to discuss the tradeoffs, like having large portions of the economy still shutdown. Some outlets offer little to no discussion about small businesses being pulverized or decimated altogether.
Ultimately, I think the big takeaway is to be wary of putting your trust in politicians of either party when it comes to a public health crisis. Everything is so politicized now.
Unfortunately, far too many elected officials see their main task as coalescing their power and getting reelected, not advancing the common good. A May 27 Wall Street Journal piece titled “When Covid ‘Science’ Is a Smokescreen” draws out some important points about Washington Gov. Jay Inslee that have national implications:
When the governor and other politicians refer to “the science,” they rarely point to actual science. It is a bluff designed to imply that their chosen policy is based on more than guesswork and politics.
I recently wrote a piece in the Greenville Daily Reflector that pointed to part of the reason we may be seeing prolonged shutdowns in some states still is that governors want bailouts because of mismanaged budgets and state government pension funds unrelated to the virus. Here is a clip of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in April essentially begging President Donald Trump for a federal bailout of New York City. The mayor basically says it’s the federal government’s responsibility to give more money so the city and state can reopen.
We shouldn’t like how politicized things have become in North Carolina and across the nation. It means more government control and a meager existence for the citizenry. Lockdowns and temporary halting of activity were initially needed while data was collected and experts learned more about the virus. We know a lot more now than we did six weeks ago and at this point, it makes more sense for North Carolina to move to guidelines and away from the kind of legal restrictions that are unfairly destroying too many small businesses.