Coronavirus fears have produced stupid policies

From an evolutionary standpoint, I suspect that emotions such as fear proved to be highly advantageous.

After all, our ancestors all reacted appropriately to dangerous situations because none of us would be here if they hadn’t.

So I’m willing to accept that fear which breeds caution which, in turn, causes us to think of scenarios which ought to be avoided is generally a good thing.

Still, a constant diet of fear is not good for the body human nor the body politic.

If you are constantly fearful, you are going to also make mistakes. Fear can exaggerate the dangers of this, that or the other thing happening. Or it can paralyze you – the deer in the headlights phenomenon. Confronted by a danger, it is best to act quickly and decisively.

That said, fear can also prevent clear-headed thinking. That is the real threat to the body politic.

Elected and public officials, after all, are expected to formulate public policies that produce the greatest good for the greatest number.

All of which brings me to how most Western nations have handled the coronavirus pandemic bedeviling the world.

The vast majority of public health officials and their elected bosses were slow to react upon learning that the SARS-Cov-2 virus was circulating in Wuhan, China. Instead of doing the right thing – quarantining China – and thus limiting opportunities for the virus to spread, they opted to preach to us about racism.

It did not help that the World Health Organization was/is in the back pocket of the Chinese. Had the WHO sounded the alarm bell early enough, had it called for cessation of travel to and from China earlier, the spread of the virus would have been limited and the early outbreaks would likely have been contained.

Now, our political and public health leaders, having failed in their duty to take their jobs seriously, are going to opposite extreme. They are now, clearly, seeking to eradicate the virus at all cost.

The flatten-the-curve mantra used by public health officials to justify the lock down of our societies was merely the opening gambit in the chess game with the public to gain acceptance for draconian measures that put extreme restrictions on our freedoms and ability to earn a living.

As a consequence, our economies have been decimated. Millions are unemployed and hundreds of thousands of businesses have been bankrupted.

More, it will likely takes us the better part of the decade to recover from the economic fallout of these measures.

What makes their approach so maddening is the fact that the people who would have died from the illness – the elderly and the infirm – still died.

There’s no getting around that fact. More than 90 per cent of the deaths have been the elderly.

  • 0.011% of the US population under 65 have died of COVID
  • 0.005% of the US population under 55 have died of COVID
  • 0.0009% of the US population under 35 have died of COVID
  • 0.0002% of the US population under 25 have died of COVID
  • 0.00008% of the US population under 15 have died of COVID

In other words, Covid is actually better than the common flu which kills far more children.

That the elderly have borne the brunt of deaths is sad, but it is hardly tragic. The vast majority who have died were in their 80s and would have likely died of something else.

I know that sounds harsh and cruel, but the fact is this is the truth. The loss of a child with his entire life ahead of him is of greater consequence to society than the loss of someone who is at the end of their lives.

In the months and years to come, the statisticians will be hammering out their analyses of the impact of the measures that were taken. I will be exceedingly surprised if they find that the measures saved more lives than they lost.

The irony, of course, is that one country – Sweden – chose not to follow the mantra and managed to flatten the curve without destroying its economy.

More ironic is the fact that the course of the disease in Sweden followed exactly the same curve as that seen in other countries and states.

In other words, Sweden ended up in exactly the same place as everyone else did.

Yes, the elderly died in Sweden, but the elderly died in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and those countries said their goal was to prevent elderly deaths.

So here we are now at the tail end of the pandemic and health officials are acting as if they can eliminate the virus altogether. The new emphasis is on the number of cases, with the press dutifully reporting every new “outbreak” as if it were the end of the world.

You will notice that there is no mention of deaths. There’s a reason.

If the public were to understand that the number of deaths have declined to statistically irrelevant numbers, there would be no support for the continued draconian measures.

That is what fear does. Without fear, people would be asking themselves how is it that we are making masks mandatory today when deaths are virtually non-existent, when the chances of contracting the disease are now approaching one in a million and odds of dying from it for the average person are one in a billion.

There needs to be a reckoning. We need to hold our officials accountable. We need to hold China accountable.

Above all, though, we need to shake off our fears. This is not the end of the world.

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