The Coronavirus has infected over 100,000 people worldwide, and a few thousand have died from it. Cruise ships have been quarantined, some nursing homes have become death zones, and people have put down their pets for fear that the pets are infected and might infect their owners.
The stock market is down over 10%, producing a paper loss on the order of the U.S. budget for a year – a loss in the trillions.
That’s bad, especially for the cruise ship passengers, the dead nursing home residents, the pets who’ve been put down, and the shareholders who need to sell before the market recovers.
We’ve been warned of an impending “pandemic” which is something like an epidemic, but worse.
But let’s put it all in context. Ordinary flu virus infects tens of millions of people a year, and kills roughly a half million. That’s more than Coronavirus so far by a factor of several hundred. As with Coronavirus, ordinary flu is dangerous mostly for the old and infirm, a demographic that happens to roughly coincide with cruise ship passengers.
As for nursing homes becoming death zones, nursing homes have always been death zones. Some 22% of all deaths in America occur in nursing homes.
The stock market? After a decade of boom, this was a market looking for an excuse to bust. Markets are markets. They go up, especially after they’ve gone down. And they go down, especially after they’ve gone up.
The worry about pets is perhaps the most persuasive evidence of a pandemic, but not a pandemic of Coronavirus. It’s evidence of a pandemic of hysteria. When people are willing to incinerate their loved and healthy Rover, they’re truly hysterical.
Certain people with an agenda have fanned this hysteria. As some have noted, the out-of-power political party in America is openly rooting for the virus in the hope that it will serve to transform them into the in-power political party.
The media of course fans whatever hysteria they can get their hands on, of whatever nature, just out of their interest in generating viewers and clicks. Notice that when a neutral weather forecast calls for “6 to 12 inches of snow in the mountains” the media immediately translates that into something like “a foot of snow, maybe more!”
News is what the media sells, or used to be in the old days before they learned to sell opinions, and they’re always looking to sell more of the stuff even if that means making it up.
In the case of Coronavirus, the media’s inherent interest in generating headlines happens to coincide with their political masters who hope to regain political power. Call it the perfect storm of hysteria. Expect a sensational headline reporting a Coronavirus case in a local nursing home: “Coronavirus invades local nursing home, and 100,000 now infected.”
The latest is that the virus has been re-branded to something ominously called “COVID-19.”
It’s something like the rebranding of “global warming” to “climate change” to “climate collapse” as the fear-mongers try to stay one step ahead of the apathy that invariably develops over a catastrophe that is persistently and wrongly predicted as imminent.
None of this means that we should ignore the risks of Coronavirus just because it’s become sensationalized. A sensationalized risk is still a risk. The odds of getting run over by a car are very slim, but you should still put your phone in your pocket and look both ways when crossing the street.
Coronavirus serves to remind us that medicine has come far but is still nowhere near preventing or curing many infectious diseases. Be careful around people, especially children and old people. Wash your hands frequently. Do the hygiene equivalent of looking both ways when you cross the street.
Here’s my prediction, albeit as a person who knows little about medicine. In the heat of July, there will be no pandemic of Coronavirus.
And even the pandemic of hysteria will be dead. That’s what eventually happens to hysteria when the underlying object of the hysteria goes away. Hysteria has a way of curing itself.
Glen: I’ve thought the same as you. Unfortunately, I cannot express myself so well. Thank you for being you.
COVID-19 is an appellation for the disease outbreak. From the CDC:
“The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).”
Predictions are hard, especially about the future. It could go the way of the previous “pandemics” of the last 20 years. It could be bad. Only time will tell, but historically the odds are in our favor.
You’re right about the media, but at what point are we just flogging a dead horse?
As always my friend you have spelled out the fear of something that is around us all the time, basically when has the flu bug not been a problem. By creating a smokescreen other nefarious deeds can take place, keep our eyes on the big picture!
In 1999 we had a guy in our HOA who kept coming to monthly meetings and lecturing us about how we should build a fortified gate at the entrance, and should tear up our lawns and plant gardens because there would be no more grocery stores after Jan 1, 2000. He had a big “countdown clock” on his front porch, which the HOA board made him move inside. He would have been right at home with this virus.
As for the media: Orange Man Bad = Covid-19 = vote for the Democrat
Glenn, excellent commentary!
Good article. The interesting thing about this Pandemic is unlike previous the big reporting is on numbers infected not deaths as in the past. Much more dramatic besides the official death rate has been determined to be between .1 and 1%. Hardly terrifying and mostly old and already compromised individuals. Democrat dream.
“but you should still put your phone in your pocket and look both ways when crossing the street”
Good one Glenn.
Now that the shelves have been emptied of hand sanitizer, here’s a home-made hand sanitizer recipe:
Compliments of Anne Marie Helmenstine, PhD (Biomedical Science):
2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol;
1/3 cup aloe vera gel;
8-10 drops of essential oil, optional (such as lavender, vanilla, peppermint, tea tree);
Mix these ingredients thoroughly in a clean bowl with a clean spoon or whisk, then pour the mixture into a clean squirt bottle (use an empty hand sanitizer or soft soap container).
Wash your hands with warm water and soap after touching surfaces not known to have been recently cleaned; 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing is recommended (approximately the length of time that it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday” song)
” In the heat of July, there will be no pandemic of Coronavirus.”
The next hysteria in this election year will be [fill in the blank], because as Mr. Crichton once stated, the people must be kept in a “state of fear”.
Thanks for your comments. I could not agree more and feel even more strongly about the way the press handles “supposed catastrophe’s.” We no longer have rain storms or snow storms or high wind. We have CATASTROPHE’S IN THE CLIMARE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.
I suspect the Drama we are seeing from most of the media, serves them two purposes. It will go along with their political narrative and it will sell more air space. However the ratings from the fear mongering networks do not appear to be working in concert with their PANIC MODE. As long as people like brian wiliams cannot do simple math, but continue to draw some sort of audience, the networks reporting on the virus will be severly flawed and they really dont care.
Glen, without an MD or PHD you have grasped the essence of the COVID-19 matter. Congrats. One “interesting” factor with this virus is that it likely can exist outside a biological host for up to 2 weeks which does make it potentially more long lasting (dangerous) than most viruses that crump after 30-60 minutes outside. Also, COVID-19 may or may not be “seasonal”. Only time will tell.
Follow the money..
I think you have cracked the code of what is actually going on! Keep it up!
Dr. Here’s your stat of the year: 3 weeks ago I had earned ~30% over the last or so in the market, then I lost thousands, now I have only earned 7.39% over that year. What’s the problem again? Doug
So far so good on the Covid-19 scare. I agree that the stock market was looking for a reason to deflate the bubble yet most stocks are still higher than they were no more than a year ago, Hardly a tragedy and not even a decent correction, which would require an additional 10 to 15% fall from peak values.
That may well happen. Covid-19 has exposed the global over-reliance on China for critical medical supplies as well as other links in the global supply chain for many products. We should expect the growth of China’s exports to remain flat or declining for the near future. That will continue to roil the markets as manufacturing becomes more disbursed. The long-term effects of this are not as obvious as they might seem. Expect more volatility.
Glenn, I’m sure you have written a wonderful piece, but I can’t find the time to read it — too busy making my own hand sanitizer, shopping for hazmat suits, cancelling all my travel plans, selling off my stock portfolio, revising my will, watching “breaking news” reports, and disrespecting Jesus at the Communion rail because, you know, germs. I mean, Saint Damien might have been nuts, but not me!
Great piece. You have put everything in perspective. 24 hr. news cycle, get Trump, the great Armmagedon is upon us.. Always the fear of the unknown is normal. But, common sense is the rule.
Thanks again, now I have to get back to the kitchen and mix more hand sanitizer.
Do we know that the elderly are dying from Coronavirus? In Democrat governed cities you never want a crisis to go to waste. Are Democrats smothering elderly white people with pillows, so they can give the Medicaid dollars to illegal aliens? This is something that Democrats would do.
How refreshing to read comments and opinions in the Aspenbeat that actually mirror common sense.
Everything in this article is absolutely spot on accurate. As someone who does have quite a bit of formal education in the biological sciences, I can tell you that this entire sorry coronavirus affair is nothing more than a concerted effort by the Democrats and their miserably dishonest lackeys in the newsmedia to destroy Donald Trump, as if he is responsible for an infective little packet of protein and primitive DNA. This virus is not uber-deadly. A 1% to 3% mortality rate is not horrific, especially when the majority of the deaths are seen in people over 70 or 80 years old, or in younger people with other serious health problems. This all a calculated misinformation campaign, and a purposeful attempt to provoke hysteria in the populace.
Can you imagine what would said if we could go back in time to the year 1910, and we were all bleating hysterically about an infectious disease that had a mortality rate of 1%? I think you’d get your face laughed in.