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.