Why can’t we just say, We have no idea rather than, the science says… I mean really during this Wuhan virus, how many different versions of “the science tells us” have we heard? Think about it. The virus isn’t transmissible between people (an early WRONG) to Masks won’t prevent you from contracting the virus (TRUE) and then just a few weeks later, Wear masks to avoid contracting the virus. Does social distancing work? Well, it seems to but then we have little data from past pandemics to show us that it indeed prevents anything.
During the 1918 “Spanish Flu“ pandemic, there was a city in the U.S. that implemented most of what we are doing today: St. Louis, Missouri. They shut down bars, restaurants, cafes, theaters, etc. With a population of 678,000, they had a total of 2506 deaths. Compare that to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who left their city completely open: 12,000 deaths out of a population of 1.7 million. Even if it’s normalized for population demographics, the lockdown in St. Louis, overall, probably saved lives. But we cannot leave cities shutdown forever, until there are zero instances of the virus or even zero deaths from the virus. Society has to continue. What if St. Louis had not locked down their city? Would the numbers of dead have been exponentially higher? No one knows, Nor can they know. Why? Two cities, in different parts of the country, with different lifestyles.
Look today at two states: New York and California. California has more than twice the population of New York, yet has a bit more than 10% of the death rate (3033 vs 27426) and less than 25% of the cases (74391 vs 353096). Some may say that one state went into lockdown earlier than the other. Yes, that’s true: by a single day. What else is the difference between the two? How about, as I have written before, the cultures of the two states? New york city, before the pandemic had more than 3 million people riding the subway system, daily (I think the number I read was actually 3.5 million) out of a population of 8 million. Consider that. People packed into train cars going to and fro work, running their errands, etc. One person, even asymptomatic, could possible infect everyone else around them. then those people do what? Go to their jobs or homes and spread the virus.
California is mainly a car culture state. Sure, Los Angeles has a subway system, but walk down any street in downtown L.A. and ask someone where the nearest subway stop is: you’ll receive a strange look (I know this because I have done this). Yes , San Francisco has a system as well, BART, but they had less than 5% of the daily ridership before the pandemic than NYC.
My state, with some 7.4 million people, have had comparatively few deaths and cases to both. Most cases are in the large metropolitan areas (Phoenix, Tucson). Specifically where I live? My county has had a confirmed total of 44 cases, 2 deaths. Of course we’re sparsely populated in comparison to the others, but why am I subject to the same restrictions as those large metro areas?
We went to a one size fits all model to beat the Wuhan virus, and what have we learned from that? It’s a poor model and possibly causes more harm than good. Already, we hear about more problems with drugs and alcohol, suicide hotlines lighting up, because humans are not meant to stay in their caves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Some are going to call me a science denier. I am far from that. I respect and mainly trust science because it is not always correct, but seeks the truth in every field. Scientists, in my mind, are the most respected people on the planet because they are truth seekers. Like all of us, they are not prefect, but they usually place discovering the truth above anything else – well, that’s changed a bit in recent years, but I think those are few, and are non-representative.
But what is the science? No one seems to know. We’re wondering around the landscape attempting to discover even the nature of this Wuhan virus. that’s not unexpected because it’s so new to our environment and no one should expect science to come up with a solution overnight. We have made missteps though, at every level that I hope will be remembered in the future. Government at all levels are not without blame and by the way – neither are we, the public. We, the public believed whatever we were told, daily, by people, including scientists, that had no idea what the consequences of anything they said would be. And they still don’t. what has been done is to turn the fate of millions of people over to politicians who are less qualified to make change on a 99 cent bill after they’re given a dollar than anything else. Your fate, your children’s future, are in the hands of morons for the most part.
This pandemic has become less about flattening the curve where people may, being responsible, return to their lives, to where before any of us may return to our lives, the Wuhan virus must be either wiped out completely, or we have a cure. Let me just say, the latter two are never going to happen in the immediate future. Science has no idea whether this virus is a one and done or will come back harder this fall. they can’t even say that if you’ve contracted it, and survived, that your immunity will last. The science is imperfect and anyone that expects answers 3 months in, well, are stupid.
The best we can do is be responsible for ourselves, our children and grandchildren, just as we’ve become when it comes to the yearly influenza. We can’t close down the entire world based on a virus that has a 98-99% survival rate. We can’t fear, forever, the unknown because around every corner in life, the unknown exists.