April 2, 2020
It is becoming clear that COVID-19 contagion is higher in densely populated urban areas and that debilitating illness and deaths correlate with unhealthy life styles.
The death rate in New Orleans is seven times that of New York. However 97% of the people dying in New Orleans had preexisting health conditions, chiefly obesity and diabetes. While most news outlets exploit fears of COVID-19, StatNews.com has published an objective analysis of factors contributing to infection and death rates.
News outlets are quick to publish bold headlines about the latest death toll but they ignore the fact that seasonal flu outbreaks typically kill around 30,000 people. Last year’s death toll of 60,000 was unusual, but didn’t make headlines.
Both cancer and heart disease kill more people each day than COVID-19. Cancer claims twice as many.
But those deaths are unlikely to change dramatically any time soon. COVID-19 will be thing of the past sometime in 2021 when a vaccine is expected to arrive. In the meantime, most people who get COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, do not enter the hospital and carry lifetime immunity afterwards.
The news media mantra “If it bleeds it leads” is in full swing.
Our species focuses on fear rather than complacency. That’s a survival instinct deeply embedded in our genes. Ancient humans reveling in the beauty of the natural landscape were more likely to become a predator’s meal. Those who were constantly vigilant and on guard lived long enough to generate offspring with their traits.
Psychology Today published a warning about media generated fear and ways to remain rational very early in the COVID-19 crisis. Science Alert just posited an article revealing how social media bots designed to generate fear are spreading throughout the internet. One of my own articles addresses issue of managing media assault on our emotions following mass shootings.
Public figures also use fear to push their agendas.
In his wonderful book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World, Hans Rosling related the story of Al Gore’s attempt to recruit him into creating fear to advance climate change policy. Rosling makes a persuasive case for objective honesty by public officials
“’We need to create fear!’ That’s what Al Gore said to me at the start of our first conversation about how to teach climate change.” (Rosling, Hans. Factfulness (pp. 229 — 234). Flatiron Books. Kindle Edition.)
The political and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis will be with us long after the pandemic.
In the last two weeks initial unemployment claims top 10 million.
Mario Rubio claims the real number is much higher. He’s probably right.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its March Employment Situation report tomorrow morning. The most severely affected business sectors will be unlikely to recover to their previous levels. Restaurants, hospitality, schools and child care will probably be hard hit. Stay tuned.
Steve LeVine makes a cogent comparison to our present situation to that of the Great Depression in This looks Like a Depression, Not a Recession at Medium.com. I recommend it highly.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is encouraging citizens to turn in their neighbors violating lock down orders. “You know the old expression about snitches, well in this case snitches get rewards…. We want to thank you for turning folks in…”
Garcetti sounds like he’s channeling George Orwell or a Stalinist era bureaucrat.
Andrew Napolitano warns of government exceeding its authority and violating basic liberal democratic rights in an article appearing on Fox news. In light of Garcetti’s remarks and Baltimore’s secretive move to impose military airborne surveillance technology to monitor public activities of its citizens it comes at the right time.
The Presidential election seems to be over. Joe Biden resurfaced, sort of, giving an interview from his basement on Monday. And, yes, he was criticized for gaffes. Democratic operative David Plouffe practically throws in the towel. “I think [Trump is] going to turn out voters almost at a historical level…”
But as we learned in 2016, the election isn’t over until it’s over.
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