Mike Weinberger: I'm Sick of Hearing About the Coronavirus
As of April 2 there were about 5,600 Americans who had died of the coronavirus, but some of them might have died while having the virus versus dying because of the virus, so it’s hard to know the exact figure.
Let’s assume, however, that the number, from Johns Hopkins, is correct.
Let’s also assume that things get much worse. Let’s say the death toll gets five or 10 times worse — or even higher. Now let’s look at the math and see what that really means.
There are about 330 million people in the U.S. If one out of a hundred were to succumb to the virus, that would be a total of 3.3 million — and if one out of a thousand were to die that would be 330,000 people.
Losing 330,000 people would be terrible, but as a nation we can survive that.
Heck, Chicago seems to be surviving even though one out of every thousand people gets shot every year. In 2018, for example, Chicago had a population of about 2.7 million, and had 2,367 shootings. If each shooting targeted a different person, that would be almost one out of every thousand people, but Chicago didn’t close down and the mayor didn’t order everyone to stay home.
So as a nation we can survive one out of every thousand people dying from the coronavirus, but the death toll is probably going to be much lower than that. Even if we assume the current death toll increases by sevenfold, that’s still only 39,000, which would be roughly one out of every eight thousand Americans — and even if it reaches 70,000 that’s still less than one person out of every five thousand.
Do you know five thousand people? If not, the odds are you wouldn’t even know anyone who would have died from the virus. Again, that’s not to say the death of 70,000 people is something to ignore, but it is also not something that justifies wrecking the lives of 330,000,000.
And make no mistake, I am talking about really wrecking people’s lives. That’s what we are doing right now: wrecking, destroying and shattering people’s lives. Here’s one example:
Imagine you were one of the many people who have put your life savings into a new business. About 500,000 new businesses open each year. You probably took out a second mortgage on your home and you gambled everything you had on this venture. And then, right after you open, the government tells you to shut down.
How do you survive that? How is that going to affect your life? What about your family and your children, and your mortgage and your loan payments? And what about your mental health and your self-esteem? How are those things affected?
And that is just one example. How about a worker who is laid off? Is a check from the government going to solve all of his problems? Certainly not, especially when the check is based on paper money the government loans itself, and the worker’s children will have to pay that loan back, with interest, later on.
So shutting down businesses, laying people off and staying at home is a horrible way to respond to this disease — perhaps the worst. It can cause more damage to the nation than muddling through.
The important thing, when confronted with a problem that can take the life of one out of every 10,000, is to focus on the remaining 9,999 — not just the one. A herd of buffalo does not commit suicide if one member is taken by a pack of wolves, and we cannot commit national suicide because one American out of five or ten thousand is taken by this disease.
Committing suicide is crazy, and I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing politicians and media personalities tell us we have to drink the Kool-Aid and commit suicide. We must be adults. We must understand that our health care system is not perfect and cannot prevent every loss. We must accept this and soldier on.
The alternative — destroying tens of millions of lives and shutting down hundreds of thousands of companies and new businesses — is much worse than the coronavirus.
How do we know? Think about this: Traffic accidents kill tens of thousands of Americans every year, but we don’t tell people not to drive cars, do we?
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