Just got back from getting a haircut and a run to the grocery store (which had an atmosphere very similar to the one down here when a hurricane is imminent), during which time I think I heard enough crazy rumors to start my own conspiracy blog. The worst, by far, were variations that this is all just people freaking out over the flu, or a liberal conspiracy, or some kind of con. So, I’m sharing this Political Wire blog post, because I think it’s important.
Charles Ornstein: “As a longtime health care reporter, the unfolding coronavirus pandemic represents everything I’ve read about — from the early days of epidemiology to the staggering toll of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic — but had not covered in my lifetime.”
“And still, I have been caught off guard by the pushback from top elected officials and even some friends and acquaintances who keep comparing it to the flu.”
“Not one public health expert I trust — not one — has said this flu comparison is valid or that we’re overdoing it. Every single one, from former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to Harvard professor Ashish Jha, has said we’re not doing enough, that this is far more serious than it is being taken.”
I’m not an epidemiologist, but I listen to the experts. If you’re younger than 60,
this virus probably wouldn’t do much to you. Congratulations. Good for you. (CORRECTION: Actually young adults still have a roughly 20% chance of ending up in the hospital. Your chance of survival is just better.) But you’d still be a carrier, a link in the chain threatening people who have a serious chance of being harmed by it: those over 60, or with chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, etc.
Just about everyone knows and cares about someone in these categories. (Maybe you’re in one yourself.) It’s fine to risk your own safety, but don’t be one of those selfish chest thumping jerks who make a big deal about how brave they are while putting others at risk.
Maybe in three to six months we’ll all look back with hindsight knowing that this wasn’t as severe as the experts currently think it is. Maybe. But before accepting assurances from anyone who claims to know that right now, ask what evidence or information they have that the health professionals are missing.