DimWit Politics

Looking at Coronavirus from and ‘Old’ Persepctive?

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Looking at Coronavirus from and ‘Old’ Persepctive?

Looking at Coronavirus from and ‘Old’ Persepctive?
March 23
14:54 2020

During one of the White House’s daily briefings on the Coronavirus outbreak in America, a reporter asked Dr. Anthony Fauci whether we were overreacting.  The journalist noted that tens of thousands die of the flu each year and about 30,000 die in automobile accidents.  It is a question I have often proffered but never heard from the media.

In a rare lack of candor and logic, Fauci dismissed the question with a non-answer.  He said there is no equivalency between Coronavirus death and traffic fatalities.  He did not respond to the flu comparison, however.

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I disagree with Fauci in terms of traffic accidents.  There is an equivalency.  They both have to do with a trade-off between lifestyle and deaths.  As a society, we constantly tolerate deaths to maintain a lifestyle.

The issue with the Coronavirus is whether saving a few more lives – mostly of folks already teetering on the edge of eternity – at the expense of undermining the entire world economy, throwing millions people off the payrolls, destroying an untold number of small businesses, adding trillions of dollars to the national debt for our children and grandchildren, etc., etc., etc.

To put it bluntly, is it worth it?

We often hear that we should do this or that – or not do this or that – if it could save even one life.  That is romantic nonsense.  Virtually everything we desire and do has a death toll.

Using the auto accident analogy, we would save tens of thousands of lives each year by simply setting a national speed limit of 20 miles per hour.  As a society, we would never consider that.  That would be ridiculous.  So, we literally accept thousands of deaths every year so we can get places sooner.  Contrary to Fauci dismissing the auto death rate, it IS a perfect example of a lifestyle that produces unnecessary deaths.

If we were to respond to the common flu as we are to the Coronavirus, we could save between 20,000 to 50,000 lives each year.  But of course, we would have no social interaction, no jobs, no dining out, no outdoor sports events. We would all be isolated in our homes — connecting to the outside world via the Internet and appearing outside in astronaut-style suits.  Ergo, we allow thousands to die so we can live as we desire.

I do believe the Coronavirus is a serious issue, but I still cannot help but believe that we are overreacting.  We are already in a recession and some folks are talking about the first depression since the market crash of 1929.  We should also consider that economic crashes have death tolls, too.

I often think we should have focused on the high-risk individuals and allowed the rest of society to carry on MOSTLY as usual.  Restaurants remain open but discouraging the patronage of the very old.  Lockdown the final care facilities.  Keep the planes flying, but again discouraging senior travel.  Focus our medical resources on senior care facilities and those who are genuinely vulnerable.

As most cases of flu, the Novel Coronavirus is not a particularly deadly disease for the young and healthy.  Most people will not even contract it.  Some 80 percent of those who do will have very mild symptoms or be totally asymptomatic.  And the vast majority of those who die will be among our oldest and most seriously ill – often in the advanced stages with life-threatening and mind-depriving diseases.  I would like to see statistics of the death rate for 39 and younger, 40 to 69 and over 70.  That would give us a much better indication of where to put the resources.

If my attitude seems a bit cavalier and uncaring, you need to understand that I have passed the life expectancy of an American male.  I am playing in extra innings.  No matter when I die, no one will say it is a tragedy – “he died so young.”  They are more likely to say that I had a good life.   And indeed, I have.  I have no desire or intention to end my winning streak any time soon, but on the other hand, I do not fear death.  And I certainly do not want to see everyone in America suffer tremendous hardships on the chance – the remote chance – that I might die from the Coronavirus a bit sooner than I would have died anyway.

If I were 90 years old — bed-ridden in pain or losing my mind in a final care facility — I would be more likely to say “bring it on” rather than beg to be protected from the virus that could be my guide into the next adventure.  And with many conversations I have had with my peers, I am not alone in that thinking.

I am totally supportive of reasonable precautions.  I enjoy life too much to be totally reckless.  But I still am not convinced that society, in general, is not overreacting.  The death rate of a human being is 100 percent.  We should not get overly obsessed with the how and when.

So, there ‘tis.

About Author

Larry Horist

Larry Horist

Larry Horist is a conservative activist with an extensive background in economics, public policy and politics. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman, as well as the White House. He has testified as an expert witness before legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress, and lectured at major colleges and universities. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He can be reached at lph@thomasandjoyce.com.

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1 Comment

  1. thinkr2
    thinkr2 March 24, 21:04

    I admire your outlook. I have pretty much the same. My dad is almost 90 and I’m 66, so it could get personal with us, but we don’t think it’s worth ruining life for our kids and grandkids.

    BTW, South Korea did about the same thing you propose and it has worked well. Why are we not following a good example?

    Reply to this comment

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