We are in a war against COVID-19 and while we won’t win every battle, to win the war we must stop hiding from it and start fighting back.
That stark reality hit me and altered just about every thought I’ve ever had about the virus just after President Trump told us that his decision to let America get back to work will be the most difficult he’s ever made. I understood the gravity and empathized with how tough this choice will be for him. It’s all on his shoulders, and he will be bear the brunt of whatever the fallout is.
And I’m sure he knows what I know, and what many of you do even if you haven’t gamed it out this far yet: To the best of our knowledge the vast majority of us haven’t gotten the virus yet, and it’s still out there, so the second we open things back up and give it a chance to spread it will do so with a vengeance.
Granted the modeling has always been wrong in the same narrative-above-science way that climate hysterics’ modeling has always been wrong and the media has always tried to exploit the Wuhan Virus to incite fear that would create social and economic carnage predicated on promises of human carnage that were never going to be nearly as horrific as they tried to make us believe (all in an effort to hurt our nation more broadly in pursuit of their own political interests), but that doesn’t mean a virus won’t still need to ultimately run its course. And all indications are that the Wuhan Virus hasn’t.
So it’s going to spike again. It will start slowly, and rather than shut things down immediately again we’re going to ride it out just a little further this time. And that’s when it will spike exponentially.
And we still won’t have a cure, or a vaccine.
And people are going to die. Some young, but the vast majority elderly and/or immunocompromised.
And there’s nothing we can do about it.
You can’t beat this kind of virus by hiding from it. In fact hiding from a virus like this one is the opposite of beating it: it’s waving a white flag and letting the virus win.
So far we’ve destroyed our economy, cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs and life savings, destroyed thousands of small businesses, added trillions to our debt and deficit, created brand new mental health problems for some people, exacerbated them in others, and incited almost complete social misery. And as one healthcare expert recently pointed out to me: People are dying and will continue to die from medical care they’re not getting because they’re not allowed to. For example, we’ve spent 20 years pushing pink ribbons to inspire breast cancer awareness in large part so that women won’t wait until it’s too late to get checked. But there are thousands of women out there right now who have masses and are overdue to get checked but keep getting their appointments pushed out. At least some of those women have breast cancer. And we’ve decided, or rather it was decided for us with plenty of help from a media seemingly eager to watch our country suffer, that fighting COVID-19 means accepting worsening health issues and preventable deaths among anyone who doesn’t have it.
And breast cancer is just one example. There are many more that healthcare experts could tell us about. And many of the health problems we’re being forced to ignore are ones we know how to treat. But their victims are forced to sit at home and do nothing while their own potentially fatal but often treatable health issues go untreated and in many cases get worse.
That’s happening all across America right now. And we don’t know what the downstream effects will be once this is all over. We don’t know how much worse peoples’ existing, emerging and new health issues will have gotten that went untreated while we all stayed home, hiding from COVID-19 and pretending that meant we were beating it.
And I really want to avoid being overly partisan in this piece (even though I freely admit I am a partisan), but academia is largely run by people who ascribe to liberalism. It’s just true, and everyone knows it. And frankly, on their advice, we’ve been fighting the war against COVID-19 like a bunch of liberals. We’re afraid of COVID-19 and trying to appease rather than defeat it, while simultaneously affording zero deference to all the unintended consequences and carnage left in the wake of our big government solution.
Many of us have long trumpeted the merits of “herd immunity,” which is what happens when a virus can no longer spread because the vast majority of people in a specific geographic region already got, recovered from and can thus no longer spread it. We’ve recommended quarantining the elderly and immunocompromised, and letting the rest of America get back to work so we can actually beat this thing by establishing herd immunity. (Not to mention restarting our economy!) It won’t take long for virtually everyone to get infected. And as we’ve all heard by now, many or even most of us won’t even know it happened! Many others will have very mild symptoms no worse than a few days of cold or flu. And yes a tiny fraction among us will have more serious symptoms.
But unfortunately, given the political partisanship that’s so rampant in our country, that solution no longer appeared viable. As I wrote recently…
Others argue that quarantining the elderly and immunocompromised would do far less damage to our nation’s social, economic and mental health and far more damage to the virus’s potency as herd immunity is realized — but that’s no longer a viable option because the media has won that battle. As a result, anyone who actually leans in to promulgating herd immunity and targeted quarantining as a solution would forever be branded a war criminal and personally responsible for literally every death that followed his or her orders.
I wrote that a week ago, but President Trump mentioned it just yesterday (4/10/20) at his daily press briefing. Paraphrasing, he said something like: “Even if we wanted to do that we couldn’t. Because do you think Jim Acosta, or Peter Alexander, or every other journalist in this room would let us? If we went that route and everyone started getting sick, you’d all be screaming and yelling and calling us crazy.” His point wasn’t that the media cared whether people live or die. His point was that they’d sensationalize and exploit the negative aspects of the fallout. And they’d demonize anyone who pointed out the long term gain, and/or that the alternative is to keep everyone locked in their homes for at least the next year (probably longer) and ultimately destroy the United States.
But I had an idea and really think President Trump should consider this as he heads toward that difficult decision.
He should either replace or supplement the daily press briefings with a televised roundtable to discuss our national go-forward strategy. And here’s the kicker. Here’s the important part that would actually help our nation on two huge fronts…
He should have Republicans at the table, obviously.
He should have Democrats at the table, obviously.
He should have healthcare experts at the table, obviously.
And he should have leaders from America’s largest news outlets at the table.
Yes. Despite their laughable claims of impartiality, the media has become one of the most powerful political vehicles in the country. To be honest, and I’m sorry but I’d written about it for months and am not going to hide from it now when it matters most, if it weren’t for support from the massively powerful media then the Democrat party as we know it today would cease to exist. The media do virtually all of the Democrats’ most potent fighting for them. The media select and sensationalize and amplify the most anti-Trump/GOP stories they can find, and dismiss or downplay any pro-Trump/GOP stories that might somehow breach their gates. So if we’re going to find a go-forward strategy for America, and we want buy-in and accountability from everybody so it’s not made worse by partisan politics, then Trump’s team should demand media leaders be at the table also (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, WaPo, NYT). It’s less about getting their input and more about putting sunlight on their role in American politics, and holding them and their outlets accountable for the reporting that will follow. And then at that roundtable we make everyone aware of the choices we have…
1). Keep everyone locked in their homes for at least the next year, but probably longer. Existing and otherwise treatable healthcare problems get worse, mental health gets worse, the economy gets worse, thousands more businesses shutter, and we add tens of trillions more to the debt and deficit. Then at some point maybe in a year or so, we eventually find cures and vaccines and somehow figure out how to get those to everyone all at one time. And then we can get back to work and re-start our economy with the critical contribution of all our citizens.
2). We quarantine the elderly and immunocompromised and let the rest of America get back to work immediately. We level with the American people; tell them that doing so likely means they will contract COVID-19 if they haven’t already. But we also give them honest interpretations of the data instead of the fear mongering we’ve been fed all this time. (Fact: The “death rate” we’re tracking has been entirely useless this whole time because the two variables that are used to factor it — the total number of deaths divided by the total number of cases — are both deeply flawed in ways that inflate the death rate. The truth is, we have no idea how many people got it because we don’t know who had no symptoms. And we don’t how many deaths it caused because we’re counting everyone who died with it as having definitely died from it. And those are dishonest interpretations and factoring of the data intended, we can only surmise, to scare us.) So we level with the American people: We expect that most of you will get it. But to be clear: that’s the idea. Many or even most of you won’t even know you got it. Many others of you will have mild symptoms that mirror a cold or flu. A very small fraction of you will have more serious symptoms but if our elderly and immunocompromised do their part, and we all help them stay safe by practicing social distancing and making it easier for them to do so, then we can spare those who we know are most vulnerable to the virus. And eventually, probably in just a few short months, the vast majority of our nation will have had it and that means they can’t get it again or spread it. And that’s really where we want to be. That’s the goal. That is how we win without sacrificing literally every other shred of our nation in the process.
Those are the choices. They’re not actually binary and can be calibrated, but those are the broad strokes for each.
So President Trump should have that discussion transparently with Republicans, Democrats, healthcare experts and media leaders. And he should make everyone contribute to that discussion with their own thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. And he should work to get buy-in from everybody. Let Americans watch and listen as they discuss it. And as the choices become clear to us (we’ll want to beat this instead of hiding from it), seek to get everyone at the table to agree that they’ll do their part to help instead of exploiting or politicizing it.
As noted early on, we won’t win every battle. But this is how we win the war. And what we’ve done all this time didn’t actually change anything. It was one long pause button. But it was one that came with absolutely devastating collateral damage. People worry about worst case scenarios. We literally shut America down. It’s closed. And there isn’t a ventilator big enough to save the United States from the sickness we just foist upon it. Our nation is dying. And we can’t keep this up. That, to many of us, is a worst case scenario of even greater consequence than fatalities that arise amid the onset of a new virus that we can otherwise handily beat with nature’s cure: herd immunity.
If we want to actually win the war, we have to stop hiding and instead stand up and fight this thing face to face. And as President Trump weighs his difficult decision he should bring everyone to the table, including and perhaps especially media leaders who do the Democrats’ most effective fighting for them, to have that discussion transparently in front of the American people so we can all be informed and make the decision together.
Make sure to check out WhatFinger News for all the best right-minded media content from around the web.