Hysteria

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I’m not making light of the potential for illness and death from the Wuhan Flu virus, but the hysteria has gotten out of control.

The media is treating this like an ongoing terrorist attack. News outlets are spreading wild rumors by the hour. Once one has been debunked, another pops up to take it’s place.

Just about every public activity that you can think of has been cancelled. Restaurants are empty, hotels have emptied, whole states are essentially shut down.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has put out statements about their response. I got one from my cable provider informing me that they are making sure that their stores are extra clean, their technicians are taking hygienic precautions, and will provide remote support when necessary. Because wait times for phone support aren’t long enough now.

5.11 Tactical assures me that they are making sure that their facilities are super duper clean. Here’s a hint. I wash all new clothes before I wear them. My wife worked in fashion retail way back and says that only fools don’t do that.

There is panic buying toilet paper. Toilet paper. There is no shortage of it, but people are buying it as fast as it is put on the shelf. Apparently somewhere along the line the rumor started that our toilet paper comes from China and the factories were shutting down.

Which isn’t true. Most of the toilet paper used in this country comes from Canada. Which last I saw was still making it. Along with paper towels.

People are buying non perishable food by the case, items like flour and rice are being sold in 50 pound bags.

The media hysteria is driving political hysteria. No politician, and remember the #1 goal of all politicians is to get re elected, wants to be the one guy that didn’t take every precaution. Schools are closed from two weeks to six weeks depending on location.

If you listen to the media and politicians catching the Wuhan Flu is a death sentence 100% of the time. Most people who have contracted the illness have mild to moderate symptoms and recover fully in a fairly short period of time.

I am hearing stories of a need for hundreds of thousands of ventilators, but not who will need them. You’d also think that every one of the 327,000,000 people in the country is going to need to be tested. Which is not true either.

I’ll leave the politics out of this for the most part, but it’s pretty clear that some people are using this as a weapon for the upcoming election. First, the President acted too hastily in closing off travel from China. Now, he’s accused of acting too slowly.

The Speaker of the House threatened to hold up the response bill if language wasn’t included that restored federal funding for abortion. Which pretty clearly has nothing to do with responding the crisis. It’s just more pork barrel spending by politicians.

The people who are in most danger from this are people over 60 with underlying medical conditions. At the top of that list is people with respiratory illnesses. That’s a fair number of people, so they should try to limit public contact. Next are people with underlying cardiac issues or Diabetes that isn’t well controlled. Of course people being treated for cancer, no matter what their age are really vulnerable, so they should be careful. People who have had organ transplants and are on anti rejection drugs also full into that category.

People over 80, even if healthy are vulnerable.

Kids, again unless they have serious underlying medical conditions, are not at much risk. In fact, so far no one under the age of 10 has contracted the illness. Adults without medical conditions catch it, but some say it’s not any worse that a miserable cold.

Keep in mind that despite any problems with paying for it, we have the best health care in the world right here in the US. Italy? Not so much, which is why their mortality rate is higher. China? Not even close. Iran? 7th Century medicine is not up to the task.

None of the people I know, including my 100 year old Mother in Law, are hysterical about this.

What people with school age children are right now is angry. People are scrambling for child care so that they don’t have to take time off from work. I joked with a former co worker who has children that I was considering opening and over night child care center for people who work in EMS. He asked me if he could sign his kids up before he realized I was kidding. He asked if my wife was willing to drive up to his house and babysit.

Keep in mind that he’s never met my wife, doesn’t even know her name. I’m sure he’ll figure something out, but the point is that the politicians are making these decisions without think through the consequences.

Maybe instead of shutting schools, they should ask the TV stations to stop doing news casts. No, not seriously, but it would be nice if they dialed the hysteria back down to 11.

I can’t help but think that by the end of April we are going to look back and wonder why we were so panicked.

One final thought. The last really big pandemic, before the word even existed, was the Spanish Influenza of 1918. Since then there have been similar panics in 1957, 1968, 1975, and 2009. That doesn’t include the SARS panic, Legionnaires panic, Ebola panic, and MERS.

In the 1975 panic more people died from reactions to the vaccine than from the flu.

Speaking of vaccines, we’ll have one but not until next fall in all likelihood. We’ll probably have effective treatments before that. Both of which are dependent on the FDA actually doing it’s job efficiently.

That’s my rant and it’s the last I’ll post about this.

4 COMMENTS

  1. CFR is dependent upon the level of care you get. With the number of beds in the USA being around 925,000 for a population of ~330,000,000, and with about 85-90% of these beds presently full, it makes sense to try to lower the peak number of infections by promoting, or in some cases mandating quarantines, isolations, event cancellations, and school closures. If 90%+ of those who are seriously ill fail to get proper health care because there simply are no beds and no nurses or docs, then the CFR gets higher, as per Italy around 5 or 6%. If you have instituted quarantines a’ la South Korea, and have plenty of hospital capability and personnel, the CFR is lower, around 0.5%.

    We probably cannot affect how many people overall get this thing, at least not in any major way, but we can reduce the peak numbers significantly. Me, I’d vote for lower CFR, but that means quarantines and lockdowns and school closures, and THAT means that Joe Normal, who normally keeps a couple of days of food on hand, needs to stock up. Just did that for the MIL, so she won’t have to go out for a month or so.

    With regard to all who seek the Light,
    Historian

    • The look down varies widely from state to state. Around here we can still go out, but a lot of places I’d normally go are closed or have reduced hours. Our Governor has declared gun stores “non essential” businesses and order them among the places to be closed.

      Which doesn’t matter much as people who failed to buy sufficient stocks of ammunition when it was available and relatively cheap, decided to stock up. Guns too, but the two I’ve bought in the past six weeks were planned in advance.

      I think the flattening the curve efforts will pay off in the long run, but it won’t be easy.

      The media coverage of this has been pretty horrible. You’d think that people get this and either die or have no symptoms. There is a whole spectrum of reactions and once testing becomes widespread, easy, and fast, we’ll find a lot of people who have had minor illnesses over the past few months had the virus.

  2. Simply amazing… A media created panic… And the destruction of the US economy in one fell swoop.

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