Opinion

We Need More, Not More Of The Same, Information On Coronavirus

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Posted: Apr 02, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
We Need More, Not More Of The Same, Information On Coronavirus

Source: Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

There isn’t a lack of information relative to the Wuhan coronavirus. There’s a ton of it put out there every single day. But it’s the same information, while some other important information is lacking. While the media is focusing on retroactive hypotheticals – “If we’d acted sooner, long before we knew how bad it was because China was lying (something they never mention), could this have all been avoided?” – information that could either make people more or less concerned, is not being given or asked about.

First, let me start by saying I’m of two minds on all of this lockdown stuff. On one hand, I see why it could be necessary. If I were responsible for spreading coronavirus I would feel awful, if I were ultimately responsible, through recklessness, for spreading it to someone who died, I don’t know how I’d live with that. 

The important caveat is “through recklessness.” Sometimes you have to go out, whatever the reason - food, medicine, sanity - but the idea of going on spring break or to a party is reckless. If someone catches coronavirus at the grocery store, that’s different than someone catching it from a keg stand or a body shot because it happens to be a fun way to pass the time. 

A lot of these lockdown actions are being taken, at least in part, because of the morons feeling 10 feet tall and bulletproof refusing to socially distance themselves or even take the most basic of precautions to stop the spread. If they could sign a legally binding waiver denying them any medical care whatsoever, for anything, for the duration plus 15 days (since there’s up to a 14 day gestation period), and their right to sue afterward for the denial of that care, I’d be fine with letting these people have as many of their fellow morons over they could convince to also sign the waiver. I’m fine with nature thinning the herd of idiots. 

The problem is those idiots are the Johnny Appleseeds of pandemics - they’d be fine, but some of the people in their wake wouldn't be. 

Or at least that’s what we’re led to believe, which leads to the other of my minds on this issue: I need more information. 

My anti-idiot policies remain in place, always, but I want to see more data. Not more of the same data we’re seeing - number of confirmed cases and number of deaths - I want to know the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus who require hospitalization and, of those, how many require a ventilator. 

We’re told we are on the cusp of some really, really bad times in the next few weeks, with the rosiest of scenarios having 100,000 preventable deaths. That’s horrible and a difficult reality to wrap our minds around, especially considering how relatively low the fatality numbers have been thus far. That projection isn’t for the rest of the year; it’s basically for the rest of the month. 

My issue is I’m not seeing it in the numbers we have so far. 

Every death is a tragedy, but even the experts are telling us we’re only catching a fraction of the infected in testing, as a lot of people who had it never sought care or even knew they had it, likely having been infected long before we knew about it. That means no set of numbers is going to be complete, but knowing how many of the known infected require hospital stays, and how many of them require extraordinary care to survive would be helpful. 

Admittedly, that information would lead to one of two reactions: calm or concern. Both emotional reactions would likely be exaggerated, the odds are still significantly against you getting it, especially if you haven’t so far, but it would help in knowing what to expect if you should get it. 

How much easier would it feel if of, say, 10,000 cases, only 50 required hospitalization? But the reaction would be significantly different if the number was 1,000 out of 10,000. And how many of those hospitalized require intubation and machines to keep breathing? And for how long? 

The fact is, we have no idea what a diagnosis actually means to the average person. All we have is a number of infected and a number of dead. That hole in the middle leaves a lot of room for minds to wander, to fill in the blanks. Maybe it’s good; maybe it’s bad. Each person fills it in themselves, which can lead to fear or stupidity, depending on what you use to fill it. 

This is an odd situation for political and medical leaders, where the best-case scenario is they come off looking like they overreacted for no good reason. There’s not going to be a parade at the end of this if the horrible projections for deaths don’t pan out. There will be grousing about how it was unnecessary. On the other end, if there’s a lot more death, they will also be blamed. There is no real “win” in this.

What there can be is a more informed public, better prepared for whatever comes their way. 

There must be more than just a computer model for all of this to take place, because the models, to this point, don’t add up when you look at the rest of the world. If these experts and the president know more than they’re telling us, they need to tell us. We can handle it, or at least prepare ourselves to handle it. Because if it’s truly bad enough to warrant shutting down the planet, we’re going to have to deal with it one way or another.

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter