Opinion

The Coronavirus Guessing Game

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Posted: Apr 28, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
The Coronavirus Guessing Game

Source: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of coronavirus concern – anywhere between “it’s the greatest hoax every perpetrated on the public” to “we’re all going to die” – there is a dataset ready to reinforce your preconceived notion. These numbers are being used to manipulate the public for whatever ends the person conveying them has, and they work. The truth, on the other hand, is lost in the fog of it all.

Is coronavirus a plague that will wipe out all of humanity, or is it an annoyance, a convenient boogeyman used to seize power by unscrupulous, power-mad government officials? As is always the case, the truth is somewhere in between. But where in between is the $64 trillion question.

One thing this pandemic has exposed is just how open to manipulation we are as a people. As I’ve written about before, raw numbers and percentages are two different things, and reporting one and not the other can leave people with an impression that diverges significantly from reality. But what is reality?

You can’t find it. 

Federal and state governments are operating under the assumption that extreme measures are necessary to save lives, and seemingly the belief that every life must be saved. I’m not saying people should unnecessarily die, but I know that people do die every single day, of all sorts of preventable reasons. Stopping that has been the pursuit of fiction writers since fiction began, and it is fiction for a reason – there is no stopping it.

We don’t shut down over the flu, we haven’t shut down over anything before. So why now?

As I see it, there are really only a couple of options: either politicians got in way over their heads, panicked, and committed to a shutdown so they’re sticking with it to save face, or there’s more to this story than they are telling us.

The first option seems the most likely. No politician, from the president on down, wants to be accused of indifference when it comes to the loss of human life (with the exception of Democrats and abortion, which they’ve both monetized and fetishized). So when presented with the possibility that millions will die, as the original models predicted, they all seemed to panic. When presented with that prospect, who among us wouldn’t, at a minimum, be deeply concerned? 

But a funny thing happened on the way to Armageddon: the numbers weren’t panning out. 

Lockdowns went into effect in most places. “Flatten the curve,” we were told. And flatten it did, much sooner and much flatter than the experts thought possible. The risk of people dying from lack of ventilators never came close to happening. But by that point, we were all-in as a nation. Rather than entertaining the prospect that the predictions were wrong, we were told they were wrong because the lockdowns went into effect so quickly and thoroughly. Yet the modelers told us they’d factored that into their models, a fact that has now been memory-holed. 

So what happened? Why did California, our most populous state, avoid devastation? Not even devastation, actually, but anything close to it? Long Island has more deaths than the entire state of California. 

And what about Florida? We were told their failure to lockdown sooner would cost lives, that there’d be a huge spike in cases and deaths because they kept their beaches opened long past recommendations. But it hasn’t happened.

New York City, New Jersey, and a few other densely populated areas have been hit hard, but still never came close to collapsing their health care systems. We don’t have any idea why, and no one in state or federal governments seem to be asking. It’s like they’ve married the idea that the devastation of the northeast will happen everywhere even though it hasn’t and they aren’t interested in divorce. 

Rather than admit they might’ve been wrong, all the politicians who’ve advocated for lockdowns remain committed to the concept. Reluctant politicians are allowing their states to emerge…slowly.

Unless, as point two states, there is something they aren’t telling us, something so horrible that the lockdowns and model mistakes must be overlooked, and the public finding it out will lead to riots and anarchy. There seems little justification for continuing on the lockdown path nationwide. 

Presumably, if there were this deep, dark secret, it would be shared with governors taking steps to reopen, if only to prevent its horrors. And since they are going ahead with reopening, we have to assume there isn’t something they aren’t telling us. Unless everything is that they screwed up (never put anything past any government).

It’s time to go back to work, it’s time to leave the house. Cautiously and carefully, of course. There is much we still don’t know, but too many of our leaders are acting like they do. If only because they can’t admit that they might’ve gotten a lot of this wrong.

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.