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Should America Vote on Letting COVID-19 Run Its Course?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

Over the last number of days, I have spoken with a great many people in and out of government. Democrat, Republican, liberal, conservative, young, and old, including doctors and nurses.

To a person, they are scared and want control of their lives back.  Their daily routines, their livelihoods, their life savings, their futures, the welfare of their children, and their mental health are not being negatively affected or even destroyed by the effects of the coronavirus, but rather by the decisions of a handful of elected officials.

At what point do “We the People” have a say in our own fate?

The question a number of these now angry, frightened, and ever terrorized Americans are now asking is: “What if we simply let the Wuhan coronavirus run its course?  Might that ultimately be better than destroying small businesses, corporations, millions of American jobs, life savings, our national structure, and our mental wellbeing?”

I offer up those questions as one in the “high risk” category.

As I write this, the total number of cases of the COVID-19 is still a minute fraction of the Swine flu pandemic which hit our nation and the world in 2009 and 2010.  Back then, when it ran its course, the Swine flu was in 70 countries, infected approximately 1.5 billion people, and killed anywhere between 300,000 to 700,000.

Here in the United States, over 60 million were infected, approximately 300,000 hospitalized, and upwards of 18,000 Americans lost their lives.

And yet, life went on as normal.

Every day now in our media, there are breathless reports about the number of cases of COVID-19 and how many Americans have passed away.  Much of that reporting is only about creating irresponsible, fear-inducing click-bait.

As I write this, approximately 15,000 Americans have tested positive and more importantly, only about 200 have died.

Compare that to the “common flu” now hitting our nation. The CDC estimates that over 31 million Americans have already gotten the flu, approximately 300,000 hospitalized, and between 12,000 to 30,000 have already died. 

This year.  Now.

And yet, as with the Swine flu pandemic in 2009 – 2010, we did not shut the nation down and destroy millions of jobs and the psyches of millions more.

“For our own good,” a handful of politicians and officials have sent our nation into a seemingly suicidal tailspin over the COVID-19.  We have to believe they have the best of intentions.  But with that hope, we are also allowed to ask if the course they are choosing spells imminent doom for the nation.

Again, as these drastic and draconian decisions are being made for us, are “We the People” allowed a say in our own fate and the future wellbeing of our children?

Does the negative fallout and collateral damage of the “war” certain politicians and government officials are now waging against the COVID-19 far-exceed the “benefits?"

As money, safety-nets, hope, and even sanity is lost, how high do the numbers of drug, alcohol, suicide, and crime-related deaths go up?

As control of our own lives and some of our very freedoms are taken from us “for our own good,” do we have the right to make our voices heard?

At the moment, the “experts” in science and medicine seem to agree that just over 80 percent of the people who do get COVID-19 will have mild to no symptoms, around 12 percent will have serious to critical symptoms, and that the fatality rate is flattening out to anywhere between 0.6 to 1.5 percent with the vast majority of those fatalities being elderly with pre-existing conditions.  A report from Harvard just stated that 99 percent will recover.

That stated, more and more Americans are articulating the fear that shutting down our nation, destroying millions of jobs, and wiping out billions in life savings is exponentially worse than letting the virus run its course.

That it may be leading to the suicide of our nation.

As we watch that fear unfold into a reality day-by-day, would it make more sense to immediately return America back to work and back to a “new normal" by increasing the number of medical professionals trained to deal with this pandemic – and those yet to come – and then have them treat the 0.6 to 1.5 percent of the seriously ill within their own homes?

Without the immediate introduction of a vaccine to protect us from the COVID-19, does the strategy of “Herd Immunity,” make the most sense?  That being to let the virus run its course with the proven theory being that once enough people have been exposed, they will develop antibodies and create a natural “herd” immunity that dramatically reduces the threat of the virus.

Obviously, this is not a perfect solution.  But in the absence of any perfect solution and with the literal future of our nation teetering on the edge of total collapse, is letting the virus run its course the best of the options we have at the moment?

Like all previous coronaviruses, the COVID-19 will burn itself out.

Is the “cure” being forced upon us now dangerously worse than the disease?

Authoritarian rule “temporarily” given to leaders, political parties, and governmental organizations is rarely returned to the people and often abused.

The American people themselves should decide their own fate.  Not a handful of politicians.

Should we let the COVID-19 run its course and return the United States back to a new and wiser normal?

Can we hold a national referendum and let the American people decide.

Time is running out for even that option.

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the book:  The Forty Days – A Vision of Christ’s Lost Weeks.

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