Opinion

Coronavirus Hysteria: The Need for Perspective

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Posted: Mar 12, 2020 10:32 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Coronavirus Hysteria: The Need for Perspective

Source: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The world is about to end.

The 21st century version of the Black Plague is on the move.

No one is safe.

If you’ve failed to see through the mass hysteria being whipped up daily by the usual suspects in the media for what it is—hysteria—then, undoubtedly, these are the kinds of thoughts that roam about your brain.

That Covid-19, the so-called “Corona Virus” or “Wuhan flu,” is in fact a real phenomenon is unquestionable. Yet it bears no similarity whatsoever to the cataclysmic depiction of it that opportunists in the media and elsewhere tirelessly labor to ensconce into the psyches of American citizens.

The Guardian recently sought to mitigate the media-manufactured hysteria by noting the following facts that it collected from several scientists.   

In the way of encouragement, these experts noted the rapidity with which the virus was identified (seven days from the first announcement of it on December 31).  A mere three days after that, the gene sequence became available.

Now, contrast this with HIV, which took scientists two years to identify after it first appeared. 

Only three days after the gene sequence became available, scientists from Rotterdam, London, and Hong Kong met in Berlin with their colleagues at the department of virology at Charite University Hospital.   Together, they succeeded in devising a means by which to test people for the coronavirus. 

Over 80 percent of all cases of the coronavirus remain confined to China—but even here it is confined to clusters of areas.  Moreover, as of March 5, 120 new cases were reported in Wuhan (where the virus originated)—the lowest number in six weeks. 

And for the first time since the virus’s outbreak, there were zero new cases in Hubei province.    

Several other provinces have gone weeks without reporting any new cases, and those of their schools that closed are now reopening. 

The virus can be contained.  China has proven this. 

The coronavirus is not as easily transmissible as people believe. One is at high-risk of contracting the virus only if one lives with someone who has it, is sneezed, coughed upon, or otherwise comes into immediate physical contact with an infected person. Also, the virus can be passed from one person to another if the two are about six feet away for approximately 15 minutes.

In other words, no one is picking up the virus from a passerby on the street.

And since ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach is sufficient to disinfect surfaces contaminated by the virus, “we can kill it quite easily.”

In the vast majority of cases in, of all places, China, where four out of five instances of the Corona virus are to be found, symptoms are mild.  “According to a study of 45,000 confirmed infections in China, 81% of cases caused only minor illness, 14% of patients had symptoms described as ‘severe,’ and just 5% were considered ‘critical,’” The Guardian report states. 

As much as half of this small minority of patients in critical condition survived.   

To put it another way, even in China, the mortality rate of the coronavirus isn’t much more than 2 percent.   

But these gross numbers fail to provide the whole story: In China, merely 3 percent of cases involved people younger than 20 years of age, children appear not to be affected by it all, and those under 40 have a mortality rate of 0.2 percent.

The elderly are more susceptible to contracting the virus, particularly if they have pre-existing heart and lung conditions. 

At the time of this writing, on a planet that is home to about 7 billion human beings, there are 119,303 confirmed cases of coronavirus. Of these, 4,290 people have died. Yet 64,411 have made a full recovery. 

Tim Constantine, writing at The Washington Times, puts the coronavirus in perspective.  He notes that “in just a few short weeks of the 2018-2019 winter season, the flu had sickened between 6 and 7 million Americans.” Of these, “between 69,000 and 84,000 had been hospitalized.”

In 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 49 million Americans contracted the flu.  About 960,000 were hospitalized.

More than 80,000 died

Let this register: The number of Americans to have died from the flu in 2018 is 20 times greater than that of all of the human beings on the planet to have died from coronavirus.

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor of Harvard Health Publishing, informs us of how “important” it is “to recognize that the most threatening virus in this country right now isn’t 2019-nCoV—it’s the flu.”   

Steven F. Hotze, M.D., agrees.   Citing the CDC, Dr. Hotze tells us that between October and February 22, there have been 45 million cases of the flu in the United States, 560,000 hospitalizations, and 46,000 fatalities.

In glaring contrast, as of March 7, in a country of 330 million people, there have been—wait for it—164 cases of the coronavirus in America, with 11 dying from it.  All who died were high-risk patients.

Dr. Hotze also points out that in China, where there exists about 80,000 instances of the coronavirus (which, remember, constitutes about 80 percent of all cases from around the planet), this amounts to just 1 in 20,000 Chinese who have contracted the virus, for China has a population of 1.5 billion people.  

He adds: “Around 150 million Chinese would have to contract the coronavirus illness to reach the same proportion of Americans—10 percent—who had the flu last season.”

In fact, given that China is a communist country with Third World conditions for most of its citizenry, Hotze contends that the actual mortality rate in China is almost definitely far lower than that which it is speculated to be at present, for most people who have the virus, given the mildness of their symptoms, may not know that they have it.  Many others, not wanting to be quarantined, may refuse to reveal their sickness.

Hotze shares another critical fact that we are not likely to hear from the American media: In terms of their symptoms, duration, and target populations, the coronavirus and the flu are profoundly alike.

“The symptoms of the coronavirus and the flu are similar; fever, body aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, sinus and chest congestion, and in some cases, shortness of breath.  For most people who get the flu or the coronavirus, the symptoms usually resolve within a week.  The infirmed elderly and those who are debilitated health-wise, with severe lung, heart disease, or diabetes tend to be the individuals who experience serious problems when they contract the flu, or the coronavirus.” 

Yet, crucially, Hotze adds:

“If you have these symptoms, then the odds of your having the coronavirus are slim and none. You have the flu until proven otherwise” (emphasis added). 

Responsible and rational people know that it isn’t the coronavirus from which we have to fear.  It is the irresponsible and irrational people who have already hurt untold numbers of people through their fear-mongering and hysterics who currently pose the gravest threat to our world.