The dangerous, overly hyped coronavirus scare

Enough already. We're into a full-blown global panic over the coronavirus epidemic/pandemic. Let's sit down, get a glass of water and calmly consider an alternative theory that I propose.

This will get me labeled "anti-science," but please  think about it:

Why are Coronavirus infections popping up with no apparent connection to the China outbreak? These are people who haven't been to China or who had no contact with anyone who has. How did the coronavirus spread to these isolated cases?

Here's my theory. The Coronavirus has been with us longer than we imagined. It has widely spread just like other viruses that target humans. Before that highly publicized outbreak in China, we just didn't know it. And seemingly with no loss to our prosperity, health and travels. Infections and, possibly, any deaths were written off as the usual: “Acute respiratory distress.'

Only a few health care providers and scientists recognized the cause of the illness as Coronavirus. For example, here is a March 2019 scientific paper that identified the virus. The difference between then and now? The earlier identification didn't receive the massive, panic-inducing media coverage that we're seeing now.

It finally got noticed because of the colossal bungling by the central Communist government in China that produced such huge numbers. The media pounded and rushed into full-panic mode. Especially the cable news networks. Every possible angle at every possible moment. Scaring the bejabbers out of everyone. We're doomed! Doomed I say!

Talking heads duel over whether it's a epidemic or a pandemic. Direct from trading floors, blood is spilled. Shelves are emptied of disinfectants. Face masks everywhere. Maps covered with red dots tracking discovered infections. Trips cancelled, businesses shutting down. Retirement savings in 401Ks emptied. Blame placers demand, "Where is the plan? We need a plan. Somebody do something!" Handshaking and other human contact shunned.

Hey, this isn't the black death, with bodies covered in boils oozing blood and rotting in the streets. Fear itself is becoming more devastatingly consequential than the Coronavirus itself. If you don't think so, wait and see companies go belly up because they have lost customers, had their supply chain blocked or shut down production facilities. How many breadwinners will lose their jobs?

All this, astonishingly, before we even know how fatal Coronavirus-caused disease is. Estimates of the percentage of fatalities among the infected includes the huge numbers of deaths in China, but doesn't include the big numbers who have been infected and recovered without notice because they were never diagnosed with the disease.

In fact, the flu is deadlier. Some 61,000 deaths were linked to the flu virus in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 34,200 in the  2018-2019 season. From Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1 this year 12,000 people have died from it with the number of deaths possibly reaching  30,000. As of this writing, 22 Americans have died from Coronavirus. 

As a nation, we are out of control, running down the street waving our hands and screaming, "the virus is coming, the virus is coming!"

It's already become reminiscent of the 1929 stock market crash that threw open the doors of hell throw which we plunged into the Great Depression.

No, I'm not saying that this isn't a serious public health problem requiring vast efforts and money to conquer it. Nor do I suggest we ignore the people who have or will die.

But the damage we are doing to ourselves is historic. 

My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • So, it's all because of the Chi-Coms and the media? I guess that is as good as any other conspiracy theory.

  • That's not what I said.

  • You have an interesting angle, here, Dennis, and I'm writing as a science teacher's daughter and avid detective-story reader, "Acute respiratory distress" never had a virus name on it before, and I've seen and heard several reports saying that the reports of cases of COVID-19 are likely to go up on particular days because testing has become more available. More tests mean more people testing positive.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    True that. A larger base of the tested is needed before we can more confidently say just how fatal it is.

  • One difference between SARS and MERS and this current coronavirus is the R0 factor -- contagion factor. It is believed that this current virus has an infection rate of 2.5 - 4.1 vs lower ratios for the former.

    Another difference is that the virus spreads from asymptomatic people when SARS/MERS spread from symptomatic people.

    When it is all over we will probably find that the CFR (death rate) is probably around .5 - 6 percent, lower than SARS/MERS and much greater than the common flu (.1) It's the number of infected all at once and the collapse of health care systems that may force some horrible triage.

    Speaking of triage, we have an over-hyping and politicized media, bumbling government officials and a few -- very few-- medical professionals who are providing good advice. Here's one:

  • fb_avatar

    Thanks for some common sense. Unfortunately there is little of that around these days.

  • Covid-19 is a novel coronavirus. It has not been around longer than we imagined. So you have a "hunch". Sounds familiar.

  • Have you heard the latest conspiracy theory? The New York Times is reporting today that "China is pushing a new theory about the origins of the coronavirus: It is an American disease that might have been introduced by members of the United States Army who visited Wuhan in October." Of course, as with other conspiracy theories, there is no evidence in support of it.

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