Way back before the time of Corona, in the toilet paper rich days of 2014, I wrote a book. In a sub-plot in that book, the bad guys hatched a plan to infect America during the flu season with a super-virulent weaponized strain of virus who’s deadly effect would go unnoticed amidst the normal flu until the long incubation period hit and the US medical system was swamped. Elements of the weaponized bug came from China. The bad guys plan was to inflict 100 million casualties on an America, who’s citizens were already coughing, sneezing and achy.
Of course, being my story, everything doesn’t go so well for the bad guys. No less than a cheating wife and irate husband, disrupt this dastardly plan. The result is that the plot resulted in only 25,000 additional deaths more than the normal 50,000 fatalities that any flu season inflicts on America.
But interestingly enough, in that same book, misinformation and a willful acceptance of a scary national emergency, is promulgated through the ‘eager-to-report-a-disaster” press and the powers who stand to gain from a crisis. Namely, the news and media, genetically incapable of not scaring the living daylights out of its viewers, is in all their glory. They accomplished this with overwrought speculation on a loose suitcase nuke. A real threat, but nowhere near the sensationalism practiced by a rating’s hungry media. One suitcase nuke is one too many, but 1,000 stories a week on the one nuke leaves people with the impression that there are a thousand loose nukes out there. This is the heart of creating a panic. I am not trying to start any crap here, but this plot is more relevant to what going on now than the current virus among us.
We are scaring ourselves to death…. Normally that’s my job!
Here’s an example: Last week, on Tuesday, the death rate of Corona COVID-19 virus was believed to be 3.4 percent. (Note: the regular old, every day, common place, everybody’s bored with flu has a death rate of .1 percent.*) If anyone cared it could have been also expressed as 34 times more deadly than your run-of the-mill flu. (but nobody referred to it like that on Tuesday.)
Then, the very next day, good news; “Scientists” released incredible news. With more data available from American cases and other countries in the world, they were able to down grade the death percentage. In fact, they announced that the corona’s 3.4% was now 1% – or less than one third the previously feared promoted and severe death rate. Instead of 3.4 people, out of every hundred infected, dying, only 1 in 100 will die.
You’d expect the following headlines:
CORONA LESS DEADLY BY ONE THIRD!
CORONA DEATH NUMBER FALSELY REPORTED AS HIGH!
NEW HOPE AS SCIENTIST LOWER EXPECTED DEATHS FROM COVID-19
But nah…. No such luck, good news in the time of panic is not allowed… so the geniuses we trust for our news decided on this headline:
CORONA 10 TIMES MORE DEADLY THAT THE COMMON FLU!
Somewhere deep in the article, if you bothered to do the math, you could infer that the previously, erroneous, fearful number of 3.4%, was actually worse than the new 1% figure. But the headline already stopped your heart, so who gave a crap.
And so, it stands, 10 TIMES the death rate. No one points out the bad old days when it was 34 times the death rate… no ratings, profits or control in that.
Look, 10 times is still deadly serious and should be respected. We should all do what we can to minimize the spread, not just for us but for our most vulnerable citizens. But the tendency to keep the news bad and keep the panic going is horrible.
I wonder if the Corona news will magically get better when the networks figure out the millions they will lose as the suspended seasons of the NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA, MLB all create hundreds of hours of “dead air” with no advertising revenue?
*In the regular old, who gives a damn flu, up to 60 million Americans are infected each year. The .1 percent death rate means we lose 60,000 Americans in a normal year.