Hysteria is a funny thing. For rational people, it is a complete puzzle. We see people lose all ability to assess a situation correctly and view everything through the prism of fear. We just shake our heads in amazement.
Worse still is that when you gently point out to them that they are being hysterical, they lash out in anger.
Thus the weekend was passed here and in the United States with people trying to reclaim some normalcy in their lives by going to parks and beaches and other people fretting about the idiocy of those activities.
Too many people – and this includes health officials and policy makers – can no longer function rationally and have lost the ability to assess relative risk.
In the United States, for example, a milestone of sorts was reached. One hundred thousand people have died from the coronavirus pandemic which began in Wuhan, China.
That sounds like a scary number and certainly the American press is treating it like a scary number, but is it?
First off, the number is likely inflated. As Dr. Deborah Birx noted recently the number is probably a full 25 per cent higher than it should be because it includes suspected COVID deaths and many deaths occurred in people with comorbidities.
Beyond that, however, is that this death toll is not that much greater than last year’s flu season. According to the Center of Disease Control, 80,000 American succumbed to the flu last winter.
The odd thing, of course, is that hardly anyone batted an eye when 80,000 people died.
Nor was the 80,000 death toll particularly high. In 1969, 100,000 people dies from the Hong Kong flu and the population was 200 million, so the proportion of people dying was actually much higher than either last year’s death toll or the current pandemic.
I would be very much surprised if anyone who was alive in 1969 even remembers there was a flu pandemic then.
Yet here we are in lockdown and some people, including health officials and politicians, would like us all to remain in lockdown until such time as a vaccine is found.
It is nonsense, says Yoram Lass, former director of Israel’s Health Ministry:
“Coronavirus comes very fast, but it also goes away very fast. The influenza wave is shallow as it takes three months to pass, but coronavirus takes one month. If you count the number of people who die in terms of excess mortality – which is the area under the curve – you will see that during the coronavirus season, we have had an excess mortality which is about 15 per cent larger than the epidemic of regular flu in 2017.
Compared to that rise, the draconian measures are of biblical proportions. Hundreds of millions of people are suffering. In developing countries many will die from starvation. In developed countries many will die from unemployment. Unemployment is mortality. More people will die from the measures than from the virus. And the people who die from the measures are the breadwinners. They are younger. Among the people who die from coronavirus, the median age is often higher than the life expectancy of the population. What has been done is not proportionate. But people are afraid. People are brainwashed. They do not listen to the data. And that includes governments.”
But if you are a government employee with a guaranteed salary or a someone who can work from home, the secondary and tertiary effects of the pandemic are of little concern. You can afford to indulge your hysteria.
The working class can ill afford to lose income and the ability to keep a roof over their head and feed their families.
When the final analysis of the pandemic is done months from now, I would not be surprised to learn that the deaths caused by the lockdown exceeded those caused by the virus itself.
The thing is though is that it will have been the working class and the poor who did the dying and no one in the chattering class will care.
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