This Enemy Has Two Faces

For most of us, we never saw this time in life coming. I personally feel like we have been sucker punched and am not inclined to be generous about the origin of the culprit. Really, it doesn’t matter that I am mad or that you are mad or that a whole bunch of people have reacted strangely to this time of crisis. We are now several weeks into this Coronavirus situation and I am beginning to wonder if we have somehow missed the big picture. Is our quest a noble journey to help our fellow man( and ourselves) avoid an unseen but formidable enemy or are we the definition of over reaction?

Now, before everyone jumps the gun and determines that I am an insensitive louse that cares nothing for his fellow countrymen, let me assure you that I have been doing my time in my home just like most of you have and I haven’t really complained all that much. But, as this story unfolds, the numbers just don’t work for me. I have diligently watched for state and country numbers to roll out and after a few days I just felt like something just isn’t playing out like the national media is touting. So, I started rolling out the trusty calculator and, sure enough, while the numbers look big the percentages are staying the same. Today just over 200 people have tested positive for the virus in Davidson County which houses Nashville. That number is cumulative meaning that it is from the first test several weeks ago till today. Now, Davidson County has nearly 700,000 full time residents, not to mention hundreds of thousands of travelers at any given time. Those testing positive in that county are .02 percent of their population which is way less than 1%. Remember that number just represents those that have tested positive. That does not represent those that are really ill with the virus and need hospital care. In the entire state of Tennessee , as of today, 73 people have been hospitalized. That is over several weeks. If every one of those hospitalized were in Davidson County it would represent 1/10th of 1% of their population. Of course, not all were in Davidson County and not all are still hospitalized. What the numbers tell us is that this is not the time for panic. And, I will go out on the limb here and contend that it is also not the time to wreck our economy. These numbers are not an anomaly. Run the figures for New York,which the national media contend is in crisis mode. If all the positive cases were in New York City it would only account for .615% of the population. That is less than one percent.

Look, I am not contending that this virus is not bad and I know that we have to keep a watch on the availability of hospital beds versus need. But, does it not bare questioning just how many people we are going to impact if we continue to shut down our nation? Stress from the financial fall out of shutting down the economy will cause heat attacks and it will cause mental anguish that will result in an uptick in suicides. We may not have all the data that scientists would like to have on this virus but we do have the data to prove that stress is a killer.

I am not so shortsighted to believe that everyone needs to go back to business as usual. Those that are compromised and our senior population need to proceed with caution. Fortunately, many of those demographics are already retired and they are not losing income. We also need to leave our school children at home because they are certainly germ spreaders. And, for awhile we need to practice social distancing and take extra care in hygiene. But, we also need to restart our nation before we are so far down the rabbit hole that we let panic dictate where common sense should prevail. Will the numbers rise? Most likely. Testing is more widespread and with more tests come more positive outcomes. But the percentages have largely remained the same despite the jump in positive tests.

Maybe it is time to look at this situation county by county. The hard, cold reality is that people need to work so they can feed their families and the longer and further we slide in to a recession the harder it will be on every American, not just those who have complications from Coronavirus. We need to be smart about the coronavirus and we need to be smart about the economy. This has to be a two prong attack because this enemy has two faces. I have no doubt we will survive but the amount of pain must be countered with like progress and a willingness to recover. Remember, strife makes for good headlines and recovery is a choice.

Source: K. Depew, News Director