Once again, I appear to be bombarded with bombastic talking heads spewing an apocalyptic vision …


It’s all about attracting an audience in a highly competitive media landscape, Ears, eyeballs, and clicks all translate to revenue and the media outlet that captures the most attention winds up with the most revenue. Not to mention that these talking-head programs are the cheapest to produce. Thus it behooves media outlets to be sensationalistic and warn everybody about the apocalyptic nature of the coronavirus disease and the possibility that the disruption to everyday life might be extremely severe.

A few thoughts…

Time and space compression... The coronavirus coverage in the media echo chamber is so omnipresent, that an individual's perception often compresses time and space to the point where every outbreak seems to be happening around the corner with ever-increasing frequency. Possibly leading to an unnecessary panic that sees store shelves needlessly emptied, creating supply chain disruptions. 

Preparing for the worst… “U.S. warned to prepare for worst on coronavirus.” This is one of those idiotic self-serving media statements designed to attract attention. Of course, it is common sense to prepare for the worst-case scenario. It is better to have resources in place or easily available than to have no resources at all.

Nobody at the helm… “Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the head of global health security and Biodefense on the White House’s National Security Council, who nominally would have been in charge of leading the national security response to a pandemic left in 2018, and now no one is around to do the job.” Another ludicrous statement. The idea that there is nobody at the helm or that a national response to a pandemic is linked to a particular government official or agency is beyond the pale. The government is awash in leaders, medical experts, and others who can easily transition into any top-level role required and authorized by the President. As with everything political, your local and state authorities have more impact on your individual healthcare than any federal agency. The extent of federal impacts are mostly limited to logistics, moving critically-needed supplies where they are most needed and funding – and even this is conditioned on the political realities of the moment.

The World Health Organization is leading the global response… truth be told, the United Nations’ World Health Organization is little more than another political body that serves as a clearinghouse and reporting agency for global health information. They do not possess the authority to independently investigate serious health issues without an invitation from the appropriate government. Nor do they sanction or publicize outright falsehoods by reporting member nations such as China.

Progressive politicians are both irrational and clueless … “San Francisco Bans Non-Essential Public Gatherings at City Facilities for 2 Weeks” is symptomatic of progressive craziness. San Francisco has a large, mobile homeless population, drug-addicted, in poor health, in close quarters and squalid, unsanitary conditions. An ignored disease vector the city refuses to control under the best of times. From unrestricted travel to openly defecating and urinating on the streets, the homeless are not only among the most vulnerable, but they are the most likely to pass along infectious diseases.

Managing the message… While the media runs wild with its 24/7 echo chamber of sensational headlines and repetitive stories, governmental agencies ponder how much to tell the public. Ostensibly with the objective of preventing panic, government officials are debating the extent of appropriate lying. As if we are all infantile children who must be cared for and nurtured by a benevolent government led by enlightened elites who are capable of superior reasoning and decision-making. Again, truth-be-told, most of the infighting concerns which official will be the face of the crisis and capitalize on media face-time that can improve their name recognition and political futures. The surest way to prevent panic is, to tell the truth and to shun those who have a vested interest in spreading confusion, chaos, and false information.

Optics versus reality… Once again, we see government agencies like the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) in the news. The idea that some TSA screeners can aim a hand-held remote-reading thermometer at your forehead to screen for sick passengers is almost as comical as some of those out-of-shape clueless TSA employees preventing a terrorist attack or stopping contraband from being boarded on an aircraft. What makes this funny is that many TSA agents do not have masks and are thus likely to become contaminated disease vectors – and that the disease is both infectious and asymptomatic during its incubation period. While going ugly early and shutting down travel from problematical origins is politically problematical – we are finding some progressive socialist democrats screaming discrimination and racism. Travel restrictions are still among the best methods for curtailing the spread of communicable diseases.

Buzzwords and acronyms… What would be the value of a widespread crisis if it did not spawn acronyms like COVID-19 and buzzwords like “social distancing.” For those unfamiliar with the term “social distancing” it is used in two contexts: one, the voluntary choice of avoiding interactions in places where people congregate; and two, actions taken by public health officials to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease by restricting access to mass venues. Another buzzword you are likely to encounter is "infodemic," the flood of false and misleading statements about the coronavirus. 

Reality… As far as I can tell, most people who contract COVID-19 cannot distinguish it from a cold or ordinary flu. And, that the cohort most at risk is senior citizens, and especially people with underlying comorbidities (other diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary problems like COPD, and compromised immune systems), and crappy medical care. Since we do not really know how many people actually contracted COVID-19 rather than the flu or a simple cold, it is hard to determine its lethality. However, we do know it is highly infectious and contagious. To be noted is the fact that most Chinese men are heavy smokers and start young – thus producing a susceptible population, especially in areas where open-air markets are disease vectors in and of themselves.

The one question I do not hear asked... Perhaps they do not want to upset their major advertisers, but the one question I do not see being asked by the media is about "biologics," drugs that suppress or activate components of the immune system. You know, all of those drugs advertised in the media with the warning about side effects -- "including an increased risk of infections -- including TB and various cancers."

China and global responsibility... one video of the open-air markets in many areas of China would be enough to make an ordinary person demand that the country take precautions to protect other global citizens or suffer the consequences of a global quarantine. It is true that most flu originates in the nation with the most population and primitive health practices.

Bottom line…

With no drug or vaccine available, it appears the only effective measures one can take against the coronavirus are hygiene and quarantine. And, with an inadequate number of test kits, it is difficult or impossible to develop reliable statistics on how many people have been infected, how lethal and widespread the virus may be. Not to mention the lack of self-reporting by otherwise healthy individuals who self-diagnose as having a cold or rather ordinary flu.

Whatever happened to the facilities and plans developed at great expense for Ebola, SARS, MERS, H1N1 Swine Flu, and others? And what happens if the virus mutates into a more virulent form?

Nothing like an excellent pandemic to create profitable market churn and place global climate change in the proper perspective.

Get your Flu shot (even though it appears relatively ineffective this season), more importantly, your pneumonia shots, keep hydrated, and get plenty of rest. And don't be complacent.

Be well.

-- steve

P.S. And, for you progressive socialist democrat whack-jobs, this is not a Trump conspiracy to keep Democrats from voting in November.

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell