This is an opinion article.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something else comes along.
So goes the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures government bodies in America from the largest to the smallest are taking in response. I’m washing my hands more, using sanitizer and keeping my distance from other folks as much as possible.
But I think shutting down government and canceling all events is just too much. Here’s why.
From what we’ve been told about COVID-19, 90% of the folks who get it will have symptoms that mimic a cold and not a terribly severe one at that. Some people infected with COVID-19 won’t even realize they have it.
I’ve said all along that it’s like a bad flu with no vaccine. Granted, it is more contagious than the flu. For the elderly and those with a compromised immune system – doctors call it a “co-morbidity” – COVID-19 can be devastating, even fatal. But the death rate has been estimated at less than 1%.
I don’t want to sound cruel or calloused, but a lot of people die of the flu every year. It’s just a fact. You don’t see mass hysteria over that.
Sometimes, it seems, the cure is worse than the disease. I think that might be the case with the current shutdown of everything, not just in Marshall County, but nationwide.
The economy is taking a tremendous hit. A lot of people are going to be hurting, not necessarily from COVID-19 but financially.
In the end, you might not even know someone who came down with COVID-19 or — heavens forbid — died from the virus. But you are going to know people who lost their job and, subsequently, lost their home or a car or something else because of the economic shutdown.
I asked a couple of trusted friends in government if I was all wet in suggesting we’d gone too far. They assured me I was not. But they reminded me that a lot of the guidance is coming down from the federal government. There is some fear among government officials at the local level that they could lose out on federal grant dollars if they do nothing.
First we were told to stay away from crowds of 500 or more. Then they said 50 or more. Then 10 or more. If they drop the number much lower, I won’t be able to go home as my family of 4 will constitute a group that is too large.
It sounds silly, but that’s the kind of madness that is going on right now.
Nasty bugs have been coming out of Asia for more than a century. Each one threatens to wipe us out, we’re told. It may happen eventually, but I don’t think COVID-19 is it and I think we’ve overreacted, with the self-isolation cure causing more hurt than help.
Let’s hope this all passes soon and a little common sense will return so we can at least salvage the spring and early summer.
Keep washing your hands and sanitizing, keep your distance from others in social settings and tell your older relatives to stay at home. But don’t let fear rule your life. Use a little common sense like you would in a bad cold and flu season.
The sky is not falling from COVID-19. But the economic fallout from the prevention measures are certain to hurt us for some time to come.
Anthony Campbell is managing editor for The Advertiser Gleam in Guntersville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.