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Simon Sobo Writing

A collection of opinion pieces and chapters from his novels

Are We Overreacting?

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It’s ironic that as of now Wuhan is the only safe place to be. The epidemic did it’s horrendous damage but now with most people having been exposed there is widespread immunity. This is the usual way that epidemics come to a close. It will take us longer because of our decision to spread it out so that the hospitals are not overwhelmed but eventually we will get there.

Everyone is pissed at those millennials who are living it up. They will pay the price. But if they are careful, not spreading it to the older generation, most of them will have a relatively easy time of it and might actually do something that is positive for society. They will get infected, a few will get very sick but most won’t and they will be able to go back to work far sooner than those who have not yet had it. I don’t mean this to be a compliment for them but it is nevertheless true that some good may come out of it.

The above consideration points in a direction that is not being raised. It has become politically correct on both the left and the right to spare nothing to try to delay the disease. The explanation is we are trying to avoid the horrible situation in Italy where the medical system was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers. If we can delay the spread it gives us a fighting chance. There is also the possibility that with enough time better ways of treating the virus may emerge.

On the other hand, some are predicting that eventually 70% of the population will be infected. So, with the exception of the pluses gained from stalling the epidemic, most people are going to get sick and close to the same number will die.

Many people in Wuhan are safely going back to work. This is after 1-2 months of shutdown. It looks like we won’t be in this position for 3,4, 5 months. Our strategy is compassionate. The hell with our economy is, at first blush, the only option. It may set us back years, put many companies out of business that were labors of love, or at least very hard work, but it is the right thing.

There is one other perspective that isn’t being considered. Nearly 1.25 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287 deaths a day. An additional 20-50 million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44. Given these numbers why are we comparably frightened? Corona has so far killed 12,955 people world wide, 4825 in Italy. If we double that, or quadruple it, or estimate that there will be 10 times that amount before we are finished, we are still looking at a comparatively small number compared to deaths from automobiles. I feel for the grief felt by families of those who have lost their life. I can understand the fear we all feel, but if we are adding another few months to the devastation being done to our economy, and the number of people that will be saved as a result of the delay turns out not to be the monumental number we are all hoping for, is our current policy the wisest? Would we be better off protecting the old and vulnerable with the trillions of dollars being thrown around, but let the worse happen quickly to get it over and done with so that we can return to work and normalize the country?

Just a thought.

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