A lot is going on these days. Sometimes it feels like we’re in a Twilight Zone or the movie Groundhog Day. It’s an election year but you almost wouldn’t know it.
Since Trump was impeached all we’ve heard about is the Coronavirus. Like a bad dream or out of town visitor that won’t leave, we’ve been spinning our wheels, stuck in the mud, wondering when are we going to move on. The level of fear that has been cast upon our nation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It’s gotten to the point where nothing else matters, life has to stand still, no one can go back to work unless deemed essential and everyone has to wear a mask, like it or not.
I could have written about several political topics that are begging for attention. Conspiracy theories regarding Obamagate and Michael Flynn are dominating conservative news channels and all but ignored by others.
Senators who are under investigation for profiting off of classified information. Nursing home deaths in New York are no longer being counted due to a reporting change by a Governor who loves to give daily press briefings but refuses to accept responsibility for his actions that led to over 4,500 deaths in those same nursing homes. In typical political fashion, Cuomo now claims he was following guidance from Trump’s CDC directive. Florida has the largest elderly population in the country and nowhere near the number of nursing home deaths that have occurred in New York or New Jersey.
That’s because their governor placed immediate protective restrictions on nursing homes and provided them with protective equipment. Half of all COVID-19 deaths in this country have occurred in nursing homes and amongst the elderly.
A simple suggestion for how to bring back America is to focus on the economy. There is enough data out there on this virus that shows the death rate is a fraction of those who become infected. What that death rate does not include are people who die without the virus but because of it.
What do I mean?
Think of every preventative treatment that has been blocked because those screenings or procedures were deemed nonessential. How much time has been lost over the past few months that could have led to early detection?
How about drug and alcohol abuse?
Sales of alcohol and marijuana have been deemed essential. Alcoholic anonymous meetings and mental therapy sessions have been banned.
It doesn’t take a genius to see how a recovering or functioning alcoholic or drug addict who lost their job and has no one to turn to for support can drink or drug themselves to poverty and death.
Death by suicide.
Imagine you are a New York City taxi medallion holder. The value of that medallion was worth 25% of what you paid for it due to a sudden influx of rideshare companies. Now you can’t even work because people are scared to visit the city or leave their apartments. Those suicides that were increasing over the past few years will not be attributed to COVID-19 but should be. Add to that all of the business owners who lost their business and life savings because they were deemed nonessential and you can see how deadly the effects of this virus truly are.
What about the human factor?
There have been reports of domestic violence and divorce rates increasing. Elderly patients who are being abused in nursing homes now have no one to check up on them. With schools being closed, children cannot play with their friends and are forced to stay in homes that are not always safe. With tensions rising in households that are prone to domestic violence, the added stress of unemployment, alcoholism, and being confined with a person you only live with for economic reasons can be devastating.
The first step, besides allowing schools to reopen and everyone who wants to go back to work the freedom to do so is to change our approach to governing. That means our elected leaders need to stop legislating from a place of fear and practice what they preach. What does that mean?
Data and science.
Every governor said the initial quarantine approach was instituted with the hopes of flattening the curve. For the majority of the country, that goal has been achieved. Dr. Fauci himself, when being interviewed by CNBC this past Friday said staying closed for too long could cause irreparable damage. He said the U.S. had to institute severe measures because COVID-19 cases were exploding but now is the time, depending upon where you are and what your situation is, to open.
This is the same Dr. Fauci who while being interviewed by Vanity Fair last month said you can go on a Tinder date if you’re willing to take a relative risk. What does that tell you?
Everything we do in life has an inherent amount of risk. The type of food we eat. Whether or not we exercise. Driving to work. Driving while fatigued. Drinking and driving. Getting on a plane. Getting into a fight. Swimming in the ocean. Going on a blind date. Life and risk go hand in hand. You can’t live a life without taking a measured amount of risk. Our approach to how we deal with the Coronavirus should be no different.
Not everyone who gets the Coronavirus dies from it. I’ve known several people who were infected with it. They ran high fevers and had all of the symptoms associated with it.
They tested positive and were told by their physicians to take Tylenol, isolate themselves, and get some rest.
The people who I’ve heard of that passed away from it had pre-existing conditions.
The most common statement of defense of the continued approach of phased reopening and mass quarantine is that it helps to save lives. On May 6, 2020 Governor Cuomo said, “It was shocking” when he heard that most new Coronavirus hospitalizations (66%) were from people who were staying home.
I also find it ironic that the same people who claim one life lost due to the Coronavirus is one too many have no problem with late-term and after-birth abortions. They have no problem releasing convicted criminals and arresting people who want to go to work. They promote sanctuary cities for people who are here illegally but will give you a fine and lock you up if you go to a party or church. You are not allowed to do your job but they continue receiving taxpayer-funded salaries for doing theirs. Some members of Congress have no problem with essential workers risking their lives but do not believe they should have to take the same risks. The level of hypocrisy is astounding.
Our elected leaders and everyone else on the White House Coronavirus task force do not have all of the answers. No one expects them to. They are only human and are trying their best to deal with a never been seen before, once a century pandemic. The job is not easy. The decisions they have and will make will have lasting repercussions. No one envy’s the position they are in.
Sometimes, the hardest decisions are made easy when you keep the solution simple.
Every person who holds a public office took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. Our Constitution also includes a Bill of Rights. Every guiding principle that this great nation of ours was founded on can be found in it. Most notably, the right of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere in those rights does it say the government will defend you against risk, only enemies domestic and abroad. While Trump may refer to COVID-19 as an invisible army, it’s not: just another infectious disease.
The way we bring America back to greatness, the kind where prosperity is abundant and envied the world over, is to focus on what has made us great all along. Our willingness to take risks. The kind where we explored new lands, traveled to outer space. Not because we were afraid of what might happen but because we were inspired by what could be. Our country will become great when our leaders replace fear with hope and inspire a nation of people towards a future of what can be. If the current approach of hiding in our homes until a vaccine is found continues, the tax revenue base will shrivel up and we will borrow and print our way to hyperinflation, similar to Venezuela. While some may see the failed socialist state as a utopia, one only needs to ask those who seek refuge from there on why they chose to flee. With unemployment numbers reaching an amount similar to the Great Depression, many businesses are filing for bankruptcy. Those jobs will not be coming back. It’s up to the people in charge to stand up for the people of this country, put politics aside, and get America back to work. Once that economic engine gets going, nothing will stop us from making America, America once again.