I'm a High-Risk Person, and I Object to the Coronavirus Panic

One of the most unforgettable moments in the movie Braveheart takes place after William Wallace has been betrayed, captured by his enemy Edward Longshanks, and condemned to death by torture.  His lover Princess Isabelle visits him in prison and begs Wallace to confess and pledge his allegiance to King Edward, saying, "You will die.  It will be awful."  Wallace responds, "Every man dies.  Not every man truly lives."

This should not be news to you — we're all going to die.  The only question is whether we will die soon or sometime later.  From the moment of your birth, the mortal clock began to tick, and so began the number of your days.  If we live in constant fear of death, we will die in miserable loneliness.

The late great Michael Crichton became famous for writing novels like Jurassic Park, The Terminal Man, The Andromeda Strain, and Westworld, books that blended his ability to integrate his understanding of leading-edge medical and technological advances produced by scientific research into a spell-binding plot for a thrilling novel.  In 2004, Crichton had his novel State of Fear published.  The suspense-thriller portrayed "climate change" alarmists as criminals trying to induce panic among the general public in order to manipulate and control the behavior of billions of people for profit.

Critics attacked the book because they correctly recognized that Crichton had eviscerated the popular "global warming" movement two years before Al Gore starred in An Inconvenient Truth and five years prior to the Climategate scandal that exposed an apparent conspiracy to hide the decline in global temperatures.

Remarkably, sixteen years after Crichton exposed what Climategate confirmed, which is that human activity can have a detrimental impact on the environment, even today, during the midst of a global panic about the coronavirus, climate activists are still  trying to stoke the fears of climate change because, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.  While people are already scared out of their minds, it's a great opportunity to leverage the general sense of fear into concern about their pet issue.  Teen activist Greta Thunberg said, "In a crisis we change our behavior and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society" and then revealed that as a result of her extensive travel around central Europe, she thought she probably had contracted COVID-19 and has since recovered.

Likewise, former President Barack Obama chimed in and said, "We've seen all too terribly the consequences of those who denied warnings of a pandemic.  We can't afford any more consequences of climate denial" but perhaps Mr. Obama shouldn't be so hard on himself.  Even the biased and liberal-slanted USA Today had to acknowledge that Obama allowed the national stockpile of N95 masks to be depleted during the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and never replenished them, even while trying to mitigate the blame by saying Trump had demonstrated gross misjudgment by failing to prepare for a large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease.  It's easy to second-guess someone long after the fact.

Is that what this coronavirus outbreak is — a large-scale outbreak?  Let's look at the numbers.  The state of Georgia has a population of 10.52 million people.  As of this writing on Good Friday, Georgia has had a total of 11,483 confirmed cases and 416 deaths.  For the sake of comparison, consider that 1,505 people were killed in automobile accidents in 2019.

It is helpful to remember that according to some reports, every person who dies after being diagnosed with coronavirus is counted as a death by coronavirus, which inflates the statistics on virus deaths.  And please recall in 2018, a whopping 28,544 abortions were performed in Georgia.  Indeed, every man will die, but not everyone will be given the opportunity to live.

I will admit to my embarrassment that I have not always chosen to attend church on Easter Sunday, but never in my lifetime have I been denied the opportunity to attend Easter services because all the churches are going to be closed.  Our nation is currently paralyzed by fear that has largely been inspired by the same sort of computer simulation models used to predict abrupt, catastrophic climate change requiring the same sort of panicked, knee-jerk reaction we're currently seeing toward COVID-19.

According to the statistical models, I'm considered in the high-risk category for coronavirus because I've had asthma since my birth, now almost sixty years ago.  Statistics have shown that people of my age and older with pre-existing health conditions are most vulnerable to coronavirus and most susceptible to dying from it.  Let me be abundantly clear: I have no imminent desire to die and no reason to believe that I won't have several more decades of life to enjoy, but I do not want any extension of my life to come at the expense of everyone else.

Until it gets a little warmer, I'm perfectly willing to wear the N-95 mask and plastic gloves I found in my workshop when I go out to shop at the store because I don't want to die anytime soon.  However, I don't want to spend the rest of my life as a prisoner in my own home.  I don't want younger and healthier people to suffer endlessly because I might be at a slightly higher risk than the vast majority of our population.  I want to be able to go to church and take communion this Sunday.  I want to go out to eat in a restaurant.  I want to see the Atlanta Braves play baseball.  I want to watch Georgia play Alabama in football on September 19.  I want to play tennis and get more exercise than walking my dogs.

I wasn't a math major, but I know from taking a class or two in statistics that if you divide the number of infections by the total population of Georgia, you should be able to calculate the probability of encountering a contagious person with coronavirus, and 11,483 divided by 10.52 million means about a 0.001 chance, or 1 in a 1,000 chance, of even bumping into someone with the virus.  If I'm wearing personal protective equipment and wash my hands frequently, the chances of my catching the virus are further diminished.

The bottom line is simply this: the damage to our economy isn't worth the additional risk to my own life.  Statistically speaking, I'm equally if not more likely to die in a traffic accident or of a heart attack than coronavirus.  We're all going to die sooner or later.  It's never been a question of "if," but "where," "when," and "how."

In the movie The Wrath of Khan, Mr. Spock chooses to sacrifice himself to save the crew of the USS Enterprise, telling Captain Kirk, "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Not being as smart or eloquent as Mr. Spock, I probably would have just said, "I'm willing to take one for the team." Quite frankly, I loathe the idea of being held hostage by a computer program that hasn't even been in the ballpark on its predictions so far.  And if I'm wrong, I'll be the one paying the price, right?

America needs to get back to work.  My personal needs are not more important than the rest of society.  Reopening the economy for the benefit of all is worth the risk I'm willing to take.

John Leonard is a freelance writer and most recently editor of the Rootstock series of epic fantasy novels.  You may find him on Facebook or contact him through his website at southernprose.com.