Media-produced coronavirus fear is killing our country

The media's incredibly irresponsible "shock and awe" reporting on the coronavirus has created a monumental stampede of fear and panic, which is a million times more damaging than the virus itself.

Here are two facts that say it all:

Fact #1.  Deaths in the U.S. from influenza from 1950 to 2017 ranged from 13.5 to 53.7 per 100,000.

Fact #2. Deaths in the U.S. (as of this writing) from the coronavirus are 14.9 per 100,000. Bear in mind that this number includes "probable" deaths as well as confirmed deaths from the coronavirus.

To sum this up, the per capita deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus are lower than the per capita deaths from the flu in almost every year from 1950 to 2017.  The highest number of deaths from the flu per capita was in 1960.  Deaths that year were 53.7 per 100,000, well over three times as high as the coronavirus.  These are the facts, not crazy media hype.  Please check them out for yourself.  Incidentally, the per capita death rate from what the hysterical media love to call a "global pandemic" is 2.4 per 100,000.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force's newest model predicts that coronavirus deaths could reach 60,000.  It currently stands at 49,000.  Even if that number were to double to 98,000, it would still be much lower than all the per capita flu deaths from 1950 to 1998.

In light of these facts, why are the media on what appears to be a crusade to spread fear and panic throughout the land?  Their non-stop, 24/7 hysterical reporting has produced a tsunami of fear and panic, creating a domino effect that has shut down hundreds of thousands of businesses, severely damaged our economy, closed our schools, closed our places of worship, and put 22 million Americans out of work.  I'm not saying the media are trying to destroy the country, but they certainly are behaving as if that were their intention.

The fear-mongers say "social distancing" (translation: shutting down the country) is the way to fight the virus.  We've never shut down our country in the past to fight a virus, even though the death rates were far higher that the coronavirus rate is now.  We've always taken care of the sick but continued to work.  We've kept our country alive and vibrant.  Viruses, illness, and death are a part of life, but life must go on.

There are other countries that are not shutting down their economies as a way to fight the coronavirus — for example, Sweden.  They have not closed their economy, and they are faring just as well as or better than many of their European counterparts that have put severe restrictions on their people and their economies.

If we used "social distancing" (shutting down the country) whenever a virus came around in the past, our country as we know it would not exist.  We would have been reduced to the level of a very poor third-world country long ago, and that will certainly happen if we shut down our country to fight every new virus that shows up in the future (as pundits are already predicting).

Yes, the fear-mongers are already saying the coronavirus will make a return this winter.  If it does, are we going to respond the same way: "shelter in place," hide under the bed, and close down the country?  If we continue to do this, our country will surely be doomed.

Leslie Taha is a freelance writer, author, artist, and former guest columnist for the Tacoma Tribune.

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