Tags: Corinavirus | Pandemic | Trump | COVID19 | China | corona

American Pandemic: What To Expect

illustration of a coronavirus

By Tuesday, 17 March 2020 10:01 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The COVID-19 (C19) pandemic is likely not "the big one" — that's reserved for a global population killer such as bird flu, which remains several mutations away from achieving that distinction. Unlike Hollywood's depiction of apocalypses and zombies, the C19 pandemic, while still dangerous, will result in more "pedestrian," though still monumental, effects.

The interconnected global economy has allowed coronavirus to rock the world like nothing in history. Trillions of dollars have evaporated; stock markets are plunging; manufacturing has come to a halt; millions of jobs may be lost; and quarantines placing millions in lockdown are increasing.

Human behavior is a pandemic's best friend. Consequently, coronavirus will continue unabated until it possibly goes dormant in the summer (though likely to re-emerge), mutates into a benign strain, or a majority of the world's population becomes infected.

Via a multipart series, we will examine the many facets of corona in the hope that, should a true people-killer emerge, we are more capable of stopping it because of lessons learned.

Cultural Differences/Human Behavior

Ill-advised governmental decisions have allowed C19 to flourish, from secrecy about corona (China), to incompetence, to counterproductive political leadership (President Trump's complacency, blame-game tactics, and incorrect medical proclamations.) By contrast, China, including Hong Kong, takes the gold for how to attain a level of containment: staying home from work and school until the virus fades from lack of hosts. But in entitlement-driven democracies, the result is starkly different.

Italy is Europe's fourth-largest economy, and its population of 60 million is 23 times less than China's 1.4 billion. Yet when you extrapolate its 28,000 cases relative to the 23x population factor, you would have a total of 644,000 infected — a massive increase over China's 81,000 number. Even accounting for China's fudged numbers, that's still an exponential difference.

More alarming is that we watched China tackle coronavirus for two months, and should have benefitted from learning what did, and did not, work. When students make a speech, everyone not going first inherently benefits from watching the initial speaker, learning what he did right, and wrong. Fail to heed those lessons, and there's no one to blame but yourself.

So what does it tell us that democracies failed to implement the things that helped China turn the tide? As a result, the world is seeing a faster rate of infection than at any point.

Yes, China is authoritarian. However, many Chinese followed orders because it was the right thing to do for themselves, their families and communities, for China, and yes, for the rest of the world. Even now, with C19 cases on the decline there, many Chinese are, of their own volition, still exercising extreme caution.

Shanghai has a temporary ban on jogging, since the government is trying to eliminate extraneous public movements. Virtually no one is running. Compare that to America, should a similar law be enacted. Many of our running aficionados would still take their daily jog, because in wealthy democracies, especially America, we have bred an attitude of entitlement.

Many now view laws with "flexibility," where adhering to rules depends on whether we agree with them — such as sanctuary cities and "safe" injection drug sites. Both are illegal, yet are publicly implemented without penalty.  That "rules are for others" mentality, while bad for society in normal times, becomes deadly during a pandemic.

Billionaire Tilman Fertitta owns the Morton's Steakhouse chain. When his Beijing Morton's reopened, the total sales were zero — not a single person walked in the door. Conversely, if this occurred in Seattle or New York, it would undoubtedly be packed.

Consider a few examples of irresponsible behavior already exhibited:

  • A Dartmouth Medical Center employee showed signs of coronavirus after returning from Italy. He was told to self-quarantine, but instead attended a crowded music venue. He was positive for coronavirus, and now others may be infected.
  • The father and sister of a woman who had coronavirus ignored their self-quarantine order and attended a school function!

But this should come as no shock, as doctors and nurses returning from the Ebola hot zone in 2014 quite publicly disregarded mandatory quarantines. Instead of staying isolated, they openly frolicked in America's most densely-populated regions.

But there were no repercussions, then and now. By allowing such behavior to go unpunished, the message is clear: Break the rules, and nothing will happen to you.

The answer should have been district attorneys announcing charges against the offenders. And if, because of their actions, a person dies, they should be charged with manslaughter. The president weighs in on almost everything, but has completely let these people off the hook. When leadership from the world's largest bully pulpit is needed most, the president has been MIA.

The storm is here. If we don't jettison partisanship bickering and replace it with caution and commonsense, the tipping point will soon be upon us.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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Even now, with C19 cases on the decline there, many Chinese are, of their own volition, still exercising extreme caution.
Corinavirus, Pandemic, Trump, COVID19, China, corona
Tuesday, 17 March 2020 10:01 AM
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