- The Washington Times - Monday, April 6, 2020

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said at a recent briefing that on the coronavirus outbreak, America was poised to hit “our Pearl Harbor moment.”

No, we are not.

And saying so is irresponsibly inflammatory — not to mention horribly disrespectful to the real victims and the loved ones of the victims of Pearl Harbor.

Not to mention idiotic.

Pearl Harbor was a massive preemptive airstrike on peaceful members of the U.S. military — at a moment in time when many of them were headed to church worship services, by the way.



The attack was horrific.

Hundreds of Japanese aircraft fired upon, damaged or destroyed several U.S. battleships; four were outright sunk. Dozens upon dozens of U.S. aircraft were also destroyed. Worse, thousands of Americans, in a flash, were killed and injured.

The bombing of the USS Arizona alone — a battleship that sunk in less than nine minutes — resulted in the death of 1,177 Americans.

The torpedoing of the USS Oklahoma killed hundreds more who were trapped within its walls as it filled with sea water and sank. What a grisly death they suffered.

Then came the second wave of Japanese attackers, resulting in the destruction of more American properties, the killing of more American service members, the death of dozens of civilians.

Specifically, 2,008 members of the Navy, 109 Marines, 218 members of the Army and 68 civilians were killed. In pretty much a flash. In pretty much a sudden, shocking, out-of-the-blue and unwarranted military bombing attack from the skies and seas.

That is not the same as getting sick and going to the hospital.

The coronavirus may be many things — it may cause an illness that brings fever, cough and, for older people and those with weakened immune systems or other health ailments, can be incapacitating or even deadly.

But even on the deadly count — of which the government reports is hitting the thousands — the fact is, it’s not clear the deaths were due solely to the coronavirus. It’s not clear at this point that the deaths weren’t due to other health conditions as well as the coronavirus.

What is clear, though, is that the coronavirus is not a Pearl Harbor.

The coronavirus is not an enemy bombing attack.

The coronavirus doesn’t imprison its poor victims in a battleship that’s just been hit by a bomb. It doesn’t drown its victims. It doesn’t blow off the limbs of its victims. It doesn’t scatter the bloody body parts of its victims across a field.

It gives people a dry cough.

It leads to some people dying — but many, many more, recovering — and even many more not even feeling its effects at all.

That is not Pearl Harbor.

That is not a “Pearl Harbor moment.”

And only those either ignorant of history, or bent on creating political buzz about the coronavirus would even suggest it was.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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