A friend tweeted from Ireland (in time for St. Patrick’s Day), blaming President Trump for the major decline in the value of stocks. This same friend credited Barack Obama’s economic policies when the Dow Jones Industrial Averages approached 30,000.
This — and more — is part of our political, economic and medical divide with mixed messages coming from supposed professionals, amateurs and people who don’t know what they are talking about.
According to Dictionary.com, “panic” is “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”
Is this panic over the coronavirus that has caused the closing of Broadway shows, sports arenas, church services and many schools with or without cause? Is it justified, or not?
We’ll soon know, but as of Monday, 69 people had died from the disease in the United States, 27 of them at a senior facility in Seattle, Washington.
Here’s a piece of news that has been buried by major media. An Associated Press headline read, “Most coronavirus patients recover, still anxiety, fear loom.” Gee, I wonder why fear and anxiety are looming? Could the major media, which love promoting fear when it comes to hurricanes, also be promoting fear while mostly ignoring those who recover from the virus?
Last Friday, CBS reported on the number of people infected, but waited until the last sentence to say this: “The vast majority of cases are mild, and almost half of those infected have recovered.”
A banner headline in red on the Drudge Report said, “150 million Americans could get infected.” This while medical “experts” tell us how to avoid infection with regular handwashing, avoiding people who appear sick, not gathering with large crowds, etc.
Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders aren’t helping to lower anxiety. Mr. Biden delivered a speech last week in Delaware with fewer than his usual rhetorical stumbles. As The Hill reports, Mr. Biden proposed “… making testing free and widely available” and establishing “10 mobile sites and drive-thru facilities per state, in addition to greater transparency from the White House …”
Mr. Sanders, on the other hand, “has used the outbreak as an opportunity to push his progressive agenda, specifically his ‘Medicare for All’ proposal.” Mr. Sanders says his plan would ensure free vaccines and treatment to those infected. The Trump administration has outlined similar actions.
Are we being subjected to doublespeak when, on the one hand, we are told the coronavirus is nothing to be afraid of, if we take precautions and, on the other, we are told to run for the hills? Is this a biblical plague or a manageable ailment? Are we facing the judgment of God, or will this, too, pass like the flu or a cold, or other ailments from which most of us recover?
If the weather is difficult to accurately predict, why would anyone think forecasts related to a virus might be accurate and trustworthy?
I am no prophet, but just as other challenges have confronted America, we will recover from this one. The stock market will revive because the economy remains strong. Schools that are closed will reopen. Broadway lights will go back on. Sports contests with fans in the seats will resume. Church doors will reopen. Normalcy will return.
Last Friday at the White House, Doug McMillon, the CEO of Walmart, announced that parking lots at some of his stores will be used for drive-in coronavirus testing. And Variety reports that Verily, the life sciences division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, “is in the ‘early stages of development’ with a test slated to roll out initially in the San Francisco Bay Area. … At some point, Verily said, it may expand the tool more widely.”
CEOs from Target, Walgreen’s and CVS were among those also pledging cooperation. Now if only the politicians would stop fighting each other and instead unify to fight the virus.
• Cal Thomas, a nationally syndicated columnist, is the author of “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires, Superpowers and the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan, January 2020).