Look at recent headlines and it’s as if COVID-19 were sweeping across the nation as some sort of grisly ghost of death, leaving piles of bodies in the morgues, piles of bodies in the nursing homes, piles of bodies in the hospitals — even piles of bodies in the streets.
But do the math and the truth is far less earth-shattering.
As a percentage of the U.S. population, which WorldOMeters estimates for 2020 at just shy of 331 million, the coronavirus death count is 0.03%.
But for that, America has lost its economy, its free market, its freedom, its Constitution.
“U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 as Trump pushes to reopen,” Politico’s headline blared, above a story with a critical look at President Donald Trump’s insistence to get America back in business.
The story went on to report how America “leads the world in reported confirmed coronavirus cases,” a number Johns Hopkins University now puts around 1.6 million.
And even if those numbers were completely accurate — even if the data from hospitals could be trusted — then 1.6 million cases of coronavirus in a population of 331 million still seems pretty minuscule when put in context of percentages: that’s 0.48%.
The more important number is the one that tells how many recoveries, right? But death is much more interesting to report.
“US coronavirus deaths top 100,000,” wrote Reuters.
“U.S. coronavirus death toll rises above 100,000 in world’s deadliest outbreak,” wrote CNBC.
“U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000,” reported CNN.
“US coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000 in harrowing milestone,” wrote Fox News.
Some context would be good here.
Of course, a headline like “Coronavirus proves deadly for 0.03% of U.S. population” — while truthful —doesn’t exactly scream, stop the presses!
It does, however, provide some cooler head insights into just how widespread this virus is, just how devastating its death count is — and ultimately, just how smart a move it is for this administration to adopt a policy line of opening the economy, and opening the economy but quick.
The 0.48% of the U.S. population infected by the coronavirus may think it premature; the family and loved ones of the 0.03% who’ve died from COVID-19 may think it careless and even cruel — but fact is, destroying an entire country for such a minuscule number of victims is nothing short of crazy.
America cannot stand still another moment and suffer the destruction of freedoms, free enterprise and the future for the sake of a few COVID-19 victims — for the fear there might be a few more.
The national suicide must stop now.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.