As of this writing, we are in week 1,000 of the COVID-19 pandemic. OK, it’s really been 20 months, but seems MUCH longer. You know how every January, or birthday, or anniversary of any type, you always think “Time is flying by!” I disagree with that for 2020 and 2021. My 50th birthday seems like it was 21 years ago, not 21 months ago. I heard a talking head say this week that we are “COVID-fatigued” as a people. I certainly agree. Politicians like to say, “follow the science,” but the scientists don’t seem to have any more of an idea of how this is going to end any more than your average meter maid. The only thing that seems certain is that politicians, both Democrat and Republican, seem hell-bent on using the plague to exert more power over the lives of the people, entrenching themselves into the “political class” which lives in a different world from the rest of us. They have their own private security, pretty much never having to reach into their own pockets to pay for anything, servants – er, uh, I mean, interns – to do all their work and errands for them, and so on. They have put themselves in a bubble where nothing happens to them and they can sit back and give orders to people, knowing they don’t have to follow those orders themselves. It’s sickening, actually.

Politicians on all 3 levels – local, state, and Federal – are all issuing orders to the people on one basic assumption: If you test positive for COVID-19, you are guaranteed to die. “Dude, you’re hallucinating,” is what you’re probably thinking. Obviously, no one would ever say that out loud. But that’s the only way to explain a lot of the policies that have been put in place.

Let’s look at some data. According to Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, for every 100,000 people in the US, 233 people die as a result of coming down with the virus. In other words, if you put about 500 people into an auditorium, exactly ONE person in that crowd will die from the virus. A total of about 700,000 people have died from COVID as we near 2 years of its presence. By comparison, about 61,000 people die from influenza in a typical year. So COVID is at least 6 times more deadly than the flu. But Columbia University reports that one out of every three people in the US has tested positive for COVID since February 2020. That would be roughly 110 million people have caught the virus, with about 700,000 of those infections resulting in death. That would mean 99.3% of people who test positive will survive. Calculating the number of people who get the flu every year is a lot harder to determine, but the Centers for Disease Control believe at least 9 million people get the flu each year. If 61,000 people die each year due to the flu, that would equate to 3 out of every 500 people dying from it. So while the number of people dying from COVID is a lot higher than the number of people dying from the flu, the percentage of people who get the flu and die from it is much higher than percentage of people who get COVID and die from it. So why do we need government-imposed rules that require getting the vaccine and continue to wear masks in order to go to work, visit pretty much any place of business, or whenever you might get within 6 feet of another person? Because the assumption is being pushed that anyone who tests positive is guaranteed to die from it.

The worst thing about this plague is that just about every media source is not only helping to spread this myth, but they have also made vaccination a political statement. As I noted earlier, scientists seem as mystified by this thing as everyone else. You can’t ignore the change in media message that corresponds to the change in the presidency. When the vaccine first appeared toward the end of 2020, the media members who hated the President were wholeheartedly against using it. Once the new President was in place, they rallied to push people to receive it. No matter what your political ideology is, you have to acknowledge that shift was real.

The scientists have also regularly changed their stance on how effective masks are at preventing the spread and how effective the vaccine is. We are now hearing that the vaccine has a limited shelf life, and booster shots will be needed. People who have chosen to avoid the original vaccine are citing the push for booster shots as evidence in their favor. “If the vax wears off and you need more shots, I’m not going to waste my time with any of the shots.” These people are being demonized as bloodthirsty killers, eagerly looking for every opportunity to possibly catch the virus and quickly give it to everyone around them.

Personally, I am not immune to the effects of this plague. I know a handful of people, including a few close friends, who have come down with the virus. Every one of them says they wouldn’t wish that kind of suffering on their worst enemy. Even closer to home, a nephew recently died from the effects of COVID. He was in his 30s, but had suffered a stroke in his late 20s, making he was in the most at-risk group of people. So yes, every person that has lost a friend or loved one to this plague is experiencing real grief and heartbreak, and every victim should be mourned, and science needs to move at the fastest speed possible to find a cure, as well as improving treatment.

I have received both Pfizer shots and am trying to decide if I need the booster shot or not. My wife has asthma, which puts her in the same high-risk group as our now-deceased nephew. She got the Johnson & Johnson single vaccine shot, and she is also trying to decide if she needs the booster. Neither one of us is listening to the media hysteria. We’re trying to talk to the medical professionals we know and get as much legitimate information (as opposed to special-interest hype) as we can get.

When I leave our home, I wear masks wherever they are required. Just about every business in Charlotte requires them, so I comply with those rules. As soon as I step outside, the mask comes off. There is absolutely no evidence that the virus spreads outdoors, so I refuse to wear a mask outdoors. Those who know me best know I’m a Libertarian, so just about every government-ordered anything will see adamant opposition from me, COVID or otherwise. So naturally I oppose government mask mandates and vaccine mandates. I support people’s right to assume their own risk and choose to not get the shots, like I support people who want to smoke or consume narcotics. I support government regulating the sale of these things (regulated, not burdened with “sin” taxes or other extra requirements) but oppose government choosing which substances are OK and which are to be banned. And since a higher percentage of people who get the flu die from it than the percentage of people who get COVID and die from it, I find the mandates to be unnecessary and intrusive.

So when it comes to assessing your risk from this terrible plague, just keep in mind that that the government and media are misleading you. They want you to think that we have to have all these mandates to prevent people from getting COVID, because if you get it, you’re going to die. But you’re much more likely to die from the flu or a car accident than you are from COVID. You are NOT guaranteed to die. So don’t believe that hype, and don’t mistreat other people for not believing that hype. 

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