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Posted by on Mar 11, 2020 in Blog, Essays, Politics | 0 comments

Pandemic and Crying Wolf

1918 spanish flu

 

Fueled by toxic right-wing media, complacency, and in some cases, plain old dirt-dumb willful ignorance — many otherwise intelligent people are succumbing to a dangerous mindset that the COVID-19 pandemic is:

Fill in the blank……

— an exaggeration
— a media-driven panic
— just another type of flu
— a hoax
— a plot to hurt Trump

Virtually all these “opinions” are expressed by people with absolutely no background in science. Certainly, none of the people posting idiotic memes and spewing senseless perspectives on social media tainted by warped political and selfish economic interests have any academic or practical experience in viruses and pandemics whatsoever. Let me put it another way: They don’t know shit.

I have little knowledge or understanding of science and even less ability in viruses. It’s true. I don’t know shit, either. Hence, I chose to rely on the good people who do know this stuff, who are virtually unanimous in their warnings and recommendations that this threat is very, very serious. What knowledge and understanding I do have is in politics and history, and to get a broad picture of what things could be like, all we must do is look at what happened a hundred years ago.

Neither of the possible outcomes is comforting. Either the virus does terrible damage over some unknown period — not just medically, but economically and socially, as well. Or, the alternative is a false confirmation of anti-intellectual bias, a wedge between ignorance from sanity.

There does exist the very real possibility that experts will deliver us from this peril, that the virus will be contained, and the outbreak will not be as bad as it might have been. In this far more palatable scenario, it will inevitably follow that critics and cynics will insist the virus was never a big deal at all, that COVID 19 was — an exaggeration, a media-driven panic, just another type of flu, a hoax, and a plot to hurt Trump.

Science will have won the medical battle but then lost the war of truth. In essence, even if the pandemic gradually subsides thanks to scientists and public health officials, some/many will point to the dissipating storm that inexplicably took a detour and missed destroying the village, and then mock those who warned us.

A crisis brings out the very best in people, and the very worst in people. We may be damned if the virus spreads, but just as damned if it doesn’t.

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