• J.R. Lonsway

The COVID-19 Hype

Enough already. Enough with the drama, the outright hysteria, the doom and gloom forecasts and reports.

One month ago (March 19) I posted a blog that I reverted to a draft later that afternoon so I could add more information to it, but I must have accidentally deleted it because it is nowhere to be found in that mysterious cloud of the cyber world. However, in that blog I pointed out that the numbers didn't add up with regards to death rates and COVID-19, certainly not enough to justify the outright despair that mankind had met its match and to shut down the world economy.

Is it killing the elderly? In many cases, but not all.

Is it killing those with compromised immune systems? Same answer.

Is it killing those with underlying health issues? Ditto.

Are a very select unfortunate few who appear to be otherwise healthy falling victim to it? Check.

But even one month ago the medical reports indicated that 80% of those with COVID-19 were either asymptomatic or believed they had the common cold and recovered from it. A smaller percentage became ill with flu-like symptoms but recovered, putting the recovery rate at 97%. That is hardly a disease so deadly that it justifies stay at home orders, sheltering in place and, in some states, inflicting criminal penalties on those who violate state government mandates.

If your answer to that statement is to tell me I'm wrong because if we didn't have those orders in place millions more people would get sick, and then what, Lonsway? Well, then you'd still have a 97% recovery rate with the added benefit of millions of people with an immune system response to this respiratory virus. The elderly and those with tasked immune systems should take extra precautions, but not the entire population of the country.

One month ago the CDC advised that wearing masks in public did no good as most masks were not the type to properly protect the wearer, therefore it would not prevent the spread of germs. Now they say wear one. The CDC even encourages those without masks to wear bandanas, or some other form of material to cover the mouth, an action that was originally scoffed at. Certainly a person who is ill, or believes they are, should wear something over their mouth in public, but if they really are sick why are they out in public in the first place?

Social distancing apparently works, which includes the elimination of handshaking and other gestures of familiarity (embracing, cheek kissing, etc), but have we ever seen that put into use during the flu season? Past flu seasons have killed far more than COVID-19, yet there is an absence of concern with regards to the apparent. Why?

The recovery rate for COVID-19 is believed to be much higher than the 97% reported because CDC suspects many have had it and not been tested. Where does that put it, then? 98%? 99%? We don't know and never will. The Chinese were not forthcoming regarding what they knew about the disease and now more information is popping up that gives the entire situation a nefarious tone with regards to how it really started. Was it bats in the Wuhan wet market or evil scientists creating a virus in a nearby lab with the intent to develop an antidote to show the world that Chinese medicine could compete one-on-one with the USA in epidemiology?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but according to intel reports that lab in Wuhan didn't have the best safety track record. But does that mean the Chinese government is devious enough to try and pull something like this? Would they pay off the leader of the World Health Organization to mitigate China's accountability? Seems like a stretch. Then again, at this point nothing would surprise me.

There are those who would say it is callous and selfish to call for the end of stay at home orders and sheltering in place, because it gives the appearance of a lack of concern for those most susceptible to falling into the clutches of death from COVID-19. Well, it is no more "callous and selfish" than doctors in Italy denying those 60+ years of age access to ventilators. We cannot and should not destroy an economy over a respiratory virus with a tremendously positive recovery rate that is going to be around for at least another year. That is just ridiculous.

I'm in my mid-sixties. I smoked cigarettes for nearly 40 years, had pneumonia twenty years ago, and still smoke cigars. Does that put me at risk if I contract COVID-19? Possibly. But one cannot go through life thinking of only oneself and demanding that society alter its structure and routine to benefit the individual. As the Marine Corps taught me decades ago, what is best for the unit comes before the individual.

Those at risk of losing their lives must take the preventative steps necessary to ensure their health, and government should not burden those otherwise healthy by shutting down businesses, depriving people of their livelihoods, and creating a police state that borders on martial law.


J.R. Lonsway served 22 years with the Las Cruces, New Mexico, police department and retired as a Deputy Chief of Police. After retirement he served with the U.S. Department of State as a police advisor in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Liberia, Haiti, Lebanon, and South Sudan. He is a former U.S. Marine.

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