In recent weeks we have seen, day by day, a panic develop among the general population over the coronavirus. What first started out as a moderate response to this new virus has now become a frenzied mania. Below are my reflections on this whole debacle.
1. The coronavirus is not the Bubonic Plague. This disease, also known as the Black Death, wiped out two-thirds of the European population in the middle part of the 1300’s. It became so bad that fields were no longer tilled, in great part, and bodies would lie rotting in public because there was no one to bury them. The mortality rate for this disease was very high. Ironically — or perhaps not so ironically — the disease had its origins in the western provinces of China, exactly from where the coronavirus began.
2. As of this writing (March 23rd), the mortality rate in the United States is at 1.3%, having declined every day from what it was on March 15th, which was 2%. (I even saw this morning a doctor saying that 99% of those who acquire the disease will recover from it). Of those who do die, 80% have been of those 65 and older, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta. The mortality rate declines gradually owing to two factors: (1) more testing, whereby more cases are discovered; (2) that the aged and otherwise health-compromised people (the vulnerable) will die from it first, whereas the younger and healthier will survive it. Consequently, this disease is quite survivable, at this point, for 98.7% of the population. The mortality rate will probably decline as time passes. The CDC said that 80% of coronavirus deaths are among those 65 and older.
3. This disease is not a national catastrophe. While many might be set back by this disease for a number of days or even weeks, it does not promise to kill a significant portion of the citizens. Most of those who do die of coronavirus are the very aged or those who are already suffering from other diseases whereby they would have a very low tolerance for the coronavirus. In Italy, for example, 99% of those who have died had some previous condition which disposed them to dying from the coronavirus. The average age of persons in Italy who did die from the disease is 80. Italy, by the way, has a much higher proportion of aged people than the United States. Italy’s population of those 65 and older numbers 18%, whereas in the U.S. it is 14.9%.
The reason for the high number of infections in Italy is that Italy recently entered into an economic pact with Communist China, called One Belt, One Road, which had the result of importing many communist Chinese workers. Northern Italy, for example, the hardest hit region, recently saw an influx of approximately 100,000 communist Chinese workers from none other than the Wuhan province.
While I am not advocating that we should be insensitive to those 65 and older, I think, nonetheless, that the response to the disease could have been tailored to the high-risk age group and others who are vulnerable because of pre-existing medical problems. The government could have urged them to stay home, and could have helped them by the delivery of prepared meals, of groceries, and of other necessities of life. Such a response would not have required the frenzied reaction which has increased in intensity day after day.
From the economic point of view, the passing of many people in the 65+ group would not put a significant strain on the economy. While this sounds cold and cruel, it is nevertheless true that when you arrive in the old age bracket, as I have, you realize that your life is basically over, and that there is a “bullet with your name on it,” that is, some disease or condition which will cause your death. It is something like waiting on a platform for a train to arrive. Your head is pointed in one direction, which is the direction from which the train will come. You try to remain as useful as you can during this period of waiting, but you realize that the call from God could come at any time. You live with your “bags packed.” My father always used to remind us that “no one is getting off this ship alive.” Someone else told me a joke recently, in honor of my seventieth birthday: “Do you know what it means when, after seventy, you get up in the morning and you have no aches and pains? It means you’re dead!”
So the point is that it is not a national catastrophe, economically speaking, if many old people pass away. To be sure the government and the private sector should do everything possible to prevent, treat, and cure the disease, but not at the expense of causing a public panic.
Dr. William Hazeltine, a former professor at the Harvard Medical School and founder of the university’s cancer and HIV/AIDS research departments, said that by the time this virus is finished, 200,000 to 1.7 million people may die from it in the United States.
The current estimate of the U.S. population is 331,000,000. If we take Dr. Hazeltine’s low number of 200,000, it means that .06% of the general population will perish. If we take his high number, it means that .5% of Americans will succumb to the disease.
While this is not good news, particularly to the victims and their loved ones, it does indicate that we are not dealing with a national disaster from the demographic point of view, as they did in the Middle Ages, when there was a full 67% of the population, young and old, that disappeared in a short period of time. Now that is a national catastrophe.
4. Given the relatively minor impact of the disease, even at worst case, the reaction to it has been grossly exaggerated, and will itself cause a national catastrophe. There is no proportion between severely wounding or destroying the economy, on the one hand, and the saving the lives, on the other hand, of .06% to .5% of the population, most of whom would go on to the grave in a few short years in any case.
The stock market has experienced a crash, although no one is calling it that. Usually a sudden decline of 25% of value is considered a crash.
Many small businesses will go bankrupt, especially in the tourist, hotel, transportation, and restaurant sectors. Many people in both large corporations and small businesses will lose their jobs. The consumer confidence will plummet, and people will cut back severely in their spending habits. The real estate market, which represents a higher value in the economy than the stock market, will go down the tubes. Many will default on their mortgages. We may see a repeat of 2008-2009, where people became “upside down” in their mortgages, that is, where they owed more money for the house than what it was worth on the market. People actually had to bring money to their closings, instead of receiving money.
Events such as these have a domino effect in the economy, and I would not be surprised to see a repeat of the Great Depression as a result of this coronavirus panic. Let us pray that we be spared of such an outcome. But you cannot pull the plug on the economy, as the panicky governments have done, and expect it to rebound overnight. It is the lungs of the economy which are filling up with fluid, and it may well be the economy that is the biggest victim of the coronavirus, brought on by none other than a frenzied fear caused by the media and the government.
5. The real national catastrophe is that there is a shortage of food and other necessities in our supermarkets, and worse, that people cannot even go to church.
First, let it be said that it is a wonderful side effect of this disaster that the Novus Ordo has shuttered its doors for the time being.
There are some places, however, that have banned religious meetings altogether. They are not considered “essential.” This is true in Italy, France, and Quebec, for example. Some states, such as California, New York, and New Jersey have placed lock-downs on their population making it impossible to conduct religious services. (Fortunately, at this writing, March 23rd, we have not gotten to that point in Florida).
It is a national catastrophe that in the United States — the land of plenty — we cannot go calmly and confidently to the supermarket to get food and even toilet tissue. I have never seen this situation in my whole life.
And about this catastrophe, the government, whether state or federal, is doing absolutely nothing. In fact, they are making the problem worse. For example in Pennsylvania, they shut down the rest areas and restaurants on the Turnpike. In so doing they make life very difficult for truckers who are our supply line.
So to prevent the demise of .5%, at worst case, of the general population, most of whom are aged or already health-compromised, 99.5% have to bear up with an economic disaster which will have enormous and long-lasting ripple effects.
6. We are paying the price of our cozy relationship with Communist China. As I said in my last newsletter, before the disgraced Nixon went to Communist China in the late 1970’s in order to open it up to trade, the Communist Chinese government was not even recognized by the United States. There was no embassy, no ambassador, no trade. I remember at that time seeing an alarm clock made in China, which managed to get through the net somehow, and it was a piece of junk.
The United States treated China in the same way that it treated Cuba. The idea was to starve out communist countries until the economic pressure forced them to abandon their communist ways. This worked in Russia.
But I remember the rationale in the late 1970’s: “By trading with Communist China, we will build up their economy, and this will cause the downfall of communism in that country.”
That was nonsense. The real reason for the opening of Communist China to trade was so that the entrepreneurs in this country and elsewhere could manufacture their goods in communist sweatshops, where they could get their products made for a small fraction of the cost, and then turn around and sell them at high prices in Western countries.
This meant that we now had to take a positive view of the bloodthirsty, religion-hating, and oppressive Communist Chinese government, and of Mao Tse Tung, responsible for the murder of 30,000,000 people. His portrait can be seen on Communist Chinese money.
Ever since this opening of Communist China, these lying and double-dealing communists have been stealing our technology and our trade secrets. These same communists have been permitted to invest in our economy. Most of our medications are manufactured by these Chinese communists, and most of our 23 trillion dollar national debt is funded by Communist China, thanks to the love affair that the U.S. government has had with deficit spending for the past six decades. Under Eisenhower, for example, the federal government actually had a surplus.
As a result of this opening to Communist China, communist businessmen and tourists have poured in from the evil empire known as the People’s Republic of China, and have brought with them disease after disease. This brings us to the next point.
7. Communist China is a cesspool of infection and disease owing to the unsanitary habits of its population and the failure of its communist government to impose rules to safeguard against disease.
As I said above, China was the source of the Bubonic Plague in the Middle Ages, also known as the Black Death, which makes the coronavirus look like
Ben Shapiro quotes Zhenzhong Si, a research associate at the University of Waterloo: “Eating wild animals [in Communist China] is considered a symbol of wealth because they are more rare and expensive.” Mr. Shapiro continues: “Whatever the rationale, the communist Chinese government has been exceedingly tolerant of such markets, even though they have now
been responsible for the spread of coronavirus, SARS, bird flu, Asian flu and swine fever. The Chinese government has been similarly tolerant of treatment via traditional Chinese medicine rather than evidence-based medicine, which has increased the risk of such diseases.”
Communist China is, in other words, a backward country without the customary sanitary laws of Western nations, and its population engages in practices with wild animals which have led, time and time again, to the spread of contagious and fatal diseases. Communist China is also a pit of air pollution.
Here I do not mean to vilify every member of the Chinese race. I am sure that there are many among them who, although oppressed by the dictatorial monsters in Beijing, nonetheless hope for something better.
8. It is Communist China that should be quarantined. The entire civilized world should place a diplomatic, technological, and commercial wall around Communist China, forbidding all passage of Communist Chinese citizens into its borders.
For the question must be posed: Are we going to have to go through this every year? Already we can identify four major illnesses as coming from within this center of putrefaction. We have learned that they tried to suppress the existence of the coronavirus by punishing a doctor who blew the whistle.
Why not go back to the good old days of isolation of Communist China, so that we can live in peace without this world menace? For our trade with them, as well as the communication of technology, has turned them into a threat to our national security, and a major war with them is well within the bounds of possibility.
And who created this Asian giant which so resembles Nazi Germany in its militarism, godlessness, and oppression of its population? Answer: the countries of the West, and especially the United States. Did we learn nothing from World War II? From the Cold War? Do we forget that communism has as its goal the penetration and domination of all countries in the world? How did we get so stupid? And now we are paying a very high price for our stupidity.
9. Selective panic. Between 1899 and 2018, a total of 3,672,434 persons have perished in car accidents in the United States alone. Add about another 40,000 in 2019. Nobody cares. In winter of 2018 – 2019, the CDC estimate of deaths from the flu was 34,200. About 35 million were infected. Nobody cares. The total number of abortions from 1973 to 2018 in the United States stands at more than 61.8 million. Most do not care. That is an average of 1.437 million per year since 1973. The number of abortions worldwide this year alone is 9,502,108. Does anyone care?
It is ironic and tragic that we must go into a worldwide lock-down in order to preserve the elderly from passing away, but that there is a supine nonchalance about the killing of innocent babies.
In the U.S. alone, there were approximately 142,670 lung cancer deaths in 2019. A total of $13.4 billion dollars was spent on lung cancer care in 2015. There are about 35,000 deaths each year in the U.S. resulting from cirrhosis of the liver. It is responsible for 1.2% of all U.S. deaths.
I cite these statistics, since all of the causes of these deaths are very preventable. For example, if we were to go into panic mode about automobile accidents, we could get rid of them altogether, by returning to horses, or at least greatly reduce their number by lowering the speed limit to twenty miles per hour. (This would lead to smaller motors, having the effect of less carbon imprint). The lung cancer deaths could be dramatically reduced by outlawing cigarettes. Outlawing alcohol would greatly lessen deaths from liver disease. The millions of abortions could be prevented by a simple law guaranteeing the right to life from the moment of conception.
If we were to have a lock-down every year, we would also significantly reduce deaths from the common flu.
We choose not to take any of these preventive measures, however, because we see these deaths as unfortunate but necessary side effects of our life-styles. Abortion brings freedom to fornicate and freedom from children. Cigarettes make at least some people happy. Liquor makes you feel elated. Driving fast is both useful and fun.
So why have do we have a panic over coronavirus? Why do we not just feel bad about the victims, and move on, as we do in these other cases? This brings me to the next point.
10. It is scary how the media can work up the population into a panic. According to the CDC, in the U.S. the fatality rate from coronavirus is between 10 to 27 percent for people 85 and over, followed by 3 to 11 percent among people aged 65 to 84 years old. The virus has killed 1 to 3 percent of infected people between the ages of 55 to 64. The study found that less than one percent of people aged 20 to 54 years old have died from the novel coronavirus, and no fatalities were reported in people aged 19 and under.
So why the panic? Over 80% of those who contract it will experience mild symptoms or none at all.
Nonetheless the media fanned the flames of panic, until finally the government officials, for fear of losing their elected positions, had to get on the panic bandwagon.
I am no conspiracy theorist. In fact, I abhor conspiracy theories, and in most cases find them ridiculous. But here I must confess that I suspect something sinister about this whole thing.
This recent panic mode has been a wonderful exercise in big government. Is it merely a coincidence that the more leftist and socialistic a region is, the more lock-downs there are? Is this some dress rehearsal for something bigger?
I have always said that the ushering in of the Antichrist will require some global disaster, which, of course, will be fixed by the “savior” Antichrist. Since the climate change frenzy has fallen flat on its face, I am wondering if the globalist architects have now turned to disease panic for what they need. I think that it is safe to say that they are at least profiting from this problem, but I highly suspect that they had something to do with it, not with the disease itself — unsanitary Communist China is sufficient thereto — but with the global panic. People become ready for many and radical political changes when they go into panic mode. Panic is fear gone wild. It is always irrational, and leads to irrational effects. Ask the Germans during the 1930’s. Ask the Russians in 1917.
11. Disease and death are part of the human condition since original sin. We know from the Faith that death is a direct punishment of original sin. So is disease. While death naturally occurs by a biological clock that God has placed in us, whereby we simply break down with time, disease is usually the result of human ignorance and/or vice, which are also effects of original sin. Most of our fatal diseases and premature deaths do not come from the breakdown of old age, but from acting stupidly and foolishly during our lives, either by eating too much or eating the wrong things, or by drinking too much alcohol, or by smoking, sun bathing, excessive exercise or not enough, by lack of sanitation and personal hygiene, by carelessness in the preparation of food, by drug addiction and overdose, by taking foolish chances in recreational activities, by stress due to overwork, divorces, etc., or by various forms of sexual immorality. These bad habits, and these are only a few, especially if repeated for generations, can cause damage to the genes and thereby cause a genetic disposition to diseases. This seems especially true of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. The first thing the doctor wants to know is your family history. God does not make anything imperfect. The damage to our genes, therefore, must come from ourselves.
Hence we should not go into a panic about a small fire in a house that will eventually turn to rubble in any case. Instead we should use a rational, proportionate, and measured response. We are going to die of something, and fatal disease is very much a part of our “lives.”
12. The spread of false ideas. We are witnessing a panic about the containment of a disease which could kill a race which is already condemned to death. For example, would we be in a panic if coronavirus were a threat only to the lives of people on death row?
Yet there is no panic about the spread of false ideas which lead to the eternal spiritual death of the souls of mankind. Men’s souls are destined to live a natural life forever, but will experience a supernatural death, a separation from God who is the source of all our happiness, through the commission of mortal sin. For this reason, the Church has always condemned freedom of speech and freedom of the press, understood in the sense that one is free to say or publish whatever one pleases. Pope Pius VII said in 1814, criticizing the new Charter or constitution of the restored monarchy in France:
The license of the press threatens the people with the greatest perils and with certain ruin. It is a fact demonstrated incontrovertibly by sad experience that the license of the press has been the principal instrument which has first depraved the people’s morals; then corrupted and destroyed their faith; and finally stirred up sedition, unrest, and revolution. (Encyclical Post tam diuturnas)
The same — and far more — could be said of the contemporary media in general.
By analogy, suppose we get rid of the FDA, and declare “freedom of medicine,” letting every quack concoct and prescribe what he will, and have confidence in the population that it will always make the right choices.
The point is that the spread of a virus, while it may sicken and even kill, is of far less consequence than the sickening and killing of people’s minds through false ideas.
12. False ideas kill people. The lowest figure given to Stalin’s murder campaign in Russia is 20 million; the highest is 60 million. Take your pick. Mao Tse Tung’s toll is 30 million, by common estimation. Hitler’s common estimation is 6 million Jews, but that does not count all of the rest who perished, many of them Catholics, Russian prisoners, etc.
The total amount of people who died as a direct result of World War II is 50 million. They all died because of false ideas: Nazism and Fascism.
Add to this the abortion count: 61 million in the United States alone, all that innocent blood flowing from the false ideas swarming in the skulls of the bird-brained, beyond-the-ballot-box boobs on the Supreme Court in 1973.
Let us pray. The most efficacious means of averting harm to ourselves is to pray to God, that in His providence, He preserve us from the evil effects of plague, war, severe weather, earthquake, accidents, and other causes of sudden and unforeseen death. Yet prayer does not exclude the taking of natural precautions. But these should be reasonable and measured.
Yes, let us pray that God save us from the coronavirus disease, and that He also save us from the cure.