The media loves to report doom, gloom, fear, and panic. And, people react to it. It sells. When you get a steady diet of fear and panic day after day, many of us tend to tune out. I see a lot of Facebook posts requesting more positive posts to combat the negative gloomy ones that appear daily.
The 2019-2020 influenza season in the United States has forecast between 39,000,000 to 55,000,000 flu illnesses requiring 18,000,000 to 26,000,000 visits to doctors, leading to 400,000 to 730,000 hospitalizations, resulting in probably 24,000 to 63,000 flu-related deaths. Obviously, the seasonal flu has a bigger impact on our health care system.
Seasonal influenza has symptoms that people recognize and can avoid those around them sneezing, coughing, etc. The percentage of dying from influenza is smaller than that of coronavirus. We know that one semi-controllable disease, influenza, takes many lives annually.
These influenza numbers are not reported by the media. They seem to have no significance. Why? Maybe because they happen and become expected. The medical industry guesses which vaccine should be mass-produced for the flu season and recommends that everyone get one to be protected. Vaccines, even the forthcoming coronavirus vaccine, will not protect 100%.
The 2009-2010 vaccine success rate was 56%. The 2010-2011 season had a 60% success rate. The 2011-2012 season recorded a rate of 47%. The following years have shown the following percentages of success in preventing flu – 49%, 52% 19%, 48%, 40%, 38%, 29%. Why would we expect the coronavirus vaccine to be better than tried and tested vaccines?
The United States annual vaccines are predictions of future flu strains. As a result, more than one strain is added to the annual vaccinations. Do we know if coronavirus will become seasonal? No, we don’t. However, the media seems to think so, and reports that it might often enough to keep us a bit scared.
As such, are we going to be sheltered-in-place next flu season? Are we going to lose more jobs? Are more elderly people going to die because they have pre-existing conditions? Are there going to be enough doctors and other medical staff to treat another outbreak like this year? Are there enough hospital beds? Do the number of deaths reported from coronavirus really from coronavirus, or is it better to include new deaths with the coronavirus totals? It might take more time and resources to identify the true cause of death amid the pandemic. The list of questions goes on.
Yet, the good side of coronavirus is never shown. How many people have fully recovered? How many states (or countries) have plateaued and are seeing fewer and fewer new cases. Italy put in mandatory social distancing restrictions around March 10th. By March 21st, the number of new cases a day had risen from a little under 2,000 to nearly 6,000. Since March 21st, the daily new cases have declined to around 4,800. That is pretty good news. Yet we don’t see it prominently reported.
There is more good news regarding the daily deaths in Italy. The deaths follow a week or so after the new cases as more and more people get infected. The height of Italy’s death total was March 27 with 919 deaths that day. Yesterday, the daily death count was 691. It is on the decline. Social distancing worked to prevent further new cases and further deaths.
I believe I have been living among the fortunate population which adheres more strictly to social distancing. I live in the Houston area. The few visits I’ve made to shop allow me to observe social distancing in practice. I have not seen a store, or the line outside a store, that wasn’t adhering to a safe distance between people. Yet, there are places in the United States that haven’t gotten the word or don’t want to obey the house arrest suggestion.
I think there is a lot of good news around the world and even in the United States, that can be reported to give hope and comfort that this coronavirus pandemic is temporary. However, when people continue to mingle and disregard the measures the disease will spread further.
What can be said when the number of new cases has fallen to a safe level and people are allowed to return to work only to be thwarted by a rise in new cases (and deaths) because those who ignored the social distance requirements were not diligent and started a whole new mini-pandemic in the United States.
We also have countries that don’t believe or don’t want to believe the pandemic is real. Testing is not being done and the risk of continuing quarantines and other measures will be with us for months to come. I believe that we are nearly at the height of the pandemic and things should be significantly better in thirty days. However, when people don’t protect themselves from the virus, they will infect others that will result in more deaths and longer times to return to work and have a normal or near-normal life.
Good news should be reported or sprinkled in with the bad news to help us through this time in our lives. There are so many people staying at home and enduring cabin fever or other malaise to not infect others. I would not want to see season two starts in August because a few could not shelter in place without armed guards patrolling the neighborhoods.
We have it easy being able to do shopping for essential items. We have food deliveries that help those without cooking skills. There is no reason to panic because food, water, electricity, and other comfort needs are being met in general.
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin