We’ve all heard it: A vastly greater number of people will die from the flu this year than from the corona- virus. Not to mention, the odds of getting killed in an accident — much greater than dying from the coronavirus. So does that make radical reactions over the virus one big case of unjustified panic? Without necessarily agreeing with every single radical response to the coronavirus that has been taken, we believe that a radical response is reasonable, for these reasons:
First, unlike the flu and countless other “legacy” diseases, and unlike the dangers of everything from flying to driving, much about this novel coronavirus is unknown. The human immune system has not encountered COVID-19 before.
Second, another unknown is due to the drastic undersupply of test kits. Many people who have the disease, or who are carriers, are not known as such. It does not help to stay away from people who are carriers if one does not know who they are. Who knows how many people have been exposed to the virus, or who are carriers of the virus, but do not know it?
Three, it takes many months, at the very best, to devise, test and distribute a vaccine.
Fourth, the idea that this was a minor nuisance has been disproven by the rapid spread of the disease all over the world.
Fifth, like all viruses, there is no known treatment; rather, only treatment for secondary complications of, say, a bacterial nature.
Sixth, the coronavirus generates constant surprises, such as its implications for air travel, for cruises, for supply chains, for school closings, for work-at-home, for the stock market, for sporting events, for restaurants, and the list goes on. If all this is taken to constitute not reasonable concern but unreasonable panic — because after all everybody knows this already — consider: A short 10 weeks ago, none of this was known. If drastic surprises have already cascaded down upon us in this short period, it is reasonable to expect more to come.
We cannot help but laugh at Bernie Sanders’ solution: Just make the coronavirus vaccine available for free. As if there will be a vaccine anytime soon, as if the reason people do not vaccinate is cost, as if a very complex development is amenable to a simplistic solution.
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