In retrospect, the high-water mark of the CCP virus-inspired hysteria may well turn out to be the May 24 front page of The New York Times, which consisted solely of the names of putative COVID-19 victims, enumerating some 1,000 of the nearly 100,000 U.S. deaths so far attributed to the CCP (Communist Chinese Party) virus.
As it turned out, not all the deaths were in fact from COVID-19 (one Iowa man was actually a homicide victim), a fact the Times acknowledged with a correction.
Coming the day before Memorial Day, which honors the nation’s war dead, it was meant to mark a “grim milestone” of “incalculable loss,” but instead was widely seen as an insult to the honored American war dead.
There’s a meaningful difference between hitting the beach at D-Day in the teeth of German machine-gun fire or flying bombing raids over Tokyo, and dying in a nursing home from a variant of the flu. But that distinction has been lost on our crack media: one common journalistic trope is to compare the number of deaths from COVID-19 to a selected set of U.S. war deaths—as long as that number came in under 100,000.
Such false equivalence is par for the course these days, as the leftist media tries to weaponize the novel coronavirus against the American people through a campaign of sentimentalized fear-mongering and statistical cherry-picking. The goal: to keep us “sheltering in place” (an odious phrase) in blatant violation of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of assembly, and delaying the economic recovery long enough to put the Democrats back in the White House in November.
This isn’t to say the deaths from the novel coronavirus aren’t regrettable, especially in light of Communist China’s stunning malfeasance in unleashing the virus in the first place, its moral culpability in not notifying the rest of the world until it was too late, and its current campaign of shifting blame for the pandemic to the United States, of all places.
But deaths aren’t a zero-sum game, nor do they take place in a vacuum; each day, nearly 8,000 Americans die from all sorts of causes, including cancer, heart disease, car crashes, falling off ladders, and slipping in the bathtub. Thus far, 80 percent of the U.S. coronavirus deaths have been of people 65 and older, just slightly higher than the statistical norm of 78 percent of all naturally occurring deaths. If one thing doesn’t eventually get you, something else will.
But the artificially inflated panic over the CCP virus is something new. Never before has America or the West put a gun to its own economies’ heads and pulled the trigger. On the basis of wildly overhyped projections from second-tier British universities, whose direst forecasts—half a million deaths in Britain alone!—terrified heads of state everywhere reacted in fear. (Actual number of deaths attributed to the virus in the UK so far: 37,000.)
When the architect of apocalyptic “social distancing,” Neil Ferguson, was recently caught by the British media receiving an in-home visit from his married girlfriend in violation of lockdown regulations, it wasn’t only his professionalism that got caught with its pants down.
Here in the United States, many of America’s governors—especially those in the blue states—suddenly felt free to issue draconian orders affecting our most fundamental freedoms, including the free exercise of religion, and with nary a peep out of either the American Civil Liberties Union or right-leaning or libertarian lawyers.
Never mind that other studies, such as one by Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, pegged the fatality much lower from the start. She’s cautioned against mistaking the presence of antibodies as indicative of the true rates of infection, saying that hidden “herd immunity” is the key to beating the virus.
“In almost every context, we’ve seen the epidemic grow, turn around, and die away—almost like clockwork,” she said. “Different countries have had different lockdown policies, and yet what we’ve observed is almost a uniform pattern of behavior … to me that suggests that much of the driving force here was due to the build-up of immunity.”
As the virus begins its inevitable recession in the Northern Hemisphere, and conservative-run U.S. states are leading the way to reopening without any ill effects thus far, the Democrats are starting to panic that maybe what they were so eagerly calling the “New Normal” (another odious phrase) of restricted movement, the banishment of faith, and the mandatory wearing of masks that makes us look like a nation of bank robbers might not take down the hated Orange Man after all.
In an effort to keep the panic going, they’re already retailing a “second wave” of virus infections that—according to the now-discredited World Health Organization—is sure to come this fall.
Don’t bet on it: Mask-wearing and other aspects of the Lockdown State should soon be a thing of past, along with the moribund economy.
Let Our People Go
“We’re about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” said Harvard professor Jason Furman, an economist in the Obama administration. Furman believes the current economic malaise is more akin to what happens after a natural disaster: a sharp drop-off and then a rocketing recovery as the traditional American can-do spirit reasserts itself in the face of adversity.
Does anybody really believe Americans will embrace the new “new normal,” any more than they did President Barack Obama’s dismal “new normal” economic forecasts back in 2010, which were based on structurally high unemployment and static incomes? All it took to dispel the old “new normal” was the election of 2016. The election of 2020 might well do the same.
The really surprising thing about our experience with the coronavirus has been how quickly some U.S. citizens and institutions have folded in the teeth of unconstitutional mandates. Churches have been disgraced by their easy acquiescence to their shuttering; now that they’re essentially wards of the state, as in the old Soviet Union, perhaps they should lose their tax-exempt status as well.
And, once again, the media has led the charge against religion—the author of a recent piece in the formerly respectable Atlantic magazine helpfully asserted in a tweet that Christian churches around the world were functioning as “super-spreaders.” The media is fully aware that the United States remains one of the most religious countries in the world, and anything they can do to damage faith only serves their larger purpose of a secular, “progressive” society.
But Americans are finally catching on. No one wants to live in a constrained society, constantly observed by snitches who gleefully rat out their neighbors. No one wants to dine communally with plastic shields covering their heads. Far too many Americans have gone months without any human contact at all. This is no way to live.
Americans have done their duty: They “flattened the curve,” kept the hospitals from being overwhelmed, and are doing their best to protect the elderly while restoring their common humanity. We’ve had our free 90-day trial of fascism and government-by-decrees—and found it wanting.
As the saying goes, “that’s not who we are.”
Now that Memorial Day has arrived, it’s time to let our people go. Otherwise, what did the ranks of the honored dead in Arlington Cemetery and elsewhere give their lives for?
Michael Walsh is the author of “The Devil’s Pleasure Palace” and “The Fiery Angel,” both published by Encounter Books. His latest book, “Last Stands,” a cultural study of military history, will be published in December by St. Martin’s Press. Follow him on Twitter @dkahanerules.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.