San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed, announced the city was going full Italy and imposing a ’round-the-clock curfew for residents that would keep everyone in their homes for the next three weeks. Other cities and communities and jurisdictions followed suit, acting in part in reaction to President Donald Trump’s advisement for Americans to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 10 people.
Title this: How to tank an economy.
No wonder people the nation over are buying up all the toilet paper. Everybody fears a lockdown is imminent.
“The new public health order,” said Breed, “will require San Franciscans to remain at home with exceptions only for essential outings. These measures will be disruptive to daily life — but there is no need to panic.”
Government ordering its citizens to stay for prolonged periods in their homes seems quite the proper time to panic.
And honestly: This is overkill, folks.
This is not the plague, also called the Black Death, where roughly double-digit percentages of Europe’s population were wiped out and the entire world’s population reduced by millions.
This is not pneumonia, where annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 250,000 seek medical attention each year and more than 50,000 die each year — in the United States.
Yet this is generally how the media reports on coronavirus: “The United States began restricting citizens’ movements Monday in a major escalation of attempts to contain the deadly coronavirus pandemic,” AFP wrote.
How come we don’t talk about the “deadly” flu so much?
Per the CDC, 2018 and 2019 saw an estimated 61,000 and 34,157 deaths due to flu, respectively, in the United States. In the United States alone. Yet on its flu statistics’ page, the CDC refers to the “Disease Burden of Influenza.” You have to search to find the deadly part.
Context is king. Context and truth.
According to the latest from WorldOMeters.Info: The total number of cases of coronavirus reported in the United States stands at 4,743, according to this WorldOMeters.Info chart. The virus is being blamed for 93 deaths — seven of which are new — and there are 80 reports of new cases. Meanwhile, America’s dealing with 4,576 active cases, 12 of which are regarded as serious. And by population, America has reported 14.3 cases of coronavirus per one million citizens.
By comparison, in China, where until today, the markets had been reportedly in recovery mode, WorldOMeters.Info reported: China’s total coronavirus case count is 80,881. Twenty-one new cases were just reported; 13 new deaths due to coronavirus were just reported — adding to the total 3,226 death count in that country. Meanwhile, China still records 8,946 of active cases, 3,226 of which are deemed serious. By population, China has 56.2 cases of coronavirus per one million citizens.
Are Americans to stay home, stay inside, stay behind closed doors for the next few weeks — few months? Few whatever?
Hand washing is good advice.
Staying home when sick is sound suggestion.
Government mandated house arrests, called curfews? Economic devastation. Medical overkill. Government overreach. It’s one step from putting soldiers into the streets to check for citizens’ papers.
Let’s remember we’re America — before we’re not.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.
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