OPINION By David Morgan
Asheville – “I want to wait until it’s safe!” How many times have we heard that? What exactly does it mean? The real meaning for those saying it seems to be it is not just “safe” but “perfectly safe.” However the truth is that we were never ‘perfectly safe’ before this outbreak and it seems outlandish to want ‘perfectly safe’ now. When have we ever been perfectly safe? We are born to live a meaningful fruitful life within the bounds of spirituality and moral laws.
Not to be a downer but we are all going to die, and we all know it. We usually don’t go around preoccupied with death or dying, at least in peace times; however, it seems that today we are now predisposed to do so. Even though ‘always being perfectly safe’ was always an unrealistic ideal, we are bombarded by mainstream, social media and peers on how important it is. Life in general is full of risks.
Getting married is risky, having kids is risky, driving your car is risky, going out to dinner is risky, and even playing a sport is risky. Taking a trip is very risky. This notion of ‘safe’ is dangerous to life and living. The big new notion on college campuses, where teenagers are supposed to become thinking adults, is to set up ‘safe zones’ or ‘safe spaces’ where speech of practically any kind can be suppressed and banned if it is somehow offensive. And if the speech is considered perhaps too radical, then the speaker can just be banned or locked out. Where is it said equire written permission? All under the guise of being ‘safe.’
What in fact is not ‘safe’, if you like the term, is locking people in their homes and preventing them from going to work because all the businesses affording them a livelihood have been shut down. The sad part is that a great bit of this was done out of panic and not due to factual analysis. It’s probably not surprising when you consider so many of our political leaders have grown up with safe zones.
However, not every country adopted extreme lockdown measures. Sweden is a perfect example of such a country that acted on advice it considered compelling. It advised its citizens to take sensible social distancing steps, but it did not close most of its primary schools and small businesses. Most restaurants remain open. It doesn’t appear that its death rate is much different from countries that are locked down. The same with Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan. It’s highly likely that the Swedes will become immune to the next wave of the disease, having achieved ‘herd immunity, while those locked down will not.
A number of experts make a compelling case that although social distancing is an excellent way for people to avoid catching and spreading the virus all at once, nationwide shutdowns of the economy and school closures simply prolong the life of the virus in a community and make no difference in the overall number of deaths.
The data shows that the fatality rate of those 80 and over who get the virus is 14.8%, and only 1.3% for those 50+ or .4% for 40+. Of the total cases of those infected only 8.1% were 20 something, 1.2% were teenagers and a mere .9% 9 years and younger. And the evidence already shows that that the overwhelming percentage of healthy people infected will get sick and recover or not get sick at all. It’s worth noting that the last significant pandemic, the swine flu, killed far more people worldwide than this virus.
Unless our leaders have some sort of secret plan, wouldn’t we be wise to start reopening schools and businesses now? As with any flu, some schoolchildren and younger adults will get sick, but the data is clear that most will not. We need to stop killing off their future because of our misguided panic and our drive to ‘be safe.’ If we choose not to, it would be highly illuminating to see the data that says that would be the wrong step to take.