By Foster Friess, Columnist
We applaud Governor Mark Gordon for his effectiveness in alerting Wyomingites of the steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19 while keeping Wyoming open for business. We must use his example to encourage the majority of our nation to carefully and gradually reopen our nation’s business.
Last week, Dr. David L. Katz, the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, one of the Centers for Disease Control’s units, argued in the New York Times; that in addition to the two primary goals of saving lives and avoiding hospital crush, we must also avoid destroying the economy.
Will people spend their $1,200 checks if they see businesses shuttered and “no toilet paper?” Confidence must be restored by getting businesses open and functioning, with care and caution.
Restaurants could limit patrons; theatres, baseball parks could sell only enough tickets to allow two empty seats between attendees; and barbers, beauty salons and gyms could implement their coronavirus cautions and let patrons determine if they want to take the risk.
For those of us who are members of the Great Generation, we remember the risk our family members took as they faced the bullets of the Nazis in World War II. We faced mumps, measles, chickenpox, and dreaded polio. On our way to school, we walked past quarantined houses where the practice was to quarantine the sick rather than the healthy. This is the approach Sweden and Netherlands now takes.
Has our new generation become too averse to risk? How risky is it to begin cautiously getting businesses open?
On Thursday, March 26th White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, an Army physician who has served both the Obama and Trump administrations, chastised the press for sensationalizing the extent of the risk and pointed out that one of the earlier prognostications of 500,000 deaths has been revised to 20,000. She said, “The predictions of the models don’t match the realities on the ground.”
The 2,227 U.S. deaths as of Sunday, March 29 include 1,340 from five states, NY, NJ, MI, WA and CA leaving the remaining 887 deaths coming from the rest of the population of 300,000,000 people. A 0.00000296% death rate. That will increase. Can we keep the inevitable increase manageable?
My neighbor with several factories in China reports virus spread has indeed slowed and his plants reopened. Macau reopened its shuttered casinos. The Food and Drug Administration over the weekend approved Abbott Labs test that gives positive results in 5 minutes; negative in 13. Ventilator production is soaring thanks to President Trump’s inspiring America’s private sector.
This past week Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”
The Center for Disease Control’s 2017 report reveals annual deaths from influenza and pneumonia of 55,672; chronic lower respiratory diseases160,201; cancer 509,000 and heart disease 647,000. Will COVID-19 surpass traditional flu/respiratory deaths of 215,873? Outside of the top five states, we are at 887 and counting.
Dr. Katz also outlined how the data from South Korea, shows “that as much as 99 percent of active cases in the general population are “mild” and do not require specific medical treatment.” The vast majority of people, who become infected will not require hospitalization. They face much graver symptoms if we keep America on pause.
For many losing their jobs, closing their businesses and being alone at home could be much worse than the coronavirus. The non-profit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported call volumes spiked 300 percent since the start of the coronavirus.
Matthew 6:25 implores us: ”do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear… “ Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” The exhortation to “fear not” appears 365 times in The Bible. President Franklin Roosevelt’s charge during the despair of the Great Depression: “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
April 2nd I turn 80, and despite my exhortation to ”fear not”, I am very fearful that our political class has ignored the wisdom that exists among our entrepreneurs and business community and does not fully understand the detrimental impact of shutting America’s employees off from their livelihoods.
As many governors frighten the Constitutionalists among us by limiting the right of assembly and making it punishable to attend church we want to encourage Governor Gordon to continue to set an example for the nation. Unless the disease escalates to the point of overwhelming hospitals we must allow wage earners to regain their livelihoods.
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Let’s Make America a Philippians 4:8 land.