COVID-19 and the Politics of Fear and Panic

By Ardy Zaidar:

We are in the midst of a cold-virus pandemic. As of March 31, its worldwide mortality ratio is 4.9% and 1.9% in the U.S. Both of these mortality ratios lie within the range of mortality from seasonal influenza epidemics of recent years, which range from fractions of a percent (U.S.) to upwards of 5%. Thus, the 1,012 and 451 deaths caused by Sweden’s previous two flu seasons accounted for 4.9% and 3.3% of confirmed cases, respectively. The mortality ratio of Sweden’s current COVID-19 epidemic falls exactly midway between these flu percentages, at 4.1% (180 dead of 4,435 confirmed cases, March 31 figures). In all these cases, the age distribution of risk of dying from the virus is similar, being concentrated in the elderly and those with otherwise compromized health status.

According to these numbers, we appear to be dealing with a viral infection that, as far as its deadliness is concerned, lies within the range of previous years’ flu epidemics, apparently with a more aggressive respiratory profile than we are used to, but not with exceptionally high mortality. Yet neither in Sweden nor anywhere else did the seasonal flu epidemics of past years, with mortality ratios comparable to the current pandemic, lead to lockdowns or other drastic measures. Were the lives of the elderly and those with otherwise compromized health worth less in previous years than they are now? No, instead, it appears that, unlike the epidemics of recent years, this one has been accompanied by a worldwide mass panic. It drives drastic measures imposed on whole populations, measures that vary from country to country, but which everywhere are adopted without a basis in knowable and foreseeable consequences as far as social disruption and economic devastation are concerned. At this point, we have no idea whether one or another society, perhaps the one in which we live, is capable of weathering proplonged imposition of these government-mandated measures, because no precedent exists for such a course of action in modern times.

Read more: American Thinker

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