Not all violence bursts from the tip of a gun. Biology is violent, red in tooth and claw. Silent killers are the most violent of all.
Covid-19 is savage in ways not before seen.
As of today, 190,000 Americans are listed as dead from Covid-19 (data from worldometer.com). The dead includes infants and elderly, scientists and meatpackers. Biological violence discriminates less than what erupts from a gun. Viruses kill anybody while they try to infect everybody.
Take all the deaths of American military in Vietnam. Add the deaths of American soldiers in Korea. Pile on all the deaths of Americans in the Middle East and Afghanistan. All those deaths together, over decades, are far fewer than American deaths in six months of Covid-19.
And the real violence is yet higher. Real Covid deaths may be 30-40% if we consider excess deaths, the number of those dead above the level expected (https://regenerationhealthnews.com.paintscape.info.paintscape.info/sleep/coronavirus-public-health-blog-4-26-20-a-brief-note-on-deaths/).
Yet violence does more than kill. It maims.
Here are a few of the many ways Covid-19 harms:
Blood clots, particularly dangerous in the brain and heart. Strokes and heart attacks can leave you demented, paralysed, or never yourself again.
Pneumonias with respiratory failure, followed by ICU admissions for weeks. Many survivors can’t breath well enough to walk.
Autoimmune pneumonias, weeks later to people originally asymptomatic.
Multi-Inflammatory Syndrome of Children. Kids’ immunity goes wild, attacks their arteries. Organs fail.
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis – the fatty sheath of nerve cells automimmunologically digested. Perhaps one of the causes people’s persistent brain fog. Many say they can’t think or do any work. It comes and goes, unaccountably.
Chronic Kidney Disease, a new Covid provoked epidemic that with time will burgeon.
PTSD – people on ventilators hallucinating on and on. When they finally leave the ICU, terrorized by flashbacks of the horrors their poorly functioning minds constructed while completely helpless.
The real list of illnesses caused by the virus is long, and will get longer. Covid-19 fakes out our immune system. It causes misdirections that invoke uncontrolled responses that wipe out lungs, kidneys and arteries.
But none of these injuries include the families who do not say goodbye to the people they love. The kids who miss school and get depressed. Their parents who lose jobs. The terror of elderly in nursing homes who wonder, will this new carer bring me death? The flashbacks of health care workers watching their patients collapse. The suicides of doctors like Dr. Lorna Breen, uselessly seeing patients die pulled from ambulances.
To stop a pandemic you panic early. That’s how Taiwan kept their numbers of deaths to seven. Why Vietnam has less than 50 dead. Why Korea has got people back to near normal life despite mass point outbreaks propagated in church halls whose leaders did not think the virus real, and could not hurt their parishioners.
Throughout December and January the president received numerous intelligence assessments that the virus would heavily hit America. They were ignored. A request for protective equipment for health care workers by HHS secretary Alex Azar on January 18th was derided. A January 26th white paper by Peter Navarro that half a million Americans could die was dismissed. Instead, the president declared the virus a “hoax,” “nothing,” something that would “just disappear.”
On February 2nd flu researcher Rachel Chu asked CDC to study what she believed was a coronavirus epidemic spreading in Seattle. She was told such actions were illegal by both CDC and FDA.
How can any doctor in any federal agency tell a researcher it’s illegal to find out whether an epidemic is sweeping their city? How could they do it knowing how the thousands Covid had already killed? Only when they’re told to stand down from the very top.
But Dr. Chu broke the law and discovered community spread through Seattle for several weeks. The day she called CDC was the day after the CDC head of infectious disease told Congress the virus might be “big.”
This stark warning of disaster led to a national messenging campaign by the president that nothing was amiss. Now White House spokesperson Kayleigh McAneny, then spokesman for his re-election campaign, declared “the coronavius will never come here” to the United States.
It came. It’s staying.
Last week 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse drove 30 miles from his home in Illinois to Kenosha Wisconsin to join a group of militia confronting protesters. With his AR-15 military rifle he shot dead two unarmed protesters, and shot a third in the crowd running after him.
The president declared he was acting in self-defense.
Americans should now act in self-defense. We don’t need hundreds of thousands more dead and millions maimed.
Our self-defense should include the same actions that have prevented the biological, economic and social violence Vietnam, Korea, Australia and other countries prevented. They include a national public health infrastructure of actively tracing and tracking; money for cheap, spit antigen tests so that kids can go to school safely and workers can enter factories without fearing they’ll infect their families. We also need worldwide viral prevention programs, like those the U.S. with WHO help used to help run, to make sure that the other 50 bat coronaviruses similar to SARS, MERS, and Sars-Cov-2 don’t cause the next pandemic.
What might have been? Perhaps the country closest to the U.S. in its population and viral placement is Australia. There the different states were not told they were “on their own.” Despite a disliked conservative prime minister all major governments combined on a single test; put their data together; tested people traveling from other lands; isolated and supported people infected.
After original success, their quarantines failed. Melbourne locked down after a couple hundred new cases. Covid-19 is hard to quell. But Australia’s overall death rate is 27 per million compared to the U.S.’s 573.
If we had responded like Australia, more than 180,000 Americans might still be alive. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands would live unmaimed, like Australians going about their lives.
The safety of the tomb is eternal.
For our own self-defense, we need leaders who prevent pandemics, not foment them.