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A Rose By Any Other Name

SCIENCE AND DATA ALERT!

12/29/20

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

 So if we could turn the clock back to one year ago today (12/29/19) and I told you that in the coming year (2020) there would be an infectious microbe that would eventually infect upwards of 1,800,000,000 (1.8 billion) people, would cause an estimated 10,000,000 (10 million) active illnesses and would kill around 1,500,000 (1.5 million) people with a case fatality rate of about 15% (!), what do you think your reaction would have been? If you can even do the mental gymnastics to put yourself in the mindset of December 2019, you would probably say something like “Wow, that sounds terrible. Wait, there are about eight billion people on the planet so those 1.5 million deaths, while tragic, account for only about two-one hundredths of one percent of the population? Well, that’s still terrible but it is what it is.” And that would be the end of it. Be honest. But if you’ve been even mildly sentient this past year your thoughts would no doubt jump right to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and perhaps you would reflect on the ways we’ve handled things and compare that reflection with what “December 2019 you” would have thought to do in the face of those numbers, which would have been “nothing”. Be honest. And I’ll prove it.

But as it is very difficult to “unsee” something, many of us would with equally no doubt, believe they’re virtuous enough to have “December 2019 them” think of all the things we’ve done this year as what we would have to do to save precious souls (shout out Governor Phil “I have no idea what I’m doing” Murphy). We would of course listen to the “experts” and we would follow the “science”, that we would do what we were told to do for the greater good to save the human race from a bug that has now supplanted us as the dominant species on the planet (shout out kooky Keith Olbermann). Many would come to lament that they are now aware that some people they know are clearly not “in this together, apart”, and that those people (shout out me) who see that the actual SCIENCE AND DATA paint a very different picture than the one being fed to us by our overlords are now exposed as selfish, stupid, science-denying, grandma-killers. That is the divide in this country today. An artifact of our collective insanity. 

But again, try to “unknow” what you now know. Stop and think for a minute of a world where the aforementioned plague didn’t happen in 2020 and how none of us would know the words “lockdown” (unless we were in prison) or “mask mandate” or “self-quarantine” or any of the other buzzwords which will no doubt be the quintessential icons (along with Dr. Anthony “I lied about the required vaccine rates because you are too stupid to hear the truth” Fauci of course) of a year we are all glad to see go. Imagine a world without this terrible, awful disease that forced us to destroy hundreds of millions of lives around the world in an attempt to save those 10,000,000 illnesses and those 1,500,000 deaths. Imagine the world we lived in just 12 months ago before we surrendered our First Amendment rights, before government officials encouraged us to spy on and report on our friends and neighbors for not being in compliance with the rules, before people were not allowed to make a living, before millions lost their life savings and the businesses they had spent decades building, before our children’s educational and social well-being was stripped from them. Before people got arrested for sitting alone on a beach or for paddle-boarding alone in the ocean or for walking in a park. Before teachers would tell kids that they hoped those kids would get sick and die because they weren’t wearing masks or before some poor slob eating a sandwich outside was maced or had hot coffee thrown in his face for the same unthinkable infraction. How about a time before we humans looked at each other with suspicion or fear, or worse yet, didn’t look at each other at all. Before we had set in motion a financial, psychological, and social apocalypse that will revisit us for decades if not generations to come. All in the name of fighting this “once in a century” disease. Just imagine if 2020 did not see the end of the age of reason. But it did.

And to prove to you that “December 2019 you” would have done nothing and to put things in some perspective, the bug spoken of above which ravaged the planet to the tune of some 1,500,000 deaths is not, in fact, the “novel” coronavirus. It is tuberculosis, which up until this very year was the leading infectious disease killer in the world. And the above-described reign of microbial terror happens EVERY YEAR. And we do NOTHING about it. Now I’m sure that upon reading this, many will get angry at me for “tricking” you, and would love to tell me why the two are nowhere near the same thing but, much to their chagrin, they are. At least in terms of the DATA, which is all that matters.

According to the American Lung Association: “Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs but can affect almost any part of the body.” Sound familiar? And “The chances of getting infected by the TB germ are highest for people that are in close contact with others who are infected…Not everyone who is infected with the TB germ (latent TB) develops clinically active TB disease...People at the highest risk for developing active TB disease are those with a weak immune system…” Sound familiar again? But to be completely fair, although TB is “spread from person to person through the air, it is not easy to become infected.” And while “TB can be fatal if it's not treated…taking medicine as directed can almost always cure TB.” So there are some differences. But by the numbers, in respect to illness and most importantly death, these two diseases are essentially the same. 1,500,000 people died last year of tuberculosis, and there aren’t 10 Americans who have thought more than four minutes about tuberculosis in the last 100 years. Now to be fair again, COVID has killed way more Americans than TB, but I guess we here don’t really care about all those people in other parts of the world, like say in Africa or Asia, dying EVERY YEAR from TB. A true case of out of sight out of mind, but an absolute proof that our reaction to the ‘rona is way disproportionate to anything we’ve ever done before.    

And again, by the SCIENCE AND DATA, these two diseases are very similar. But one BIG difference is the case fatality rate, which stands “officially” at about 2% for COVID but is about 15% for TB which makes TB more than SEVEN TIMES more deadly than COVID, and if you take into account the true number of COVID “cases” (those undetected infections) the TB case fatality rate is somewhere between SEVEN AND SEVENTY TIMES HIGHER than COVID, and yet never a lockdown, a mask mandate or a restaurant or gym run out of business. Why is that? Can you explain our almost comical reaction to this virus? And after all, who really cares if a million kids on the other side of the world starve to death because of lockdowns, as long as grandma is safe!

Can you see how we’ve lost our minds over a disease that will kill slightly more people this year than another infectious respiratory-spread disease kills EVERY year? A disease of which we never even take notice? Can you not recognize the insanity? When history looks back at 2020 (assuming there’s anyone left to look back), COVID will be a blip in the record, just like we today view the 1918 Spanish Flu (and before coronavirus I would venture to guess most Americans didn’t even know what the Spanish Flu was), but 2020 will forever be remembered as the year we lost our rational minds and declared an official end to the age of reason. Come on man, be honest. Dark ages, here we come.

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