A Brief History
On March 12, 2020, people all over the globe are wondering about the true origins and the true implications of the “coronavirus” that (as we are told) originated in Wuhan, China. Drastic measures being taken, including shutting down schools and colleges, draconian quarantines of cruise ships, cancellation public presidential campaign events, ending spectators at school athletic contests and the use of the National Guard to enforce a quarantine of New Rochelle, New York are all the types of measures we would expect in some sort of apocalyptic scenario, such as the Black Plague or the fictional “Captain Tripps” of the Stephen King tale, The Stand. (See end of article for updates.)
Many colleges and universities in the United States have cancelled in class teaching and substituted online class time instead. Students are told not to return from Spring Break. All this sounds easy, until you realize the students have important personal effects in their dorm rooms and in some cases are being denied access to those rooms and their property even when no students or faculty at the school is known to have the virus! Seriously, what is going on? Professors that have never taught online are being tasked with immediately adapting their classes to an online format. How does that work for classes that require labs? What about professors that are not computer savvy? What about the bajillions of students that are employed at the colleges in various jobs, such as team manager or in the library?
At the University of Dayton, in Ohio, students did not take kindly to the message that the campus was to be closed and students were not to return after Spring Break. Classes were to resume online, and students were being denied access to their dorms. When students began to gather in large numbers to protest the measures, the police were called and an escalating series of events led to the use of riot control measures such as using pepper balls fired at the students and clashes with the police! The university issued the following press release:
“A large disorderly crowd that grew to more than 1,000 people gathered on Lowes Street starting around 11 p.m., throwing objects and bottles in the street and at police, and jumping on cars. Police gave verbal orders to disperse which were ignored. Police initially launched pepper balls, which contain powder with an irritant that disperses quickly, that were unsuccessful in reducing the crowd size. About 2:15 a.m., UD police and additional Dayton police again gave orders to disperse and moved to clear the street, which was effective in dispersing the crowd quickly. At least one person was reportedly injured by a thrown bottle.”
National Guard encircling an American city? Riot police putting down a student protest? Prohibiting public assembly? Is a glorified form of the flu really worthy of such dystopian measures? Or does the government know something they are not telling us? Can the government really tell people they cannot go to church? On March 11, 2020, Governor DeWine of Ohio told the people of his state that large gatherings of people are now prohibited. No spectator sports. How many people make a “large gathering?” Does this mean couples planning a wedding get their deposit back for dresses, flowers, halls, limos and whatever? Or do the vendors eat the costs? (My head is spinning, give me a minute…)
The public has been partially calmed by President Trump’s blasé attitude and his public comments about the coronavirus, or more technically COVID-19, including totally false statements about the availability of test kits and the lethality of the illness. Other statements by government entities and health officials have been much more ominous, and the media reporting has done little to calm the public. Bottled water and toilet paper have become hot commodities at stores as the public stocks up in anticipation of being forced to stay at home for an extended period of time. Hand sanitizer and face masks have been hoarded by speculators and are being sold at outrageous mark up prices. Governor Cuomo of New York is countering the hand sanitizer shortage with a novel plan: Prisoners in New York prisons will manufacture the stuff for the people of New York! What other panic generated shortages are next? Gasoline? Food? Guns and ammunition?
For perspective on how bad coronavirus has been for the United States so far (as of March 11, 2020), there have been 1016 cases identified with 31 deaths attributed to the illness. Compared to the number of Americans that have died so far in 2020 because of opioid overdose, probably about 10,000 or so based on statistics from recent years, the coronavirus problem would seem minor. The NHTSA says about 29 Americans per day are killed by drunk drivers. Compare that number to coronavirus victims so far. The CDC reports as many as over 30 million Americans have gotten the flu so far this season (from November 2019 to February 2020) and 12,000 have died. Wow! Another 1000 or so people are murdered by the use of firearms every month in the United States. Nearly double that number shoot themselves each month. Coronavirus looks pretty mild by comparison! So why the massive amount of attention and extreme measures taken???
With Italy declaring nearly a total “lockdown” on their country, or at least in large portions of Italy, it would seem no country would take such a measure without serious reason to do so. The economic cost is staggering. Chinese restaurants, movie theaters, public transit, airlines, cruise ships, amusement parks and some other industries have been devastated by official and unofficial discouragement from coming into contact with other people. Will this situation get better, or worse?
On the surface of the coronavirus issue, the illness seems to be deadly mainly to the elderly and the infirm. Mortality rates are around 3%, but much lower for healthy, young people, and much higher for older, ill people. (President Trump said he “thinks” the “real” mortality rate is much lower, based on a “hunch” he has and has cited his own alleged “knack” for coronavirus as some sort of special, mystical understanding of the disease! No kidding.) We are NOT talking about Ebola or Black Plague. Or are we? What is the government not telling us? Why must our response be so extreme? The mixed messages sent by President Trump and his own administration are troubling. When the government says, “Do not panic,” does that mean it IS time to panic?
Another factor involved in the coronavirus “pandemic” and scare are the conspiracy theories circulating about the disease. Is the virus actually a bioweapon that escaped? Is it a bioweapon that was used against Chinese protesters and got out of hand? Is there a more sinister story behind the stuff? Is it God’s retribution for __________ (fill in the blank)? Does the Pope have coronavirus? (He mysteriously got sick right after visiting with coronavirus victims. What do you think?) Why are so many of the Iranian government members victims of coronavirus?
The Stock Market has crashed, and the rest of 2020 is virtually guaranteed to be a lousy year for our economy, and the economy of the world. International trade is suffering greatly. Spot shortages of various items made in China, including hot commodities as athletic shoes and smart phones are going to hit us hard in the near future. Combined with a rather severe oil war between Russia and Saudi Arabia that has rocked the oil industry, the American economy is being threatened by our own oil drilling industry, especially the “fracking” of shale oil, being shut down and perhaps forced into bankruptcy. The possibility of a serious recession or depression is quite real.
We do not have the answers, and in fact, really do not even have any good guesses as to the real situation! Do you? On one hand, the whole scenario seems blown way out of proportion based on the information available to us, but we are deeply troubled by official actions of governments and industry that imply a much more serious threat is at work. Does our government, and the governments of other countries really know what they are doing? Maybe, but maybe not. Will there be rioting in the street, such as the University of Dayton may have given us a preview of coming events? Will the world be driven into a global depression? Or will this all blow over like SARS did in 2002-2003? Or will we have a Spanish Influenza scenario as we did in 1918-1920 when 27% of the population of the world came down with the disease, and something between 17 million and 50 million people died of it! (Almost impossible to calculate the economic impact of such a disaster.)
In other words, What is really going on with Coronavirus?
Breaking News! At 9 pm on March 11, 2020, President Trump addressed the nation regarding the coronavirus problem, and he actually admitted the problem is a “pandemic.” He also announced a ban on travel to and from Europe for the next 30 days, the type of intercontinental quarantine we have not seen for 100 years! The appearance of the President seemed weird, as did his manner of talking. He seemed like a hostage releasing a prepared statement from the abductors. If this presentation does not panic the public, nothing will! The economic factors involved in the shut down of travel to Europe includes the trading of cargo and goods. Vast amounts of money are going to be lost by numerous companies, possibly enough to drive many of them out of business. Will mass bankruptcy put a strain on banks? OMG! We can hope this is all an overreaction, but…
More Breaking News! On March 12, 2020, the governor of Ohio and his team including health officials addressed the people of the state, with some momentous information. “Large” gatherings, either indoors or outdoors, are defined by 100 or more people. K-12 schools will be placed on an extended “Spring Break” for 3 weeks starting March 16. Scarier news than that, we were told probably 1% of Ohioans would now test positive for the COVID-19 virus, or in simple terms, 110,000 people! When the virus peaks later in April or May, 70% of Ohioans are expected to test positive! This latest information from the Federal and State governments sounds NOTHING like what President Trump was saying just 2 days ago! If the mortality percentage is indeed in the area of 15% for the elderly and .5 to 1% for the young, the United States can expect as many as a few hundred thousand deaths from coronavirus. Say it aint so, Joe!
Even more updates: As things go from bad to worse, the numbers keep going up and predictions are getting ominous. Hotel/Motels as makeshift hospitals? Amusement parks and Broadway closed? Some states have shut down bars and restaurants! Store shelves are being stripped of essentials, something the author has personally witnessed. Schools are closing virtually everywhere. How many people are going to be laid off? How many of them will become bankrupt? How many businesses will fold? Who will be responsible for rent and taxes if businesses such as restaurants and theaters are shut down? The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to ZERO! Now they have nowhere to go if things get worse! This is scary stuff…
Update, March 19, 2020. Many major school districts have already canceled the rest of the school year, and most colleges acknowledge the end of classroom time before Fall. Government experts are telling us the pandemic will probably last 18 months, while Congress and the White House try to work on some sort of economic stimulus to keep the economy from collapsing. Grocery and cleaning necessities are disappearing from store shelves, while guns and ammo are seeing record sales. Cases of coronavirus are climbing incredibly fast, and the President is blaming the Media for the crisis! Musicians, arena and stadium workers,barber shops and salons, gyms, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, some malls, airlines, hotels and motels and now EVEN the Auto Industry is shutting down! Suppoosedly the auto industry shut down is temporary, but who knows? Those other businesses are probably down for weeks if not months. Such an incredible number of people are now out of work or soon to be out of work, while others have seen their hours cut, we have to wonder, who will pay for relief measures? For all the doubters and conspiracy theorists out there that were “sure” the whole coronavirus thing was a hoax, including YOU, Mr. President, you were WRONG! the stock market has lost every bit of the gains since President Trump took office and has lost some more. So much for our “best economy in history.” Good luck to all of you and please follow the social distance and hygiene guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and protect yourself and your family.
Update March 22, 2020: The Senate is supposedly near an agreement regarding an economic stimulus package that would pay each American that made a minimum amount of money a $1200 check and expand the unemployment insurance program. Democrats have insisted on the unemployment insurance part, and on safeguards against corporate giveaways, while Republicans have likewise been on board with preventing corporate and rich people profiteering from the stimulus package. We will have to wait to see the final details, perhaps as early as tomorrow. Meanwhile, some major retailers of guns and ammunition in Ohio have shut their doors, despite no official order to do so. If you are aware of such closings in other states, please let us know. The closing of major sources of guns and ammo more or less lends credibility to the concept of being stocked up on guns and ammo BEFORE a crisis instead of waiting for something to happen. (If of course, you believe that doing so is important.) On this day Governor DeWine of Ohio announced that Ohio was joining the growing list of states on a state wide mandated lockdown, with people allowed out of their house or yard only for essential tasks. Those essential tasks include seeking medical attention, buying necessities, and walks outdoors, though playgrounds are now closed. Day care will remain open, but only with a maximum of 6 children per location. Non-essential workers and businesses according to the Department of Homeland Security definition are shut down. Ohio has also shut down abortions not necessary to save the life of the mother, a move seen as a political stunt by pro-choice advocates.
Update March 25, 2020: The following are calls Cincinnati Police will no longer respond to in person until further notice:
Breaking and entering reports where no suspect is present or there is no chance of property recovery.
Menacing reports that don’t involve domestic violence unless a suspect is expected to return.
Theft reports involving less than $5,000 of property where there is no possibility of an apprehension or property recovery, unless the stolen item is a firearm.
Criminal damaging and property damage.
Lost property, including lost or stolen license plates.
We are guessing other major and minor police departments are coming up with similar policies. Also, while some cities and states have suspended gun and ammunition sales, in Ohio gun stores have been designated among the essential businesses that are allowed to remain open during the lockdown, although some have closed anyway.
We are still waiting for the final passage of the economic stimulus plan.
Update, March 27,2020: The stimulus package has passed the Senate and now has passed the House of Representatives. How long it takes for money to reach citizens is not definite at this time. Deaths in the US have now approached 1400. The US now has more cases than ANY other country. Sadly, Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky tried to hold things up by demanding a roll call vote, which would have unnecessarily delayed the certain passage of the stimulus and forced legislators to return to Washington for the vote. Luckily, he was denied a second to his motion, as Republicans and Democrats are both furious with him! President Trump responded to the stunt by Massie by calling him a “third rate Grandstander.” Trump did sign the stimulus bill into law, but made sure to exclude any Democrats from being present at the signing. Will he grow up, or what?
Update, March 28, 2020: After President Trump publicly mused imposing a quarantine on parts of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, severe backlash from Governor Cuomo of New York and others may have been responsible for the alternate action taken by the President, which was to have the CDC issue a travel advisory for those states. As with many of the other recent “orders” and recommendations from the Federal, State, and Local governments, there are all sorts of exceptions for necessary people and activities. Meanwhile, the US number of cases has soared to over 123,000, more than any other country, and our death toll due to coronavirus is now over 2100. Industry is stepping up in a big way to manufacture respirators, surgical masks and ventilators, and many prominent celebrities are pouring donations into the effort to equip health care professionals with the tools they need.
Update, March 30, 2020: President Trump announced “social distancing” has been extended until at least April 30, 2020. He had previously publicly hoped things would be back to normal by Easter (April 12), though anyone with any brains whatsoever would have realized such a hope was ludicrously optimistic. The death toll in the US is now over 2500 people, and the worldwide toll is now approaching 3/4 of a million cases. Administration medical expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has stated publicly that estimates of deaths are between 100,000 and 200,000 for the US alone. President Trump said if we keep the death toll in the US to “only” 100,000 we will have achieved a great victory over COVID-19. New York City Police are going to start citing people with $500 tickets for violating social distance guidelines, per the mayor. China remains duplicitous about the outbreak. Not only did our #1 trading partner lie about the start of coronavirus and not warn the rest of the world in a timely manner, they also promulgated a false narrative conspiracy theory that the United States created the coronavirus and is using it against China as a bioweapon. Finally, they are currently lying their pants off about having turned the tide against the virus, and lying even more about the number of cases and deaths in the country. How can we say that? The number of burial urns to hold the cremated ashes of dead people has seen an incredible increase in numbers of the urns sent to Wuhan, the ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak. Photos of 5000 urns being sent to funeral homes in Wuhan are in stark contrast to the “official” death toll of only 23 people in China over the past week! The lying is blatant and obvious, and does the world a great disservice. Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida continues to refuse to issue a lockdown order or “shelter in place” order for Florida, although he buys in to the theory that New Yorkers and others are flocking to Florida to infect his people.
Question for students (and subscribers): Is the world overreacting to coronavirus? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Bell, David. When SHTF – CoronaVirus Outbreak Survival Guide: How to survive the 2020 COVID-19 / SARS-CoV Outbreak. Amazon, 2020.
Shors, Teri. Understanding Viruses. Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016.
The featured image in this article, a photograph by zhizhou deng of a street in Guangzhou City, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. This image was originally posted to Flickr by Zhizhou Deng at https://flickr.com/photos/186588517@N05/49477439332. It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.