Over the last few years, I’ve heard more and more casual acquaintances complain that they no longer have any idea of where to go to for reporting they can actually believe. These were not supporters of President Donald Trump nor even conservatives, but their frustration did stem in a large measure from the recent and rapid degeneration of ethics in the press, most notably evidenced by their treatment of the president. As many of us predicted, their histrionics and unprecedented bias is turning a lot of people off.
Now, we have something a bit more grave than a sham impeachment to contend with, and many of the same people want answers. In fact, they desperately need answers, because those could aid them in preserving their health and the health of those around them. Not only don’t people want to contract the novel coronavirus themselves, they don’t want to inadvertently infect their ailing grandmother or anyone else.
I’ve mentioned previously that I worked in biomedical research for over 20 years, and some of that time was spent in the area of infectious disease research. For the record, I hold neither a Ph.D. nor an M.D., so I generally hope that tempers any conclusions drawn from my comments on the subject. Nobody knows everything about infectious diseases, least of all COVID-19. That’s why they call such diseases and viruses “novel.”
What I will say is that during my time in that profession, I once worked directly under one of the top infectious disease researchers in the world. I drafted standard operating procedures (SOPs) for a brand-new, federally funded biosafety level 3 (BSL-3/BL-3) facility on a university campus, and subsequently worked in that facility for several years.
I became the only individual on that campus who was trained to ship and receive infectious agents, to and from destinations across the globe, respectively. This is something I did with regularity, and I’m quite sure many would cringe at the nature of infectious agents that routinely travel in and out of communities all over America in this manner.
To provide context, some of these bugs were far more of a potential threat to human populations than COVID-19, but of course, we were professionals, and it was all in the name of science.
Thus, it is singularly dispiriting when I see my fellow citizens’ fear and trepidation over this virus evolving into panic simply because they aren’t sure of what to do to protect themselves. They’re not even sure how much of a genuine threat COVID-19 represents.
What’s even more dispiriting is that in this age of high technology, stunning advances in medicine and lightning-fast information delivery, the dissemination of data on COVID-19 has resembled that “telephone” game children play, wherein a spoken phrase becomes increasingly distorted as it’s whispered to successive participants in the game.
It’s probably no surprise to most Americans by now that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) acted with marked duplicity in its initial response to the novel coronavirus, which may or may not have been accidentally released from a research facility in Wuhan.
Given my background, I’m quite sure that there are high-level researchers in China who are shaking their heads right now. It’s quite likely that they expressed concerns over safety and exposure risks to their Communist overlords a long time ago. They were probably patted on the head and gently admonished to go back to work if they knew what was good for them. Like every other imaginable statute in China, laboratory safety protocols are what the CCP says they are, and if there’s any fallout, the party handles the damage control.
After all, it’s not like this sort of thing hasn’t happened before.
It’s become apparent to many that the politically driven fearmongering being conducted by the American press and politicos is contributing in no small way to the public’s level of confusion and fear. At this juncture, barring anyone who has actually broken with symptoms of COVID-19, most of the precautious currently being taken to prevent the spread of the virus amount to minor inconvenience.
When I see reports of American citizens brawling over toilet paper and hand sanitizer, however, I find myself far more concerned with our ability to maintain domestic tranquility than COVID-19 itself.
It is no mystery to me why the nations with the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases (apart from China) are experiencing those high numbers, and the reason is ignorance. Facts that scientists do not yet know about the virus are one thing, but when closed-society bureaucrats and political ideology begin to dominate the area of information dissemination, the risk of new infections can increase exponentially.
In terms of the political landscape globally and in America, there probably couldn’t be a worse time for COVID-19 to have struck. In terms of who is handling America’s response, however, the virus couldn’t have arrived at a better time. When COVID-19 broke, President Trump did what he usually does in a crisis: He dispensed with fanfare, enrolled qualified experts and put them to work, political considerations and pop culture sensibilities notwithstanding.
We may be long past a best-case scenario regarding COVID-19’s final disposition, but I shudder to think where we would be if we had a president who measured his response to this public health emergency against every politically tinged salvo issued by the Communist Chinese, rogue nations and his own political enemies.
Article posted with permission from Erik Rush
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