CounterPunch supports the Floyd Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.
Please consider supporting an organization working on police accountability, additional resources on the movement and how you can get involved can be found here.

FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Coronavirus: Politically Created Panic is the Real Pandemic

As of early March, there were fewer than 200 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the United States. Nonetheless Congress passed, and US president Donald Trump signed, an $8.3 billion “emergency funding” bill theoretically related to containing the disease.

Had the federal government done nothing at all, the “beer flu” might have conceivably have ended up killing a tiny fraction of the number of Americans who will die of influenza during the same period.

Now that the federal government is blowing $8.3 billion, the chances of that happening will likely decrease — not because coronavirus will kill fewer people, but because influenza will kill more. Attention paid to, and resources thrown at, victims of the predictable annual flu epidemic will decrease in favor of the minor but newly lucrative COVID-19 nuisance.

Yes, nuisance. Even the US Centers for Disease Control, a big beneficiary of health panics, says that “information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild” (especially among those without underlying serious health conditions), that the virus “is NOT currently spreading widely in the United States,” and that “[f]or most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.”

So, why are people losing their minds? In a word, politics. Congress and the president are throwing $8.3 billion worth of gasoline onto an already raging fire of unjustified panic.

Rahm Emanuel’s Law: “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

Every Politician’s Corollary: “Even if you have to manufacturethat crisis out of whole cloth.”

Panic kills people, and politicians are just fine with that as long as it increases their stature among, and power over, the survivors.

At this point, the main protective measure I recommend is laying in a couple of weeks’ worth of food and water. Not because you need to stay home to avoid the coronavirus, but because the panic might result in shortages or even idiotic government measures like mass quarantines. And having some food and bottled water around is  always a good idea anyway.

If it makes you feel better to avoid travel and large crowds, wear a mask when you can’t avoid those things, and wash your hands 80 times a day, knock yourself out. But stay calm and be aware that you’re just going through self-comforting motions. Politicians, not viral nuisances, are the biggest threat to your survival.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Weekend Edition
June 05, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jacob F. Lee – Matthew E. Stanley
Direct Action and the Rejection of Monumental History
Louis Proyect
Reflections on My COVID-19 Immunity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mad Bull, Lost Its Way
Stanley L. Cohen
Everywhere is War
Louis Yako
America Has Always Been Burning with Racism: Who is the Enemy?
Jefferson Morley
Showdown on 16th Street
Eve Ottenberg
Killing Workers (and Customers) – With No Liability
Peter Linebaugh
Say Their Names!
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Democracy
Paul Street
Dear History Students
Lola Allen
How Has Bolivia’s de Facto Regime Taken Advantage of COVID-19 to Consolidate Its Power and Repress Political Rivals?
Jonathan Cook
As US protests Show, the Challenge is How to Rise Above the Violence Inherent in State Power
Alvaro Huerta
Police Abuse in America’s Barrios
Ron Jacobs
Generals Are Not the People’s Ally
Daniel Warner
Resilience
Ramzy Baroud
‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’: Israel’s China Strategy in Peril
David Yearsley
Dam Nation and Woody Guthrie
Sam Husseini
The Barr Coup 
Richard C. Gross
Bunker Mentality
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
BlackRock is Bailing Out Its ETFs with Fed Money and Taxpayers Eating Losses; It’s Also the Sole Manager for $335 Billion of Federal Employees’ Retirement Funds
Marshall Auerback
The Battle Over Free Speech Online is a Volcano That’s Ready to Blow
David Rosen
Trump’s Election to Lose
Jack Rasmus
Confronting Institutional Racism
Joseph Natoli
Ubu Orange
Gary Olson
Jakarta: Force and Fraud at Home and Abroad. What’s Next?
Sister Karen M. Donahue
I’m Outraged by Trump’s Church Photo-Op
Jaelani Turner-Williams
Racism is a Public Health Crisis
Chuck Collins
As 42.6 Million Americans File for Unemployment, Billionaires Add Half a Trillion Dollars to Their Cumulative Wealth
Jill Richardson
It Doesn’t Matter Who Protested and Who “Rioted”
Richard Ward
A Matter of Focus
Colin Todhunter
Food and Agroecology: Coping with Future Shocks
Ariel Dorfman
Literature in Times of Turmoil
Russell Mokhiber
ICE Wants to Deport Marc Petitpierre to Switzerland
Liz Theoharis
Organizing the Rich or the Poor? Which America Will Be Ours After the Pandemic?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Social Media Sucks for Reporting News
Denita Jones
Going Back to Work in a Pandemic
Tracey L. Rogers
A Tale of Two Americas
Paul Cantor
Thank You, Peaceful Protesters!
Susan Block
Sadistic Policing
Nicky Reid
Because Imperialists Rape: Anarcha-Feminism In the Ashes of the MeToo Era
Marilyn Bruya
Trump is the Looter to Worry About
Norman Solomon
Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests
Kim C. Domenico
Misfit Redemption: Escape from the Cruelty of White Liberal Innocence
John Kendall Hawkins
The Coming Purge of Doppelgängers and the Palast Revolution
Stephen Cooper
America is Burning
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail