Coronavirus has created a world full of seemingly irreconcilable conflicts.
We have to stop the spread of a new virus we don’t really understand yet. We need a vaccine and we need drugs to fight it. We have to have a functioning economy so people can eat. We have to have a functioning economy to enable research to stop the virus and make the drugs. But the economy demands that millions leave their homes to work at offices and businesses, increasing the probability that the virus spreads.
The virus is causing a pandemic that has already killed thousands and will likely kill thousands more. But the economic consequences of the stay-at-home orders will soon cause another epidemic — suicides. A week ago, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs made news when he said the suicide rate has risen dramatically since the lockdowns started shutting down businesses and jobs. Surely that Tennessee county is no outlier.
Coronavirus is very much a Chinese finger trap. It’s going to be a struggle to get out of it.
We knew that before we knew there were 10 million new jobless claims across the country. That was prior to the Texas energy industry nearing collapse due to crushed demand and an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. This was prior to New Orleans becoming another virus hotspot.
Lurking behind all of the global economic destruction is China. The communist country is both the origin point of the virus and the world’s worst actor during the crisis the virus is causing. Short version: The communists covered up coronavirus’ emergence, prosecuted the doctor who tried to alert the world, shipped faulty N95 masks to Europe, and are very likely still lying about their domestic COVID-19 cases. Wuhan alone may have suffered 40,000 dead, not the few thousand the communists claim.
And on top of all that, China has its apologists in the West who make obscene claims such as the present pandemic hands the communist dictatorship the “opportunity of the century” for China to step up and be a global leader.
No. The proper response to China is outrage. The world lost weeks to get ahead of this virus while the communists lied to save their own necks. The pandemic has uncovered just how unreliable and dishonest they are in their handling of science labs, statistics, their people and their manufacturing — the latter of which, up to now, had been China’s ace. China is in no way ready to lead. Even now, China is trying to shift the blame to the United States – one of its many victims and now, its largest victim. The communists and their lethal ideas must go.
Also not ready to lead is Hillary Clinton, who tweeted sarcastically when the United States became the world’s top (with a huge asterisk, given China’s dishonesty) coronavirus infected nation. I repeat: America is a victim in all this. Clinton has tested negative for leadership qualities, along with China. The U.S. acknowledging it has the most cases reflects both our republic’s open honesty, as well as the fact that we have sped forward in testing. We still have one of the lower per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world and within the United States, the pandemic is hammering population-dense cities while for now leaving much of the country untouched. Hospitals in New York are overwhelmed, while hospitals in much of the country are laying staff off because patients are no longer coming in for routine visits or even serious issues such as heart problems. The latter will eventually give us another epidemic, when heart cases surge. And stroke. And cancer.
It’s tough to find optimism in all this. A month ago the U.S. had the strongest economy anyone can remember. Today it has the weakest economy most of us have ever known. We have Netflix and social media to keep us virtually together, but humans need real community to stay grounded and we don’t have that now. We have to keep our distance from everyone, even within our own homes. Churches have been deemed essential in Texas, but we still can’t go and worship together. We’re all digital all the time now.
Some think this whole lockdown and shelter-in-place regime we’re now under is a power play. I don’t agree with them, for the simple reason that this cannot last forever and those in power know it. Economies will collapse, black markets will rise, crime and violence will menace our streets, and revolutions will happen if we are all kept locked up too long. Life has to go on, and it will. Most in our nation’s leadership really do want a return to normal as soon as possible.
So here’s some optimism. The world has faced global wars and pandemics before. The United States itself has even dealt with a truly authoritarian president, Woodrow Wilson, and not just survived but come out stronger. The last great pandemic, the 1918 Spanish flu, killed more than half a million Americans at the tail end of a heinous war that disfigured the world. There were lockdowns. Wilson jailed dissenters. Churches and businesses were closed to stop the virus.
Yet we emerged stronger. Freer. Lockdowns ended. Our economy rebounded.
A plasma trial is starting in Houston. Our scientists will make a vaccine. There’s new hope for a deal on energy. It’s spring out there in the world beyond our shuttered homes. We’ll see an economic spring again, and hopefully very soon. Our freedoms will return and life will go on.
Bryan Preston is the author of Hubble’s Revelations: The Amazing Time Machine and Its Most Important Discoveries.