News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Coronavirus Is the New Y2K

Shoppers visit a Costco Wholesale in Tigard, Ore., Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, after reports of Oregon's first case of coronavirus was announced in the nearby Oregon city of Lake Oswego on Friday. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

Stephen Kruiser, who is still recovering from his grueling CPAC party schedule and Sunday birthday celebrations, is off today, but he should be back in his usual rare form on Tuesday.

At CPAC, everyone—and I mean everyone—was talking about the coronavirus plague epidemic outbreak, and while there was some talk about the actual virus (and speculation about what might happen if we all got quarantined at the Gaylord hotel) most of the discussion centered on the near-hysterical media coverage. All the cable networks, including Fox, have been running with wall-to-wall stories about the spread of the virus here and abroad, describing it in apocalyptic terms with their very, very serious voices.

Does anyone remember the ZOMGWEAREALLGOINGTODIE coverage in the media during the run-up to Y2k? Remember how all the talking heads spun that “crisis” up to be the end of the world as we knew it? There was a run on generators and other survival gear, and a whole cottage industry grew up around fears of an apocalypse. We were told that not only would all our computers be rendered obsolete, but banks would collapse, the power grid would fail, the supply chain would be paralyzed, and armed citizens would be forced to roam the countryside in search of food for their families.

While all that would make for a good doomsday Netflix series, in reality, there was no crisis and Y2K, for the most part, turned out to be a giant nothingburger. Many people working in IT at the time, including my husband, who was hired specifically to work on Y2K compliance, tried to tell us that this was going to be no big deal. (He was so un-worried about Y2k that we dropped the kids off at the grandparents’ on New Year’s Eve and went to a concert that night.)

Charlie Martin reminded me yesterday that the same thing happened in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Some in the media predicted a disaster of Chernobyl proportions. To date there has been only one death (from cancer) attributed to the event.

History seems to be repeating itself as the media works overtime to convince us that a global pandemic is inevitable and that millions (billions?) are going to die as a result. While there’s still a lot we don’t know about how the virus spreads and who could be affected, the mortality rate is estimated to be around 1-2%, according to UK scientists, while in the U.S. the mortality rate for influenza and pneumonia this year has been nearly 7%. Most of the deaths from these illnesses hit the very old, the very young, those with pre-existing medical conditions, and those without access to Western medicine. While I would never want to minimize even a single death, perspective is needed.

Note: Some readers have pointed out in the comments section that the mortality statistics above are kind of comparing apples to oranges. This might help to clear things up:

Early estimates of the coronavirus death rate from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, have been around 2 percent. But a new report on 1,099 cases from many parts of China, published on Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine, finds a lower rate: 1.4 percent.

The coronavirus death rate may be even lower, if — as most experts suspect — there are many mild or symptom-free cases that have not been detected.

The true death rate could turn out to be similar to that of a severe seasonal flu, below 1 percent, according to an editorial published in the journal by Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. H. Clifford Lane, of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert R. Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A media-induced panic comes with risks of its own, as people overwhelm emergency rooms fearing they’ve contracted the coronavirus, overtaxing staff and draining resources.

By all means, take precautions — wash your hands often, try to avoid being around people who are ill, and stay home from work if you’re sick to avoid spreading disease. It might also be a good idea to avoid the hysterical news coverage. Why put yourself through that? Stress isn’t good for your health either, ya know.

While I have the Morning Briefing con, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our VIP subscribers for their support over the last few months. It was wonderful to meet some of our Gold members at a special VIP party at CPAC on Friday with special guests Diamond and Silk.

Image may contain: 8 people, including Stephen Kruiser, Paula Kibelbek Bolyard and Matt Margolis, people smiling, people standing

Stephen Green, Diamond, Stephen Kruiser, Paula Bolyard, Silk, Matt Margolis, Megan Fox at Townhall Media’s CPAC VIP party.

One thing we’ve learned through this process is that we have the most amazing, loyal readers in conservative media. Some of you have been with us since the beginning and we are so grateful for the many, MANY readers who have decided to support us financially. Our writers LOVE being able to talk directly to all of you without having to worry about the social media censors getting in the way. We also love the community we’re building in the comments section (no trolls!). If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can sign up here.

Let the linking begin. 

Five Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Coronavirus 

You just know they’re voting for Bernie” No, It’s Not the ‘Corona Beer Virus.’ Lawd.

‘Mayor’ Pete Runs Out of Obama Speeches to Pilfer. Drops Out of Democratic President Race.

Sanders Becoming President Would Damage American Judaism More Than Anything Since the Holocaust

Facebook Fact-Checkers Admit Trump Never Said Coronavirus Was ‘a Hoax’

Joe Biden Comes Out Swinging at Bernie After SC Win: ‘False Promises Are Deceptive’

Must-read from Claudia Rosett: Jimmy Lai’s Chilling Warning About China

[WATCH] Trump Does Stand-Up at CPAC: Mocks ‘Mini Mike,’ ‘Pocahontas,’ ‘Sleepy Joe,’ and More

Joe Biden Under Investigation for His Role in Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Firing

[Exclusive] Brandon Straka: ‘There’s No Limit to What the Left Will Weaponize Against Conservatives’

VIP:

VodkaPundit: Give Up the Funk: Bernie Isn’t Going To Be President

From the Mothership and beyond:

America is post-reason, so good luck with that: Coronavirus: When All Else Fails, Try Reason

Biden is Already Making Excuses for Super Tuesday

Biden Forgets What Show He’s On After Saying He’d Make Trump Look Sleepy in Debates

Zero Pinocchios: Corona Causes Stupidity To Go Viral

HIStory is Made: The First Man Tries Out for the Women’s Olympics, and the Results May Stun You

The “existential threat” is back: Trump’s Re-Election Poses an Existential Threat

Republican Donor Buys Stake In Twitter, Folks on the Left Have a Meltdown

Is that a rhetorical question? Did Warren Pander, Flip-Flop Her Way Out of the Race?

OUCH! Here’s why President Trump called Mike Bloomberg a ‘pandering phony’ after he appeared at the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma

Amy Klobuchar cancels hometown rally after Black Lives Matter protesters storm the stage

Analysis: True

The Kruiser Kabana (what?): 

I had an immature musical palate in college and complained bitterly anytime my roommate played Earth, Wind & Fire albums on my (!) stereo (sorry Nancy!). The only lyrics I can make out in “September” are “blues, talk, and love” and “bah-dee-oh,” but I’ve since come to appreciate the amazing vocals—and those INSANE winds and horns! (The costumes, not so much):

Bonus: If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at CPAC (at least for media types), here it is:

Has anyone checked on Kruiser?

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard