As is typical following the daily Coronavirus Task Force press briefing, the media had to breathlessly report something. So, they decided to report that the president asked Bill Bryan, under secretary for Science and Technology at DHS, if people should inject bleach. That is actually not what happened and you can listen to the audio yourself. There is no reason the break it down. The president never suggested anyone try anything of the sort at home.
He did ask questions about UV light. This is because the entire point of Under Secretary Bryan’s presentation was to talk about conditions that reduce the spread of the virus and chemicals that can kill it. He began by talking about the half-life of the virus and showed the following chart:
While reviewing the data, he was clear about the study. Increased temperature, humidity and UV rays from the sun reduce the presence of the virus over minutes instead of hours or days. This is fantastic news. Especially for governors who have opened beaches and other outdoor spaces and received a significant amount of criticism. Being outdoors is sunny weather is actually where the virus is least likely to spread. To drive that point home, Bryan shared this slide:
Did you see any headlines touting this news? There was uncertainty about how the virus would behave in different conditions causing the experts to pause at assuring us it would reduce circulation in the summer months. Now they can. It was also the one thing the Task Force asked the media to share.
Instead, ABC News decided to share a poll that says large majorities of Americans are concerned about the virus and believe moving too quickly to reopen the economy is dangerous. Do you think their opinions might change if they knew COVID-19 behaves an awful lot like the flu in the summer? That being out in the sun and warmer temperatures will lower your risk of catching the disease? That carrying alcohol or bleach wipes will allow you to effectively wipe down surfaces in public places?
It might. And that is the last thing the media wants. This is why they hype stories of any person under the age of 50 with a fatal outcome, even though, as of today, the picture is skewed to show the risk of death increases significantly with age. It also shows there are significantly more deaths from other causes and pneumonia in every age group as coded and reported to the CDC between the week ending February 1 and April 18, 2020.
This is not to minimize the death toll of COVID-19. However, public opinion needs to be informed so that appropriate public policy can be developed and implemented. It is also not to diminish the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and families. However, public policy is made based on population data. To begin making it on misinformed fear and emotion is a dangerous and must be avoided.
The information shared by the Task Force should cause Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to encourage people to go to the skate park, not to fill it in with sand. It should encourage Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to tell people to go to their cabins on the lake and enjoy their jet skis, not forbid them from doing yard work.
It should mean that many outdoor summer events and festivals will not be canceled. Rather, individuals can assess their personal risk and proceed appropriately. Finally, it means the deck of Reformation Brewery in Canton, Ga., might be one of the safest places for me to enjoy a hot sunny afternoon playing cornhole and watching the Etowah River. But my “reckless” Governor has not allowed them to open yet.
As is typical, the Corporate Media failed to do the one job that would actually help Americans navigate this crisis. They failed to share the good news. Summer is coming and so is the sun. Grab your bottle of hand sanitizer, some alcohol wipes, a little sunscreen and your shades. And like your mother said, go outside and play.
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