Outrage towards Chase Rice and others but praise for leader presiding over 31,000+ deaths?

Trench holding bodies during Cholera epidemic in Harbin 1919

Chase Rice, whose music is most kindly described as new country, faced outrage after doing a concert in Tennessee this past weekend. Someone posted video and social media erupted after numerous fans hugging the stage were shown in close proximity.  Predictably many of the fans were young women disregarding the current pandemic.

Context is sorely missing from this Coronavirus critique, so I’ll give it a go even though Rice is most definitely not my cup of tea when it comes to music.

Coronaviruses illustration/CDC/James Gathany
An illustration of the morphology exhibited by Coronaviruses. (Image Credit CDC, James Gathany)

Media in general and social critics like pop tart Kelsea Ballerini had what we in the South call a hissy fit over Rice’s concert. All manner of sanctimonious statements from different entertainers showed up on social media. Leave it to the indie website Saving Country Music to clear up the falsehoods we’ve become neutralized to because most dinosaur media distribute identical stories whether they’re fact or fiction.

You can read SCM’s essay upending claims such as 4,000 people attended and no precautions were taken to, as the federal bureaucrats like to say, “slow the spread.”

Rice’s concert came on the heels of a lot of talk about the Coronavirus mutating. That word, possibly due to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle overload in some generations, tends to frighten people.

In mid-June Scripps Research published info about a mutation—or change—in the virus making its way through the United States and some other countries:

“More flexible spikes allow newly made viral particles to navigate the journey from producer cell to target cell fully intact, with less tendency to fall apart prematurely, he explains.  

“Our data are very clear, the virus becomes much more stable with the mutation,” [virologist Hyeryun] Choe says.

What does this mean?

Does it mean the virus, like a human desperately trying to hang onto a rock midway up a cliff, exerts extra energy in order to survive? Is the virus getting stronger or weaker?  There’s no solid answer to these questions. After all it took a century for H1N1 to render itself largely nonlethal to a population most likely to die in a pandemic—the elderly.

H1N1, according to the US Centers for Disease Control reportage, did sweep the country:

“From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.”

I would add to that statement these are the figures we know about. Testing was not widespread, and media downplayed risks although the young were the most vulnerable in that pandemic.

Politically speaking, there was little hysteria in sharp contrast to today’s response to Coronavirus. I do recall one high level federal official showing us how to properly sneeze. Realistically speaking, H1N1 still circulates seasonally and because it’s the flu, there’s really no way to accurately pinpoint exactly how many have died from that strain. Note the “range” of deaths of more than 18,000 the CDC included, purely as a political cover-your-ass gesture in my opinion. In other words, they don’t know how many and we won’t know because–testing.

With Coronavirus, there are hopes for a vaccine, an actual cure (as opposed to diverting drugs used to treat other conditions), or herd immunity. The Mayo Clinic has one of the best explanations for laypersons on herd immunity, including this:

“Even if infection with the COVID-19 virus creates long-lasting immunity, a large number of people would have to become infected to reach the herd immunity threshold. Experts estimate that in the U.S., 70% of the population — more than 200 million people — would have to recover from COVID-19 to halt the epidemic.”

Amid all the hoopla, what’s necessary is admitting Coronavirus is here to stay. It may or may not go extinct or mutate to a much weaker version although we can hope it will.

It’s time to put the whole mess in context. Dinosaur media won’t do it, but humble writers like me will because no one is paying us to advance an agenda.

What stands out to me was the callous disregard for protective advice when mass protests were carried out long before Chase Rice took the stage in Tennessee. You can still find photos of many of these protests in the US by doing a simple image search. If you enlarge the images, you will see some people with masks and just as many without them.

If you view videos, you will see much shouting and a large amount of bubble popping because people were shoulder to shoulder. That link goes to an article at Delaware’s state government website. Read the information and please explain to me why multiple leaders across the country aggressively encouraged people to crowd up, shout, use port-a-potties (if they were available), hold hands, and generally take very big risks if what health officials say is true.

No politician’s blood pressure went up over all those unmasked crowds largely ignoring every single piece of advice given by medical spokespersons in the private and public sectors.

In my home city of Jacksonville, FL, our mayor has instituted a mask policy for public places or businesses. We must wear one. I’ve already been wearing one because two people in my family have known health issues that make them more vulnerable to an illness like Coronavirus. We do know it’s likely those masks may prevent your giving the virus to someone if you have it, but we’re not guaranteed wearing one will keep us from getting it.

There’s a lot of hysteria, much of it from young people, about masks and such in our city, but again, most pundits and media are overlooking one possible cause of the recent spike, aside from increased testing.

Media and politicians blamed bar owners for the spike, alleging social distancing and other measures weren’t taken. That may well have figured into the spike, but what all the cyber-wonks aren’t admitting is that on June 4, a large protest was held at Jacksonville Beach’s Seawalk Pavilion. The local daily paper, one I consider left of center, showed many photos of those protesters. Even a scant glance shows distancing and other measures weren’t taken. As a matter of fact, caution was thrown to the wind.

Bars began to report deep cleans and shutdowns about two weeks after that protest.

It’s completely irresponsible to harp on people like Chase Rice for holding a concert and to ignore the implications of hundreds, even thousands of people across the country, many unmasked, in close proximity to one another and at some point, having to use a public restroom.

As pundits on TV, most without any medical degree or training, expound on Coronavirus outcomes, states reopening early have been the subject of much scorn. New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) remains a media darling while Florida governor (R) Ron DeSantis has been heavily criticized for not issuing an authoritarian mask-for-all policy. DeSantis is leaving local policy to local leaders.

What’s interesting to me are the numbers if you compare New York and Florida.

Florida’s total population as of January, 2020 was approximately 21.48 million. At least 146,333 cases of Coronavirus are documented, with 3,446 deaths, according to leftist media outlet The New York Times.

New York’s total population as of 2020 is estimated at 19.4 million. Using figures from The New York Times featured on Google’s search page, New York has had 398,000 confirmed COVID cases and 31,143 deaths.

Now tell me which governor deserves praise.

We still know very little about this latest virus to come from China, and that’s another fact media seem pained to admit. Bottom line: media won’t save you and nor will politicians.

Use common sense to survive this and anything else. Minimize your risk and try to be objective about this very politicized crisis.

If your ancestors hadn’t done that, you wouldn’t be taking up space on the planet today.

Featured Photo: Trench grave in which one hundred bodies were buried during Harbin Cholera Epidemic in China; Oct. 27, 1919. Photo by American Red Cross; archived at US Library of Congress.

(Kay B. Day/June 30, 2020)

Back yard bench and Caladiums
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