May 19, 2024

preventable disease is not a pandemic

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
A preventable disease is not a pandemic
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift
          WASHINGTON — Journalist and satirist H.L. Mencken said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” His words come to mind as the Covid-19 numbers climb and people risk their lives to adhere to false beliefs and untruths, making this the first self-inflicted Pandemic. However, it is self-inflicted primarily by the blindly ignorant. For almost everyone else, Mencken’s slur simply does not hold.
          The stock market took a big dive on July 19, tumbling over 700 points on fears that the surging Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus could stall the economy.  It was the steepest drop since October of last year when hospitalizations were at a high, and no vaccine was available. But the next day, it bounced right back. Why? In the ongoing struggle between intelligence and ignorance, intelligence is winning.
          The good news is that thinking Americans have learned to live with Covid-19 and its more transmissible offspring, the Delta variant, the main reason being the vaccine. Almost all fully vaccinated people are protected against serious illness.
          There have been a small number of breakthrough cases where vaccinated people have tested positive for the virus. Among them were a handful of Texas legislators who came to Washington to protest voter suppression measures, a White House aide on the vice president’s staff, and a staffer to Speaker Pelosi. None are expected to have serious illness.
          Another reason is mask-wearing. Even some Fox News hosts have come out in favor of wearing a mask to protect yourself and others. President Biden, speaking at a town hall meeting in Cincinnati, likened the turnabout by these cable news hosts to an “altar call” where parishioners come to the front of the church to express their commitment.
          A third reason lessening the impact of the Delta variant on the economy and on our lives is the ability to work from home. It has been a boon to families and commuters alike, who save hours a day on the road when they are able to work remotely.
          Studies show that people are more productive working from home, and as we reshape our work lives post-Pandemic, a hybrid environment is sure to emerge. If given the choice, few people would choose a 40-hour week in the office, preferring to mix it up with a day or two of remote work.
          That’s why the stock market recovered so quickly from its one-day selloff. We may not yet have defeated the virus, but it cannot defeat an informed, intelligent people. The economy is on an upswing with consumer demand returning and the prospect of a significant infrastructure bill passing Congress. It is not yet a sure thing and Republicans blocked a test vote to begin debate, but the odds still favor a bipartisan bill that will deliver millions of good paying jobs, many of them outdoors where the virus is less transmissible.
          And when media charlatans quit spewing their lies – as surely, they are certain to do – even the most gullible unintelligent folks among us will begin to come around. Convinced by illness, tragedy, condemnation, and the realization of having been intentionally misled, they, too, will realize that a preventable disease is not a pandemic.
          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2021 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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