brian

I can’t believe how many people don’t get it.

I can’t believe how many people still roll their eyes when asked to wear a mask, how many are still throwing weddings and dinners and birthday parties, how many are framing humanity’s fight against the coronavirus as a beef between business owners and the governor, or the president and the CDC. All this, even as cases once again begin to skyrocket in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country.

I can’t believe how many people are unable or unwilling to swallow the awful truth: It is the coronavirus alone that is out to get us — not shop owners, not rogue doctors, not politicians, not even Trump, though he doesn’t seem to care if it takes us.

It’s been seven months, and more than 225,000 Americans are dead from this thing. That is an absolute shitload of people, nearly the entire population of Winston-Salem, which is about 250,000. Don’t worry, though — we’ll be there in a few weeks.

But hey! the dopes will say. That’s just a tiny percentage of the people who get it!

And this is true! The US death rate from coronavirus currently stands at 2.66 percent — exponentially larger than that of the flu. Just 59,120 Americans died from the flu last year.

Stop saying it’s like the flu.

That 2.66 percent rate means almost 8.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19. In seven months! And remember that death is not the only outcome: About 20 percent need hospitalization, and long-term effects include nerve, heart and lung damage. We don’t even know what else because the coronavirus is barely a year old.

And remember, too: This is a disaster unfolding in slow motion. It’s taken seven months for 8.5 million Americans to catch the virus, but that’s only like 2.5 percent of the US population. For us to reach what people are calling “herd immunity,” at least 60 percent of Americans would need to have had it — that’s just about 197 million people. How long do you think that would take? Math tells us how many lives it will cost: more than 5.2 million.

Stop talking about herd immunity.

And stop talking about a vaccine, which will take perhaps another year to prepare. Stop talking about mind control, and the “plandemic,” and “media manipulation,” and the notion that the whole thing will go away once the election is over.

It won’t.

I get it: It sucks. There’s nothing to do. It’s getting harder to make money as entire sectors of our economy atrophy and die. Our kids are going crazy, and our leaders have no real plan except to slow down the spread, buying time for a vaccine and stemming the flow of inevitable hospitalizations.

But I promise you that the solution to the pandemic is not to ignore it — or, even worse, deny its very existence.

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