As is my practice, I check out the morning news shows across the entire spectrum. When I got to “Morning Joe,” I was surprised … amazed … shocked … stunned … flabbergasted … astonished … uh … well you get the idea.
The guest of the moment was Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. By way of background, he is the brother of former President Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel and a regular contributor to MSNBC and CNN. As you can imagine, he has been a constant critic of President Trump – especially in conjunction with the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why I found the morning program so unbelievable.
Emanuel was providing both a perspective and information I have not previously heard espoused by the network anchors, reporters or their biased guests. According to Emanuel, people should NOT be staying home. They should be getting out of their houses and enjoying the great outdoors. That contrasts with the drumbeat of warnings to not leave your home unless absolutely necessary.
Emanuel still recommends social distancing and wearing masks in situations where one might be in close proximity to others – especially groups of others. But being clustered with your family and a few friends – no more than 10 – remains permissible.
Although he did not say it outright, Emanuel certainly intimated that being outside with family and friends – and away from strangers – may not require a mask. If medical information is correct, that is because masks are not meant to protect you if you do not have the virus – but only to prevent you from spreading if you do. If you have no symptoms — and have been in lockdown and keeping out of crowds in recent days — the chance of you having the virus is quite minimal.
Emanuel said that outside is a much safer environment than inside. There is general agreement that the COVID-19 virus is heat and sunshine adverse. Wind – even the slightest breeze dissipates the virus – and that is an interesting point. The pretend doctors in the media – and even some of the real doctors – talk about the spread of the virus. They talk about those COVID-19 bearing droplets traveling up to 22 feet from a sneeze. They suggest that the wind will blow it beyond the invisible six-foot separation shield. The implication is that the susceptibility to infection is a much greater distance than six feet. Not so.
In reality, according to Emanuel and other medical experts, the wind dissipates the essential concentration of COVID-19 organisms. The further away you are from the direction of a sneeze, the less likely you are to contract the disease because there are not enough little virus bombs to make you sick.
In refutation of those fearmonger statements, Emanuel said out loud what I have been telling people all along – based on what I learned in my own research. To get infected, you need to breathe in a large amount of the virus – and over an extended period of time.
If we humans were to get sick – and even died — every time we inhaled a small amount of a virus or bacteria, there would be no human race. The fact of the matter is that we ingest all sorts of “bugs” on a regular basis – and our immune system takes care of them every minute of every day. And even better when we have taken vaccines, eat properly and exercise.
Emanuel did not only pooh-pooh the idea that we can get infected by a few of those microscopic corona monsters, he gave a more detailed picture. He said you must inhale “massive” (his word) amounts over time. And he even gave us a time frame – five hours. According to Emanuel, your chance of getting Covid-19 is minimal as long as you are not in close contact with a sick person in an enclosed environment for an extended time.
Emanuel said that you could contract Covid-19 if you were in a crowded restaurant with an inadequate ventilation system. That at least suggests that the danger is mitigated even somewhat in a crowded restaurant that has a good ventilation system. Emanuel was all in favor of outdoor café dining.
Because of the benefits of being outside, Emanuel had recommended against closing such venues as state parks and other wide-open spaces – although he still advises to maintain social distancing and wearing masks if distancing is not possible.
As readers may recall, I constantly opposed closing community parks, golf courses and tennis courts. My community shut them all down – and without my almost daily tennis, I can feel my physical vigor declining.
Pity the person for whom confinement is life-threatening. In fact, the figure of what they call “despair-related deaths” – suicides, alcohol abuse, drug overdoses and even murders — has been soaring – 75,000 so far this year. On top of that are the folks dying because they have been made afraid to go to hospitals in a timely fashion – or postponed what they thought was non-essential surgery. Make no mistake about it. The lockdown has fatal side-effects for a lot of people. And that does not include the spikes in spousal abuse, child abuse and other desperation crimes.
What Emanuel is saying has been evidenced all over the nation. As places like Georgia re-open – and despite the ominous politically generated opinions of journalists acting like doctors – the numbers are generally going down, not up. Frankly, that comes as a pleasant surprise to me, since I was prepared for a greater uptick as we returned to a more normal life.
Emanuel put to rest another pandemic panic canard. The chance of getting the disease by touching surfaces touched by an infected person is extremely remote. That’s right. All that hyper sanitizing of shopping carts and doorknobs is symbolism based on fear and ignorance rather than actual scientific fact. The Center for Disease Control has even issued a statement saying that touching surfaces is not a significant means of transmission.
According to the experts, COVID-19 is primarily spread by inhaling air into the lungs. It does not enter through a cut or the digestive tract. The mouth is a secondary path because we often inhale through the mouth. The eye canal is an unlikely route even though it can lead to the lungs. Still, the easily panicked are now proposing goggles.
COVID-19 is a nasty flu – a very nasty flu. It is reasonable and proper that we exhibit common sense separation and normal good hygiene practices. It is not the Bubonic Plague, however – even though the obsessive media reports would have you think so. That plague killed off one-third of Europe’s population. That would be comparable to more than 100 million dead Americans today.
Even as the media stokes fear and Democrats use fearmongering pandemic hyperbole as another attack on Trump, we should keep in mind that so far, COVID-19 has infected only one-half of one percent of the American public – and 80 percent of those have very mild symptoms or none at all. That leaves about 320,000 serious cases – or about one-one hundredth of a percent of the population. These serious cases have resulted in 97,000 deaths – or approximately three-one thousands of a percent of our population.
Conversely, the efforts to combat COVID-19 – some well justified and some not so – has put more than 10 percent of Americans out of work – and wreaked all sorts of hardship and chaos – including deaths – on millions more.
This commentary is not to suggest that COVID-19 is not a uniquely dangerous disease because of its infection rate and higher than average death rate – far worse than the common flus for which we have vaccines. It is not to suggest that all the preventative actions taken were unwise or unnecessary. This commentary is simply intended to put things in a proper and rational perspective so that we do not allow fear and fearmongering to create more needless hardship than it already has.
So, there ‘tis.