Every day, every hour, every news source in America blasts out the latest coronavirus test case positives — five people who attended a meeting with Florida’s governor test positive for coronavirus, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser and campaign staffers test positive for COVID-19, several St. Louis Cardinals baseball players test positive for the coronavirus.
But — and this is a serious question — so what?
If this were a virus by a different name, if this were a different political climate, if this were a different White House administration with a different commander-in-chief commanding-in-chiefing from the high executive office, test positives wouldn’t raise national eyebrows.
Look at what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention writes about the spread of flu: “Symptoms can begin about 2 days (but can range from 1 to 4 days) after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others.”
So where was the quarantining these past flu season years?
Where were the face masks? The executively ordered closings of businesses? The forced shut-downs of churches? The complete shuttering of normal, in-person school days?
“You may be able to pass on flu to someone else before you know you are sick,” CDC writes.
The only way to know for sure if you’re sick with flu is to get tested for flu — and even then, testing is risky business.
“During an influenza outbreak,” CDC writes, in its “Diagnosing Flu” section, “a positive rapid flu test is likely to indicate influenza infection. However, rapid tests vary in their ability to detect flu viruses … [and] appear to be better at detecting flu in children than adults. This … can result in some people who are infected with the flu having a negative rapid test result … a false negative test result.”
Where were the contact tracing apps — the health department bureaucrats’ warnings about social distancing and the need to stay off the streets, out of malls, away from grocery stores, isolated from neighbors as much as possible?
Where were the congressional demands for millions, no, billions of dollars to hire and train and equip community contact tracers to go, in some cases, door-to-door to make sure those who tested positive for flu were properly self-quarantining — and if not, obtaining court warrants to send police to make sure the quarantining went forth as bureaucrats prescribed?
Plenty of people walked around in past years with flu without knowing they had flu — and even passing on flu to others during these days of unknowing. The typical health advice was to wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes and avoid touching mouths and noses and eyes.
And plenty of people died.
CDC estimates between October 2019 and April 2020, there have been between 18 million and 26 million flu medical visits — with a good portion, no doubt, testing positive. There have been up to 740,000 flu hospitalizations, up to 56 million flu illnesses and up to 62,000 flu deaths, all according to the CDC.
The coronavirus, by daily-updated CDC count, has reportedly claimed the lives of 157,631 — we think. We don’t really know because the test kits have been faulty; the reporting from hospitals and clinics and medical professionals, often suspect. And the media have been all over the map in getting to the truths about the conflicts of interest and big vaccine money and politics that have definitely influenced how this COVID-19 response has been played by government.
But no matter the COVID-19 numbers, the fact remains the same: simply testing positive is meaningless. It’s only the fatalities that matter — it’s only the percentage of those who test positive and die, versus those who test positive and recover that matters.
As flu facts show, it’s quite normal to walk around with a virus and not know it. It’s quite normal to test positive for sickness and not know it. Up until the coronavirus, it’s never been a mass hysterical media frenzy to report test positives for flu.
So what’s going on with COVID-19? Why the big difference now? Why panic every time someone tests positive, even though the fatalities hardly show the need for such panicky reporting?
Simple. There’s an election coming, and Democrats have no candidate to beat Trump. It’s not that the coronavirus is infecting Americans and taking lives in greater degrees, with greater intensity than, say, the flu in past years. It’s that politics have infected the coronavirus response and stolen Americans’ capacity for common sense.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.