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Fear versus facts: the national media spin

By Chad Hobbs


 Former Chicago mayor, Illinois congressman, and chief of staff to President Barack Obama, Ron Emanuel, once said, “Never allow a good crisis to go to waste,” and the main stream media has not let that sentiment fall on deaf ears in 2020. The major national media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX and others have seized this crisis by the horns and squeezed every last drop of profit they can from it. Unfortunately, as they have watched their profits soar, they have also stoked a dangerous level of anxiety, fear and division in this country.

 The national media is all about the spin today. Doing anything and everything to prop up one side while scaring the living hell out of their followers about the other side is their primary goal. They have found that sowing seeds of fear means not only big money but also drives the consumer to their corner, leading not only to the dependence of the viewer upon the network but also support for the particular side’s politics, as well. COVID-19 has been spun under this design by both sides since day one. Churches kill people, but protests don’t. Hydroxychloroquine will kill you or cure you, depending on the politics of the channel you turn to. Hypocrisy appears to rule the day.  The number of new cases is the standard the national media seems to focus in on because it is the more alarming rate, as compared to the death rate. As positive cases spiked over the summer, a frenzy of doom and gloom was delivered to Americans. The death rate that failed to follow the spike was just brushed off. It lags positive cases by a couple weeks, and it would catch up was what we were told. Shut everything back down was what we were told. The second wave was upon us, and we will all surely die was what we were told. The only problem is, thankfully, that never manifested. Kentucky’s death rate has been flat all along.

 Young people are often asymptomatic or mildly affected by the disease. They aren’t dying. Kentucky has 1.8 million citizens that are age 0 to 29, but there is only one individual who has died in that age range this year. The CDC keeps track of deaths WITH COVID not FROM COVID. The 30 to 39-year-old range has only lost six individuals out of the 558,000 Kentuckians who fall in that range. Again, the CDC says they died WITH COVID not FROM COVID. The 40-49-year-old range adds 17 deaths to the tally. So out of Kentucky’s 4.49-million-person population, 2.86 million people fall in the 0-49 age group. That means the group which makes up 64 percent of our population has experienced only 24 deaths with COVID but not necessarily from COVID.

 As of Aug. 13, 492 of the 791 deaths with COVID in Kentucky were nursing home related. My degree and my profession once revolved around nursing home care. Residents did not come to the nursing home because things were going great for them; they came because things were getting dire. The most unsettling part was that they all came to ultimately meet death in the most dignified way the family could find or hope for. We lost them, one by one, day after day, not because we failed them, but they always came because they were in their final days, whether anyone wanted that or not.

 Almost 500 of our almost 800 cases of deaths in Kentucky with COVID are from nursing homes. That leaves only 299 people in the Commonwealth that have passed with this disease when they died. I say that because of those 299 deaths, spread across 120 counties over a five month span and a population of 4.49 million people, some have died from car wrecks and shootings alone but happened to test positive for COVID before they died, and that’s just from one hospital in Louisville.

 The University of Texas says their study shows corona was in the U.S. in December of 2019. The 80 plus year-old population of this state has survived the virus to this point at a 99.6 percent rate. The 70 to 79-year-old population has survived at a 99.95 percent rate, and the 60 to 69-year-olds of Kentucky are surviving at 99.98 percent.

 The average age of death from COVID is 78. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78. Coincidence? I think not.  

 The U.S. death rate in 2020 is only two percent higher than in 2019. In a pandemic, especially one that has taken so much from us through lockdowns and cancelations, I for one, would expect that the 2019 and the 2020 death rates would be separated by a lot more than two percent in order to justify what has been done. So why is there only two percent more deaths this year? COVID, just like the flu and pneumonia, seems to be killing those who were going to pass sooner than later, for the most part.

 Now that may sound like a cruel thing to say, but we must be honest with ourselves. We were born to die. It is just the ugly reality of life. I have a grandmother in her 80’s. She is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and it kills me to think that my days with her are narrowing. It also kills me to see what my only child is suffering through in the name of saving my grandmother and others like her. God will take all three of us when he is ready, with or without COVID.

 The Wall Street Journal did a survey of the 50 largest U.S. cities and found the murder rate is up 24 percent from this time last year. Suicide rates are up too, though the CDC hasn’t released official numbers yet. Cities and counties across the U.S. are reporting skyrocketing numbers, however.

 “We have people now who don’t know how to feed their family who have not had that thought for a very long time. That’s different from the last recession,” said American Psychiatric Association President Jeffrey Geller. “There are masses of people who are quite worried today because they don’t know what is going to happen to their benefits. That kind of anxiety exacerbates fragility.”

 “There has been another cost that we’ve seen, particularly in high schools,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield. “We’re seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than deaths from COVID. We’re seeing far greater deaths from drug overdose.”

 In fact, a White House study found that from January to April, overdose deaths rose 11.4 percent in 2020 over 2019. The Washington Post reported that overdoses, nationally, jumped 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April, and 42 percent in May. Some places are reporting the numbers have jumped by 50 percent this year over last.

 “We have two things colliding: the stress of the uncertainty of what’s going to happen with COVID 19, and also the uncertainty of what’s going to happen to you, (with high levels of) unemployment, or if you are studying, what will happen to your education,” said Nora Volkow, director the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “And then the social distancing and isolation that makes the whole process much worse.”

 So, with murder, suicide, and drug overdose rates through the roof in 2020, is COVID what has bumped our rate of death up nationally by a mere two percent over last year? Or have the draconian mandates to protect grandma actually found a way to kill us all in different ways? I truly feel for the three families who have lost loved ones in Meade County this year with COVID, but I also feel for the hundreds upon hundreds of Meade Countians that lost loved ones to everything but COVID this year.

 It’s time to take a serious look at what we are doing to our youth. It’s time to honestly evaluate whether the “cure” is worse than the disease.

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