Kentucky COVID: Fear Doesn’t Care About Facts

In March, if I told you that by November less than 250 people from birth to retirement age (65) would be dead of C19 in KY, would you have supported school closures? Closing down the hospitality industry? Massive waves of unemployment, deteriorating non-COVID health issues and generally disrupting most activities of life?

Of course not.

And that’s the number BTW. Less than 250 people. Let’s say we get to 500 people in the under 65 crowd by March, what other kinds of things kill 250-500 or more people annually in KY?

  • Cars: 675-700
  • Overdose: 1500
  • Heart disease: >10,000
  • Flu/Pneumonia (all ages): >900
  • Firearms: 730
  • Homicide: >300 historically, but likely to hit 500 this year
  • Falls: 380
  • Poisoning: 1200
  • Suicide: 800

500 people out of an under 65 population of around 3.8M. With these numbers, honestly ask yourself, if there were no restrictions on life, schools and business and without the theater of doom surrounding you daily, would you have even noticed any of this?

Don’t the lives over 65 mean anything?”

Of course. But the risk in that group of people is far outsized compared to the other 90% of the population. And even the risk in those ages is small.

To date in KY, we’ve lost 0.77% of the over 80 population. 0.13% of those 70-80 and 0.05% of those 60-70. Reduce those numbers by more than half if looking at the data outside nursing homes. Even in the highest risk category (>80), less than 1% of the population has died of COVID.

But these are not just numbers, these are real people.” No kidding. I know this may come as some surrealistic shock to many of you, but people die. You’re gonna die. I may die next. And 80 year-olds are more likely to die of COVID because, in no small part, 80 year-olds are more likely to die of just about everything. And even acknowledging that, less than 1% are dying of COVID even if you include the nursing homes. Folks, at 80, there is a 1% chance lots of things can kill you.

A disastrous plan

We know where the problems are. The risk is disproportionally in nursing homes (65% of our deaths) and those over 65 (86% of all deaths). COVID can kill someone under 65 for sure, but not very often and so can lots of other things that are more dangerous. But we’re not even trying to solve for the rate of serious illness.

Our solution to “stop the virus” of is a universal commitment to stop anyone from testing positive, even if the overwhelming majority don’t become seriously ill.  Their goalposts are the absurd ‘heat map’ with all those red counties requires a 7 day average of 1 case per 100,000 people for green status. That’s 3 people per day in Lexington. 6 in Louisville per day and 1 person per week in Bourbon Co. And nothing in that heat map even measures things like hospitalizations, ICU or even death. The whole thing is set up to prevent people from being a positive ‘case’ at all costs. It’s a one size fits all solution to solving the wrong problem among the wrong people. Symmetric solutions to asymmetric problems create more harm than good every time.

The next few months?

Like it or not, we’re here for a while. Andy is timing the top of the virus curve. It will burn through by early of January (whether we lockdown or do nothing) and he’ll take credit and use it as public relations defense for the whoopin’ that’s coming as KY General Assembly arises. I can almost hear it now: “They are recklessly endangering your life while my actions clearly saved you from the virus”. Also, by the end of January. restrictions will start being lifted everywhere magically as the vaccine hits wider circulation and Biden puts his hand on the bible. Or will they? Give little men lots of power and bad things happen.

It’s your freakin’ fault

So, what do you do when your continuing one-size fits all efforts that have hurt so many are put under the spotlight when COVID really hits your state for the first time? You double down on it and blame the actors in the play for how bad the script is. You can blame people and mask utilization all you want but in Lexington, Louisville and NKY (where the overwhelming majority of cases originate) mask compliance is very high and it ain’t stopping anything.

We’ve all had bosses like this. They blame their staff for poor performance when it’s the product that sucks, their staff starts to hate each other and everyone is so focused on not making Napoleon mad and the inevitable politics that ensue, no one seems to focus on how bad of a plan and leader is in place.

This recent, universal shift into blaming the citizenry is a nice distraction mechanism to turn people on one another rather than asking why the plan sucks and where is the full data behind decisions. Oh yeah, and where is all the contact tracing data?

You see, it’s their choices that keep the virus alive and well. If you only wore masks and interacted with less people, we’d have this under control. It’s our selfish desire to live free of restriction that is causing viral spread and killing people. You did this and hopefully you feel so bad and are so angry at others about it you won’t even ask why generally nothing leadership has done has worked. If you only behaved better, he’ll stop hitting you.

Your freedoms don’t matter if exercising those freedoms could potentially negatively affect another. (Wait, doesn’t that feel like the least bit of a slippery slope to you?) Oh well, forget muh freedoms, Governor Andy Beshear says we can stop these elderly deaths and hey, Dr. Stack is a Doctor of Sciencey Sounding Science things and communication of one-sided and incomplete data arguments. 

What’s even worse than the inevitability of killing someone with COVID is getting it and not dying.  After recovering, I could be out of breath, tired, have foggy something, or have headaches for weeks. I just don’t know if I could go on living from that.

But, as long as people stay home, we’ll beat this. Well…except the door dash guy. And the people preparing the food. And the restaurant owner that’s losing money hand over fist. And the people that supply the restaurant. And the truck drivers that deliver the food. And the sanitation workers that dispose of my trash. And…wait a minute…well…as long as everyone stays at home that I don’t need to support my wants and needs (you know those working class people) then…yes…we’ll control the virus. 

But seriously folks…

We know that children are being harmed despite overwhelming evidence they are not in danger from COVID nor are they significant vectors of transmission. We know that measures of violent crime are up. We know that suicides and overdoses are up. We know that issues of mental illness are at staggering highs. We know acts of sexual predators are up. We know that regular healthcare treatment of the most common killers is alarmingly behind. We know that businesses are struggling and failing, incomes are impacted and that poorest among us are being hit the hardest. We know that the most masked up, locked down, isolated element of our society makes up 65% of all KY deaths (nursing homes), but their answer to stopping illness and deaths is masking up and isolating. We know virtually all spread happens at home, but their direction is for more people to stay home.

To Andy and countless other government leaders across the world, saving a COVID life is worthy of this and more. Questioning not the reality of COVID but the proportionality of response is not permitted. As Dr. Fauci said, “just do what you’re told.” We must do this to ‘beat the virus’.

Fear doesn’t care about facts.

Just spitballin’ here, what if we honestly recognize that most of this has been for nothing, that a virus is gonna do what a virus is gonna do and we have to live with the small increased risk using the courage Amercians once had? There was a time when we faced a real existential threat during WWII where our leader said there was nothing to fear, but fear itself. But Andy, Dr. HalfTruth, the media and countless others want you to fear. They need your compliance to a plan that isn’t working so they can blame you for it’s failure.

In all of history I can’t come up with a challenge fear solved. While I do pray for an effective, safe vaccine, if you think all this magically disappears after the vaccine hits circulation, you probably thought this would go away after the election. This dude just tried to cancel Thanksgiving and told us yesterday our kids need to sacrifice more for God’s sake. 

And like the decisions most of us will make for ourselves this Thanksgiving, we need to start embracing that this will end, when we say it ends.

All data sourced through the State’s COVID website, the COVID Tracking Project, the CDC or the articles linked through the piece.