July 11, 2020 - 9:00 pm
Your July 6 editorial, “ ‘I think we have to look at the data’ on virus surge,” was a desperately needed and a long-overdue breath of fresh air. The relentless obsession in the media with raw coronavirus case numbers is only promoting ignorance and hysteria.
If there were 40,000 of what are often mislabeled “new cases” yesterday and 50,000 today, it does not mean the virus is getting worse if we test twice as many people. It also matters who is testing positive, what their risk factors are, whether they represent a random sample of the population and what sort of circumstances are taking place in the community — these are all vital factors that most news outlets are chronically overlooking.
The recent high case numbers (of increasingly younger people) do not coincide with the gradual opening of businesses throughout the country, which began much earlier. But they do match exactly with the recent public demonstrations, in which the participants are mostly very young people who are not at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus.
While there are legitimate concerns in places such as Arizona and Florida, the nation as a whole is making substantial progress in combatting this pandemic. The average daily death rate is half of what it was a month ago. While this, too, will have its bumps and setbacks, it is utterly nonsensical to suggest we are not moving forward.
We’ve known from the beginning that 80 percent of the fatalities are among the ill and elderly — like me — and that if I and others like me would simply shelter themselves, the rest of the world can get on with life.