Trump’s instincts may be right as there’s more we DON’T know about the virus than we DO know

Despite all the breathless, round the clock reporting by the media, there is much more that we don’t know about the Wuhan virus COVID-19 than we do know.

Networks flash statistics across the screen throughout the day, informing Americans of how many confirmed cases there are in the country and across the globe. Folks are also kept up to speed on just how many people are dying.

However, with so many numbers on display, people are not being told things such as your odds of contracting coronavirus. Or the chances of recovery, if you get the virus.

While the disease appears to be impacting older Americans the most, the media seems more eager to report on the deaths of those under age 65 than they are about tracking the ages of all deaths.

A Real Clear Politics op-ed by William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn touch on these omissions and many more, as they note a lack of balance in the response to the virus. This coming at a time when there’s so much distrust of a media that often appears to be more intent on destroying President Donald Trump than on reporting accuracy.

After recounting what we do know about the national emergency, to include “the heroic efforts and sacrifice of many doctors, nurses, and volunteer civilians,” Bennett and Leibsohn delve into the odds of contracting coronavirus.

“One would think that number is easily known or available,” they said. “It’s not. A lot of digging into various municipal data portals reveals, based on the population tested, that rates can vary from, at most, eight-tenths of a percent in New York City to two-one-hundredths of a percent in Phoenix.”

More importantly, they explore the odds of surviving — which is never covered by the press.

“Did you know the chances of recovery from the coronavirus are about 98% — if you catch it?” Bennett and Leibsohn wrote. “Did you know there are models showing 50% of the population may have already had it, never knew they had it, and recovered.”

More importantly, they focus on what is being reported.

“What is presented widely are numbers and warnings that scare and frighten us, and we are now being conditioned to a lot of panic and speculation,” the two men said.

With such a wide range of numbers being presented when predicting the number of deaths from the outbreak, compared to actual deaths, the question of “plausibility” is presented.

“Is it too much to ask for some perspective with numbers we do know about,” they inquire. “[N]umbers which have never shut down our country, much less a church or synagogue, much less entire industries; numbers which have never restricted travel or put this nation into one big frenzy?”

In comparison to 9,500 COVID-19 deaths since February, Bennett and Leibsohn note that 54,000 Americans die of heart disease in any given month, 50,000 to cancer, and 14,000 to asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

On and on the list goes, to include drug deaths, totally 157,000 deaths a month.

“Where is the sympathy for the victims and families of those other causes of death?” the op-ed asks. “The daily mortality count?  The blaring headlines?  The upending of the country?  We hear almost nothing about them.”

“Given all that is being done about one cause of death, COVID-19, it turns out this is a very advantaged disease, indeed.”

A privileged disease?

Bennett and Leibsohn ask, “Is there perhaps not a smarter way to address this plague other than mass immuration?”

As for the cure being more harmful than the disease, as Trump cautioned about, we are reminded of the harm that comes from economic hardship. And while elitists, to include some in the media, press for a longer shutdown period, which may very well have some merit in saving some lives, the pair admit, they add that “it will likely take more, and will kill the heart and soul of our country, which is dependent on the economic engine of the rest of us.”

“The president’s instincts to re-open this country as soon as possible are right,” they wrote. “This country is not prepared for a worsening of all the other social harms and deaths brought on by an incredibly overwrought, self-induced, hysteria and panic that doesn’t parse.  It better be.”

The alternative may be “massive social failure and more death.”

“This is what happens when sanity is at discount and hysteria reigns supreme,” they conclude. “This is what happens when societies get used to pandemonium. As bad as the coronavirus is, and it is bad, unless we arrest the frenzy and panic mongering, we should be prepared for things worse than the virus.”


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Tom Tillison


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