We have been dealing with the repercussions of the Chinese coronavirus now for months.
Our lives have been radically altered as we came to grips with a new virus strain sweeping the globe.
We watched horror stories play out on the nightly news and the public generally accepted new terms and ways of life such as “social distancing” and “flatten the curve” out of fear and an attempt to stop the spread of this new disease.
That was then, this is now.
We cannot allow the proposed “cure” to be worse than the disease itself. Our economy has gone from constant boom and historically low unemployment to massive layoffs and entire states being shut down almost overnight.
Retirement investments have crashed along with the stock markets.
Criminals have been released from our jails and prisons at a dizzying pace.
Not surprisingly, crime rates have gone up. People are dying because “elective” procedures have been cancelled.
The cancellation of all elective procedures also poses the very real danger of killing our hospitals across the country and in rural Tennessee.
Hospitals operate on the revenue generated by elective procedures, not ER visits.
Many people are small business owners who have had to close their businesses due to government edicts. There are also independent contractors who are out of work.
Neither category is eligible for unemployment, and those are just two examples.
People are faced with no income and no way to provide for themselves and their families.
Mental illnesses such as depression have seen a dramatic rise along with associated suicides. Domestic violence has also spiked.
Some businesses were declared “essential” and allowed to stay open, but many were forced to close. These essential businesses have often restricted hours and access to the stores which has resulted in a very counterproductive crowding of people we would not normally see.
Our major media outlets have proven themselves to be “fake news” over and over during this.
It has been well-documented that images from Italian hospitals were reused and labeled as being in New York City, cameramen were photographed wearing jeans and a T-shirt while the reporter was delivering his report in full hazmat gear, staged events were held in hospitals with mannequins under sheets on gurneys, and photos of the same people being on the beach were used in articles about beachgoers from Florida to California.
The list of examples goes on and on. Opinions differ as to why this happens from laziness, to ratings, to political activism, and beyond. I will let you draw your own conclusions on that.
What these reports have unquestionably done was astronomically raise the panic level in this country.
Our constitutional rights are not something that can be taken away at the whim of governments “for our safety”.
They would cease to be rights and only be privileges if that were the case. These tip lines established to report your neighbors for being outside or a business for being open are frighteningly reminiscent of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union.
I cannot fathom places that arrest people for going to a park or fishing by themselves yet encourage trips to Walmart among the masses.
A woman in Texas was arrested and thrown in jail for working to feed her family. The judge literally gave her the option of jail or “apologizing for being selfish!"
That a judge would have such a mindset is unconscionable to me. At this rate, George Orwell was just off by a few years.
I am a student of history and I cannot recall a time where we quarantined healthy people en masse.
We now know a lot more about this virus than we did just a few short months ago. Young people have an incredibly small rate of severe cases with many showing no symptoms at all.
People on the other end of the spectrum though are the most vulnerable, especially those over 80.
Most working-age people have experienced symptoms on par with seasonal influenza to totally asymptomatic. Yes, there have been some severe cases in that age group but that happens with seasonal flu as well.
I am not a medical professional, and this is not medical advice, but there are some simple, common-sense things you can do to protect yourself.
No. 1, take care of yourself. Make sure you get proper rest, eat healthy, practice good hygiene, eat foods or take vitamins that support your immune system, and now would be a good time to quit smoking or vaping as those damage your lungs and make you more susceptible to the more severe symptoms of the Chinese coronavirus.
This is supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave. It is time we started acting like it.
I am by no means advocating reckless behavior and unnecessary risks.
We have the knowledge to make informed decisions, and the government should not penalize us for doing so.
The amount of cases will go up as people get out of the house. Do not allow yourself to be panicked by this.
History has shown pandemics, such as the current Chinese coronavirus, like the Spanish flu of 1918, will go in cycles.
We are likely to have one or two more waves before this is over with.
Elderly people and those with weak immune systems or preexisting conditions are far more likely to experience severe symptoms if they catch COVID-19.
It makes sense for those populations to isolate more and take greater precautions.
There are some lessons that should be learned from this pandemic. Our nation is far too reliant on China for vital supplies such as the basic compounds for drugs and medical supplies such as masks and gloves.
Government regulations on our food supply are killing our farms. Milk has been dumped instead of sold and animals euthanized because normal processing and markets are disrupted.
Franklin County has an awesome farmers market. Let’s take advantage of it.
In times past, people grew their own food. Planting a garden is work but rewarding at the same time and does not require a large plot of land.
Buy and shop locally when possible. You’ll be supporting your friends and neighbors, not billionaires thousands of miles away.
Trust me, our small business owners are hurting. Some may not even be able to reopen.
They need your support and patronage as restrictions are lifted.
We should be able to go to work, go to a park or the beach, and visit friends if we so choose. If you feel safer staying at home, that is your right as well.
That is what freedom and personal responsibility are all about. And please stop hoarding the toilet paper!
Greg King is the Franklin County District 4, Seat A commissioner and a Decherd police sergeant.