I’m sure you think you sound clever, analytical even.
I’m sure you think you’re “owning the libs,” and with math no less, as you roll out what you consider to be the relevant digits regarding this whole pandemic thing. You know the ones I mean, right? The numbers showing that there are nearly 40,000 traffic-related deaths each year in America, and only a little more than 2,000 from COVID-19.
Take that Anthony Fauci, you sputter with a fist pump, or better yet, “Little” Anthony Fauci. Yes, that’s more like it. That’s the way your Emperor God would say it because after all, Dr. Fauci is short, and Donald Trump is tall, and what matters in a pandemic is being tall, not being an expert on infectious disease. Why would we wanna listen to a guy like Fauci who looks as though he spent his life in a lab doing scienc-y shit, rather than banging porn stars, ripping off subcontractors, and wolfing down Big Macs, which is what real men do, amirite?
You were so stoked when the president laid out the ironclad logic on FOX, explaining how absurd all this hysteria is, especially when it comes to shutting down the economy over this thing. I mean, who can argue with this:
“You look at automobile accidents, which are far greater than any numbers we’re talking about…That doesn’t mean we’re going to tell everybody no more driving of cars…”
I know you heard that and probably thought, damn right! Look at Trump, so smooth as he deftly compares apples and total fucking oranges. Who but a very stable genius could manage such a feat? Well, we know who couldn’t: Anthony Fauci, that’s who.
Ok, seriously, stop. Put down the hydroxychloroquine supplements you got from Alex Jones in the mail and just shut up.
First, please remember that you were making this same argument a few weeks ago; only then, the numbers were around 40,000 for auto deaths and just a couple hundred for COVID-19. Notice anything? Like, perhaps the fact that in only a few weeks those couple hundred jumped by a factor of 10? It took a month for us to reach a thousand coronavirus deaths. That number doubled again in just 48 hours.
Which sorta matters, because it suggests a difference between your stupid-ass car fatality numbers and virus numbers: namely, the latter grow exponentially. If traffic accidents and fatalities multiplied that way, we sure as shit would be shutting down interstates until we could figure out what was happening. If every crash or fatality on the roadways produced two more which produced four, then eight, then sixteen, and so on, you can bet your F-150 with the gun rack in the back that driving restrictions would be put in place, whether you liked it or not.
Second, the fact that you keep having to edit the COVID numbers so as to compare them with the still higher (at this point) traffic death totals ought to tell you something: namely, that the deaths from the virus aren’t over yet. The 38,800 auto deaths annually are a fixed number, spread over 12 months. We aren’t even eight weeks into the dying on COVID. By the time you get around to putting down the free weights and reading this — I know, I’m being overly optimistic — that number will no doubt be quite a bit higher than the paltry 2,000 referenced above.
Third, estimates from experts — which is to say, not people who think Jesus will protect them from the virus or who think it was a Chinese bioweapon — suggest that if we fail to practice sufficient distancing, at least 20 percent of Americans could become infected. To be sure, most of those won’t die, but even if one-half of one percent did (a low estimate, and which would still mean a mortality rate five times that of the flu), that would mean at least 350,000 deaths. That’s nearly ten times greater than the automobile fatality numbers.
And let’s be honest, if you knew that right now, one in five drivers on the road was driving recklessly, speeding like a maniac and weaving in and out of traffic, would you be looking to go on a road trip? Well, maybe you would because it sounds cool, like Mario Carts or some shit. But seriously, that’s the analogy, because if one in five Americans gets infected with this virus, they would be the equivalent of reckless drivers whom the rest of us are trying to avoid so as not to get sick or die ourselves.
Oh, and to the extent we don’t reach those kinds of numbers and are able to get things under control relatively quickly, has it occurred to you why that might be? Perhaps it’s because, despite violations of shelter-in-place recommendations, millions of Americans have taken the warnings seriously. We have been staying indoors, practicing social distancing, shutting down large gatherings, sporting events, concerts, and other opportunities for mass transmission. So to point to relatively lower (thus far) numbers of deaths from COVID-19 as proof that the pandemic is overhyped is absurd. It would be like walking around in a rainstorm with an umbrella and getting cocky about the fact that you’re still dry. Try getting rid of the umbrella smartass and then get back to us.
Fourth, the thing about the risk of dying in a car accident is that it’s spread pretty evenly across the population. It can happen to anyone who gets in a car. That’s most of us — either regularly or at least every now and then. With COVID-19, the burden falls disproportionately on certain groups: the elderly and people with pre-existing health conditions. You might think this is all the more reason that those who don’t fall into those categories should get back to work. Let the olds and the sickies shelter in place while the healthy, vibrant young folks who chug Protein drinks and lift every day go about the business of business.
But again, you would be wrong because, of course you would be.
To start with, even though younger and healthier folks don’t die as often from this illness, they do die, and even when they live they are often hospitalized for weeks at a time, their lungs damaged in ways that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Additionally, unless you vitamin-junkies never interact with anyone unlike yourselves — no parents, grandparents, or co-workers with a health condition — “getting back to normal” endangers others, even if you remain able to hit the gym every day, thereby giving meaning to your sad life. Which is to say, now you would become the reckless drivers.
In fact, precisely because of the less-random shake-out of COVID deaths, it is especially unethical to shrug in the face of such mortality, and yes, far more unethical than doing the same in the face of auto fatalities. Because auto death odds are more evenly spread we all take that risk when we get in a car. We shrug at the potential danger to some extent because we know it’s a risk we ourselves are assuming. To shrug at a risk you don’t really face, but which you’re willing to make someone else assume, just makes you an asshole. Not to mention, when it comes to the automobile risk, we can easily choose not to get in one if we’d rather not take our chances. But those especially at risk from this virus cannot easily isolate from you, and all who don’t fall into a high-risk group.
If you’re out there running around doing your usual thing, as are all the other folks who aren’t old and aren’t sick, who’s going to bring them groceries or provide them with health care? Should elderly folks and people with pre-existing but typically manageable conditions like asthma or diabetes just become shut-ins indefinitely, all so that you won’t be inconvenienced for a few months? Because that’s what you’re saying: either they should accept the risk of dying to make your life easier, or at the very least they should become hermits without jobs, lives, or human connection so you can get back to the bars.
Yeah, no, Chad, that’s not how we do things here.
Look, I understand. You’re getting a bit stir crazy. You haven’t been able to crush reps at CrossFit or pound shots with your buds in like, two whole weeks. But don’t worry. Tinder will still be there when this is over, as will Wall Street, the beach, or the next Trump rally you’ve been looking forward to for months. Life will go on.
And hey, remember that time you said “All Lives Matter,” because you thought it was a good comeback to the Black Lives Matter movement? Yeah, that was awesome. How about acting like you meant it?