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The Coronavirus' 'Second Coming'

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on April 13, 2020 14:28

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If not handled skillfully, the Coronavirus will surely return. Yet at this time, as Yeats wrote: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity." In order to overcome it, America needs a national commitment to humility, patience and bipartisan cooperation.

Public Domain Wikimedia photo: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ae/WBYeats1908.jpg
W.B. Yeats by Alvin Langdon Coburn (Public Domain Wikimedia photo)

This Easter/Passover season reminded me of W.B. Yeats' dark 1919 poem "The Second Coming."

Every country is closed.

Instead of reasoned debates over practical methods featuring dispassionate analyses from experts, Twitter is filled with panicked tweets from looney leftists, anti-vaxxers, radical libertarians, religious fanatics, and free-market fundamentalists who don't seem aware of public health basics.

Over Easter, some Christians demanded churches be reopened for worship services, oblivious to the manifest danger.

Some businesspeople urged reopening restaurants or hospitals for elective surgery, Petri dishes for super-spreaders.

Others sought restarting schools.

While some governors banned seeds.

Such delusions in the face of an epidemic revealed failures of the American educational system, media and other national institutions, greater than I had imagined possible.

Public confidence in vaccines, which are fundamental to public health, has been shaken. Vaccination certificates are required for school registration and international travel, yet have been denounced as "tyrannical" on Twitter. 

"Big Pharma" provides tests for coronavirus, yet has been pilloried over ties to Bill Gates and George Soros in vaccine development. However, the richest people in the world have traditionally supported vaccination – like the 20th Century's Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, later to become Rockefeller University – to eliminate infectious diseases.

Congress lost face when it passed Coronavirus bills laden with unrelated pork and self-dealing, and the Senate with insider trading. The media have behaved abysmally, magnifying conflicts to induce panic and exacerbate political crises rather than providing objective "news you can use" about comparative situations facing every country on the globe.

Incredibly the Democratic Party determined to bash President Trump's response instead of help him, although they had pressured him not to cut off flights to China. Democratic governors sought partisan advantage from shutdown orders, using the crisis to grab guns, change voting laws, and otherwise politically exploit a public health emergency rather than focus like a laser beam on the pandemic.

False dilemmas are publicized by the media to create hysteria, while measured responses have been ignored. This harms national resolve, public health and the economy.

A sick society cannot have a healthy economy.

There can be no tradeoff to benefit Wall Street if infection returns to undermine progress made to date.

Until the virus is under control, no economic recovery is possible.

Americans clearly no longer trust political parties, Congress, the media, universities, or businesses. This means American institutions must be reformed and rebuilt ASAP in order to restore a functioning society. 

Nobody knows the solution to this pandemic with certainty. Those who attempt to apply rigid ideological formulae, whether from the Left or Right, are dangerously misguided.

The Coronavirus has tested our system – and it has failed, so far.

Scott Adams is correct when he says that any economic restart would have to use sector-by-sector experiments, of a kind not seen in 100 years in public health.

Unless America takes serious steps to repair the damage quickly, we may have just lost the first battle of World War III. 

Laurence Jarvik

Posted on April 13, 2020 14:28

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Blog: Confessions of a Community College Dean "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity"...

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