Making Sense Of The Madness — Outlaw Sports
I’m not sure what exactly is happening and I am sure I’m not the only person. I’m also sure things are not good and why seems to be the question. As of today, America and the World, are in the midst of a viral pandemic. The Covid-19 Virus has driven people into their homes, and social life in America, to a grinding halt. The stock market has gone from historic highs-into depression like lows. The U.S. Government is about to release a 100 billion dollar stimulus package to keep our economy afloat. The News is 24 hour wall to wall coverage of death, sickness, and most obviously-finger pointing.
The most apparent result of the pandemic, for the average person, can be seen in their local grocery stores. People, those who have subscribed to the apocalyptic notion of the current situation, have begun to hoard food, guns, and toilet paper. This has resulted in the non-panicked to respond by hoarding food, guns, and toilet paper; or risk having nothing at all. Similar, to the theme of The Walking Dead, the virus that creates the zombies, is not the most dangerous thing, but rather-it’s the humans and their reactions to it that is the most dangerous.
Clearly, the problem is not the virus. A quick look at the figures makes this obvious. As of today, The WHO has reported 91,127 confirmed cases globally, along with 7807 deaths. That translates to a 3.4% mortality rate. Or put another way, a 96.6% survivability rate. If you were playing the Powerball, and had 96.6% chance of winning, you’d take that bet every time and presumably, without any hesitation. The problem is that the wager is on something entirely different and infinitely more valuable-human life. How many of us would feel comfortable with a 96.6% of winning, when the stakes of our bet are ourselves and loved ones? I would assume, at the very least, your hesitation would much greater.
Unfortunately, the truth is, we are going to have take that bet. The stark reality is that the Coronavirus is here. So the question becomes: What do we do? As near as I can tell, no can seem to give straight answer. There seems to be a few different schools of thought, but it is far from any sort consensus. Each school is making its case relying on the logical fallacy of “expertise”. When the truth is, there is no certainty in any of the approaches. This situation is further exaggerated with the need to inject blame and politics. Is it Trump’s fault? Is it the Media’s? Is it China’s? The answer is most likely all of the above. For the rest of us, we must each sift through the litany of information in search of the most accurate information about a problem most of us know very little about. If not only for our physical health, but our own sanity.
In this moment, unless a cure or vaccine is invented, it would seem, generally speaking, we must make one of two bad choices.
The first option is: Continue on as before. In this option, we would go back to work, school and everything else. Presumably we would take better precautions in hygiene and isolating ourselves when we were sick, but largely, we would return to normal. However, this may cause an exponential rise in serious infections, and by some estimations -result in 2.2 million deaths. The primary reason for this, is that a mass amount of infected would overrun our hospitals and crash the healthcare system. However, our economy would presumably be in much better shape with option. If our economy was to crash, the consequences might meet or exceed the damage caused by the infection should we allow it to increase.
This is the choice that U.S. and other countries seem to be taking. It involves mitigating the rate of infection or “flattening the curve”, so to slow the transmission of the virus. This strategy would prevent the crashing of the healthcare system by slowing the number of infected entering hospitals and consuming the limited resources needed to treat the illness. If you have a hard time imagining what this would be like, please read about Italy. Right now, the Italian Government has decided that if you are over the age of 80, your life isn’t as valuable as a 79 1/2 year old and you’re on your own.
The downside to this choice is the inverse of option 1 and the economy likely crashes. As of today, the U.S. Government is in the process of bailing out several sectors; with some estimates being as high 1 trillion dollars. However, the question the Government isn’t answering is: Where is this money coming from? We are already over 23 trillion debt as of today. If the virus response lasts eighteen months, as some have predicted, a trillion dollars will not help unless we exponentially increase our healthcare system’s capacity.
So what’s the solution? I think the strongest case is for Option 1, and Option 1 doesn’t necessarily mean we ignore the virus because two things can be true at the same time. We can take the virus seriously and not overreact. To get a really good understanding of the methods for combatting the virus, please look at this link by the Washington Post. In the article, the Post simulates the spread and trajectory of the virus using different methods such as quarantine and extreme social distancing. The key takeaway for me is individual recovery. The highest number of infections seem to cause the highest numbers of recovery. This theory is known as the herd immunity. In the herd immunity theory, because the the virus has spread to so many people, and they presumably recovered, the virus would have a harder time finding a suitable host. Again, this doesn’t mean everyone should immediately go back to the way things were. But what if a calculated percentage of us did? Right now, it seems pretty clear that the fatalities caused by Covid-19 disproportionally effect the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Perhaps they could continue down this current course.. They could have groceries delivered and the Government could provide them financial assistance. Everyone else would start to lean into the possibility of contracting the virus. Indeed, we would get sick, but all the evidence seems to show that we have a probability of recovery and, theoretically, we would develop an immunity. The virus would eventually subside and the the elderly and sick could return.
In this scenario, the economy doesn’t enter a depression. Which in my opinion, is the worse outcome. If in eighteen months we develop a vaccine, how much longer will our suffering be prolonged if we have say…a 20% unemployment rate? The Great Depression lasted ten years. The Crash of 2009 lasted between 5 and 6. How exactly are the sick and elderly to recover from a fixed income that is nearly worthless because of inflation? If all we are doing is prolonging the inevitable, and we must repeatedly practice the current option over the next eighteen months: How does getting sick while be unemployed with an economic Depression, help make the healthcare system better? In my opinion, the answer is obvious; the world isn’t going to stop, therefore, neither should we.
One final thing. I know a certain segment of the people reading this are going to say: What do you know? You aren’t a learned doctor. All the experts say that this what we should do. To these people I say, you’re absolutely correct and I am not doctor. I’ve never even played one on TV but, (most likely) neither are you. Your argument is merely an appeal to an authority. It’s a logical fallacy in which you appeal to a credentialed source by citing their agreement with your opinion as proof you are correct. The fact is, experts once thought the world was flat and as it turns out, history is full of experts that were wrong. Second, the experts disagree. So which expert is right? I don’t know and I doubt you do either. All we can do is look at the best available evidence to help make the best possible decision. because the only thing we know for certain-is we are all going to die anyway.
Originally published at https://theoutlawsports.com on March 19, 2020.