Covid-19 Is Proof That All Lives Don’t Really Matter
Covid-19 Truthers or those who embrace and indulge in misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19 continue to flourish in the wake of the pandemic. A recent online survey of about 2,500 people found that 25 percent either showed a consistent pattern or “very high levels” of endorsing “conspiracy thinking” about the novel coronavirus.
This misinformation is strengthening the pandemic by creating an infodemic. Misleading or inaccurate information can influence behaviors that increase the risk of infection and worsen the course of an infection. This can and has led people to become violently ill or die that do not need to.
All Lives Matter…Right?
All Lives Matter is a slogan that was created in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ben Mees succinctly explains why the All Lives Matter’ reactions miss the point as the Black Lives Matter movement is not about denigrating the worth of other ethnic groups; it is about highlighting a specific problem.
Black Lives Matter is against racism and systemic injustices against the Black community, and it works for equality for everyone. The message of the slogan is not that Black lives matter more. It is not that the lives of Caucasian people don’t matter. It is that Black lives matter just as much.
This has been made clear repeatedly. To suggest anything to the contrary is to intend to have the effect of diminishing the plight of a community that has suffered violent subjugation in the past and continues to feel the residual ill effects of history, with overt and subtle racism still evident today. Covid-19 is just the latest example.
Who is dying from Covid-19? Old people, poor people, black people, sick people, and surprisingly men. The cavalier reaction by both individuals and government to Covid-19 is yet more evidence that all lives do not matter. How could they when you look at the response on the federal, state, local, and individual level?
It should be noted that protests have not resulted in a surge in Covid-19. During protests, overall social distancing actually increased in big US cities.
We Never Shutdown Correctly
If all lives mattered, we wouldn’t have been so awful at flattening the curve. If all lives mattered, we would have had all 50 states at recovery ready status. Recovery Ready status is met when a state is able to effectively implement 5 key responses aimed at both confronting the spread and treating the sick:
- Close schools
- Close bars and restaurants
- Close non essential businesses.
- Ban gatherings of 10 or more.
- Payment to workers to stay at home and businesses for remaining closed.
Number five requires federal cooperation that makes the first 4 so easy. It’s incredible that this is being made a choice between the economy and people’s lives when it doesn’t have to be at all.
We Are Restarting Incorrectly
After insisting that he had absolute power to decide when to reopen the American economy, President Donald Trump turned over to all of us what he initially called “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.” In our system, the President is both head of state and head of government. Since he is either too weak or too incompetent to lead with what should be a coordinated federal response for states to follow, here is what reopening works best according to experts and frontline officials from Italy, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea, places that have restarted successfully:
- Massive, ongoing testing to detect where the disease is spreading
- A real-time ability to trace contacts of those infected and isolate them
- A willingness of people to wear masks in crowded public spaces
- Reserves of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment for hospital workers to handle any surge in cases
- Reliable, easily administered blood tests to find out the number of people who have been infected. If they work well, such tests could eventually be used to identify people with immunity who could work at higher-risk jobs.
We know that increased testing does not explain the rise of Covid-19 cases because the positivity rate (out of all tests conducted, how many come back positive for COVID-19) is rising even as testing expands. Contact tracing is actually giving us a lot of useful information though infuriating as it may be like the spike in Coronavirus are from parties and not protests or kids going on spring break are contracting and spreading the virus because they had to go on spring break.
Concerning masks, we’re seeing both misguided policy and expected return to the standard (wearing masks in public) from the deviation (not wearing a mask in public). The fact that, in the United States, wearing a face mask is an actual debate amidst a pandemic when we know it has what worked for countries that have restarted successfully is vexing.
After a rocky start, we seem to be doing well with PPE reserves. Finally, tests for COVID-19 include the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic test, a nasal swab. There’s also an antibody test which is a blood test that may be able to tell whether you had an infection in the past. It has had it’s problems. The incubation period for the new coronavirus is around 5 to 7 days, but it can be up to 14 days.
We are restarting improperly when we never shutdown adequately resulting in needless infections and deaths. Covid-19 is telling us exactly whose lives ultimately do not matter, and many places are taking note both domestically and internationally.
New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are quarantining visitors from states with high Covid-19 infections: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington. New York was for a time the epicenter of the novel Covid-19 outbreak but has since lowered its infection rate after locking down much of its economy.
The United States is also reportedly on the banned list of countries to enter the European Union (EU). The number of U.S. cases in the past 14 days was 107 per 100,000 people, compared with just 16 per 100,000 people across the EU. The EU has approximately 445 million people and has administered approximately 50 million tests. The. U.S. has approximately 330 million people and administered 30 million tests.
“It really does feel like the U.S. has given up,” said Siouxsie Wiles, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand — a country that has confirmed only three new cases over the past three weeks and where citizens have now largely returned to their pre-coronavirus routines.
It seems like there are places exhibiting actions that show a belief that all lives matter. The United States’ Covid-19 response is showing that we do not.