• Please Pass the Smelling Salts: COVID ‘Worst’ Thing America Will Face?

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    Surge Summary: Public officials like Dr. Deborah Birx and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti aren’t helping the coronavirus situation with hysterical declarations. Yes, the virus is serious. No, it is not as bad as the armageddonists are implying. People need responsible leadership in crisis – not panic.

    Are nominations currently being accepted for top spots in the International Order of Hysterics? Or the Cassandra Club? Obviously, nowadays there’s no shortage of potential members for those groups. But, I’d like to float the names of American celebrity physician Dr. Deborah Birx and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for either of those organizations’ president and vice-president, respectively (we could swap the order if preferable.)

    Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator and dependable Dr. Anthony Fauci ally recently announced during a masked, Meet the Press appearance,  that this season’s escalating coronavirus surge “is not just the worst public health event. This is the worst event that this country will face, not just from a public health side.”

    The good doctor could hardly have been more explicit: The. Worst. Event. America. Will. Face.


    How about that? More dangerous than a nuclear assault? Than an electrical grid-paralyzing EMP attack? More foreboding than a hot “kinetic war” with China or Iran? Nastier than a country-spanning economic depression or terrorist assault on the nation’s water supply?

    Oh, my. For those sensible folk wondering why the U.S. populace is worked up into a quavering frenzy over what is, effectively, a particularly punishing strain of the flu … well, I think we’ve found a hefty chunk of the explanation: the existential agonistes of high-profile luminaries like Deborah Birx.

    Meantime, over on the West Coast earlier this month, Los Angeles Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti unspooled this diktat to already embattled L.A. residents:

    “My message couldn’t be simpler. It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything. And if it isn’t essential, don’t do it.”

    The mayor has ordered all businesses — except those with exemptions, like grocery stores, media outlets, gas stations, and restaurants that offer take-out, drive-through, and delivery options — to close. All public and private gatherings “of any number of people from more than one household are prohibited,” Garcetti said, noting outdoor gatherings are permitted if they are religious events or protests. Residents may lawfully leave their houses only to engage in what the Los Angeles government has deemed “essential,” such as for doctor visits or to collect groceries. … Garcetti has asked the Los Angeles Police Department and the city’s attorney to “vigorously enforce” his edicts.

    Nixing everything. To be backed up by law enforcement. In the thick of Christmas season. All because of a serious, albeit nearly always non-fatal, respiratory illness. Nice. Whatever could go askew?

    Ho-ho-ho …

    Taking into account the hyperventilating of Birx, Garcetti and innumerable other leading medical professionals, media types and politicians (Governors Gavin Newsom, Andrew Cuomo, Gretchen Whitmer, Kate Brown, New York Mayor Bill DiBlasio, for instance) one could be forgiven for adjudging the true threat — the greater threat — is not literal COVID-19, but the big-wigs’ response to it. Their overheated commentaries and policy concoctions are inescapable and unrelenting. All Wuhan-flu panic, all the time courtesy of our enlightened rulers and other assorted society-shapers.

    To repeat: the most diabolical fall-out of this globe-spanning crisis? Not, seemingly, coronavirus itself: it’s a problem, true enough, and for a statistically tiny minority a grievous tragedy. Nonetheless, the illness presents something like a 99.8% survival rate for the total number who contract it.

    That said, rates of depression, anxiety and suicide? Through the rafters for those who’ve lost jobs, whose businesses have gone paws up, who are worn out from unrelenting social isolation and lockdown because of the febrile reaction to the pandemic.

    Gallup reports the percentage of Americans reporting a “good” or “excellent” mental health assessment had never sunk below 81% since the group began gauging the category nearly twenty years back – that is, until this year. In 2020 a nine-point drop has been registered; a record-low 76% of respondents.

    “ ‘The latest weakening in positive ratings, from a Nov. 5-19 poll, are undoubtedly influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to profoundly disrupt people’s lives,’ Gallup reported.

    The White House informed in an earlier October press release:

    “According to a CDC study, symptoms of anxiety and depression increased significantly since the prolonged stay-at-home orders, with disproportionately worse mental health outcomes among vulnerable groups. … 40.9% of Americans reported at least one adverse mental health condition and 10.7% reported seriously considering suicide. … In July, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 53% of American adults reported that their mental health was negatively affected due to worries over COVID-19.”

    Once more, it’s likely the paroxysm’s of the sky-is-falling set are largely to blame for this overspreading gloom; more so than the brute pandemic on its own.

    The Trump Administration has repeatedly warned of the negative mental health effects of government-mandated business shutdowns and stay-at-home mandates. “A hotline run by the substance abuse and mental health services saw a 1000% increase in responses during April as we kept this country closed,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany warned in a press event earlier this year.

    McEnany additionally sounded the alarm over another consequence of these artificially and unrelentingly stoked Corona-fears, this one literally deadly:  It’s driven masses of Americans to dodge doctor visits.

    “According to the IQVIA Institute for Human Data science, a total of 80,000 plus diagnoses of five common cancers in the United States are projected to be missed or delayed during the three-month period of early March to early June.….  We can’t scare people from going to hospitals. It’s a consequence of staying closed though.”

    Foaming-at-the-Mouth perorations from those who are supposed to offer guidance during pressure-packed situations carry a price; an unwelcome one. Americans ought to be able to expect measured leadership from their grown-ups, versus the flustered variety we’re being subjected to nearly daily anymore. it’s fairly certain FDR eschewed “worst event”/”cancel everything”-style rhetoric when denouncing the invidious Pearl Harbor attack. Neither did Churchill tap that trope while grimly recruiting his nation to resist the Nazi’s looming “abyss of a new dark age”. Sober, even somber, sentiments? Evidently and appropriately. But semantic pearl-clutching …? No.

    Assuming, for argument’s sake, the good intentions of Dr. Birx, Mayor Garcetti and their like-minded influencers, their apocalyptic tone is beyond unhelpful — it’s supremely counterproductive, even reckless. Pols and people are taking their cues from these men and women, setting perilous precedents, crafting policy, settling on decisions and fomenting attitudes and a cultural atmosphere that could shape America’s future for decades to come.

    It’s tough to remain clear-headed when those who’ve been assigned to lead the charge against a sizable problem are constantly shrieking in your ear that the end-is-nigh, that no generation’s ever faced anything as chilling as our current struggle.

    The views here are those of the author and not necessarily Daily Surge

    Image: Adapted from: Picture of Gordon Johnson on Pixabay .

    Steve Pauwels

    Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH, Managing Editor over at dailysurge.com and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.

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