I heard several news outlets report the other day that the number of coronavirus deaths had surpassed the number of military deaths in the Vietnam conflict.
I don’t like to refer to the Vietnam experience as a war because our Congress has not seen fit to make a formal Declaration of War since WWII.
Odd thing is that many American men and women have died in conflicts that look suspiciously like wars to me.
Now I strongly suspect there’s a political/news motive for the reference to Vietnam conflict deaths compared to COVID19 fatalities.
But I didn’t hear any news comparisons when the nation’s coronavirus deaths passed the total of military men and women killed during the Korean conflict.
Maybe today’s highly-informed media wasn’t aware that we were involved in a brouhaha on the Korean peninsula in the early 1950’s that cost American lives.
(By the way, that figure was 36,365, or 33,739 according to numbers from the Department of Veterans Affairs.)
You’d think with 24 hour news available on a zillion outlets, someone might have stumbled over that information and shared it with us.
Perhaps they didn’t think it was important.
Tell that to Korean conflict veterans.
Can we agree that statistics from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are fairly reputable?
The CDC reports suicide claims over 47 thousand lives every year in our nation.
Did you read or hear a news report when the “Wuhan flu” passed that dubious milestone?
Can the national news media be licking its’ chops, knowing that the CDC reports we lose more than 83,000 Americans every year to diabetes.
The coronavirus toll is closing in.
I can almost hear nervous chatter and some hand-clapping in some newsrooms.
The CDC also tells us that Alzheimer’s takes the lives of over 121 thousand Americans each year.
If we just spent $2,000,000,000,000 to stimulate the economy for COVID19, then what should we expect for the following;
Stroke deaths annual in America…over 146,000.
Chronic lower respiratory diseases…more than 160,000.
Accidents…almost 170 thousand a year.
Cancer…just under 600,000 each year.
Cardio-vascular (heart) disease…nearly 650,000 a year.
Those are all numbers I gleaned from the CDC site.
Prior to seeing these numbers, if someone reported that more than 650,000 Americans, some of them your friends and loved ones would, die in 2020 because of some malady, would we cry out as a nation as we have for this pandemic?
I think the proof’s in the pudding.
If you’ve followed my musings over the year, you should know I am not “laughing off” the impact of this outbreak.
I’m not making light of folks dying from COVID19.
But I’m confused to see how we’ve responded to the threat.
I am a skin cancer victim.
Now, most of my “tumors” have been of the Basil cell type.
They’re not overly aggressive or threatening if dealt with promptly.
But I have had some surgeries to remove melanomas, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer.
It’s been proven that exposure to sunlight can trigger genetic reactions in many of us, leading to cancers and yet I don’t see store shelves bare of SPF 50 sunscreen.
Maybe if we skin cancer victims started wrapping our bodies in toilet paper, we might have topped the recent shortages we experienced.
I said months ago, I wondered if the response to the coronavirus outbreak matched the actual risk to us.
What’s made the public reaction to COVID19 more “intense” is the fact many of us have been told to stay home.
Don’t go to work.
Wash your hands.
Would we have been so willing to follow similar guidelines to lower the risk of nearly 600,000 deaths?
For example, limit your time in the sun.
Always apply sunscreen when out of doors.
Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
And that’s just for the skin cancer portion of that CDC number for total cancer deaths.
It’s only #2 on the CDC’s top 7 list of causes of death.
Heart disease is the big killer.
That’s what took the life of my Dad at the ripe old age of 47.
It’s what caused my younger sister to seriously alter her life earlier this year after surviving a major heart attack.
My skin cancer experiences resulted in me undergoing open heart surgery after checks for other forms of cancer internally, lead to the discovered of an aneurysm and the need for a double by-pass.
And, although more than 1.250 million of us are likely to die from either heart disease or cancer in 2020, , is anyone in Congress suggesting that we should all get some financial help?
Again, two trillion dollars was passed on to you and me because a condition that has taken less than 5% of the lives that are expected to be lost to cancer and heart disease this year.
Allow me to clarify my position.
I don’t think the coronavirus is a hoax.
But I have real concerns about how we have responded to it.
Being a member of the “media’ for more than 50 years, this pains me to say this.
I fear that one day, historians will say the downfall of America can be traced to one thing.
Twenty-four hour news outlets.
Plus, a severe lack of folks like Paul Harvey, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings, Frank Reynolds or Douglas Edwards to bring us the news.
Remember Jack Webb?
As Sgt. Joe Friday on “Dragnet”, he would interview crime victims and would almost always say the following;
“Just the facts, Ma’am”.