I generally have no time for TV “doctors” who go by their first name, Dr. Phil, for instance, a total fraud, and here, Dr. Drew. So I listened reluctantly and then with pleasant surprise as he told the members of a TV panel that the press needs to shut up about Cornonavirus. It’s a mild respiratory infection that has probably infected hundreds of thousands of us. Thanks to people like Michael Crichton and Stephen King, we are always on the lookout for a pandemic that is going to kill half of us.
If you, like me, find these TV panel shows annoying in the extreme, it might be because of Ben Franklin’s observation that “the empty barrel makes the most noise.” TV talkers are annoying empty-headed monsters. It was gratifying for Dr. Drew to be so blunt.
I might have had this infection myself. I am in kind of a golden age of my life where I am immune to just about everything going around, having had mild cases of most colds and even some influenza. I rarely get sick, and expect not to be affected by things going around. So I was very surprised in January to develop swollen glands, and to suffer hacking, sneezing, coughing up afterbirth for a period of nearly three weeks. I didn’t go to a doctor, as it was just a damned cold that would take care of itself, and it did. But I wonder now if it was just this latest virus. (My wife was a preschool teacher when we met, and consequently had gotten everything going around in those disease factories. She did not catch it.)
So I wonder now if “Coronavirus” is really something new, or just a new name for an old disease. If it is the latter, why is it being hyped? Jump to the last paragraph below for one possible answer.
An “epidemic” is a local phenomenon where a disease infects many people. A “pandemic” is a spread of this disease to other continents. Coronavirus has spread to other continents, but the numbers are modest. So far, it is not a big deal.
Usually the people who die from diseases making the rounds are “immune-compromised,” as for instance, people whose immune systems are broken down by lifestyles such as alcoholism or extreme inactivity … couch potatoes. AIDS, though not caused by HIV, is a real syndrome that results from poverty or lifestyle choices. Mere old age itself can put people at risk. Dr. Drew mentions the thousands of people who die from influenza each year. Though it sounds harsh, these people are going to die earlier than the rest of us by some agent, be it flu or mere colds. Their bodies are not well-prepared for invasion by foreign agents.
The historic “pandemics” that have occurred usually have aspects that are not well understood. I inserted the arrow on the right of the Greenland GISP2 above, as that is the point in time when the world experienced the Black Death. What else was going on at that time? We were coming out of the Medieval Warm Period and heading into the Little Ice Age. The climate was getting colder, growing seasons shortened, less food was available, and people were suffering anyway. They were susceptible to disease. It could well be a rat that got off a ship that started the whole thing, but many rats got off many ships in earlier times, and did not leave millions of dead behind. It was other factors that combined to create the plague.
Readers of this blog will be familiar with discussion of the Spanish flu in the aftermath of World War I, and the hidden evidence that it was exacerbated by a new wonder drug, aspirin. It was wildly over-prescribed. Otherwise, that may well have been just another flu season.
And finally, anyone who follows markets knows that savvy investors make a lot of money when they go up, as they have, but also when they go down. In the wake of 9/11, which readers here know to be a staged event, we learned there was short-selling going on with stocks like American and United Airlines. “Short-selling” is a technique where investors borrow the stock from investment houses and sell it, and then, after it has fallen, buy it back on the open market and repay the loan, pocketing the difference. It is a highly risky strategy unless one happens to know a stock is going to fall.