The Flu, Death, and How We Deal With It All
The magnitude of response by our government with respect to the actual numbers just doesn't add up for me.
By Paul Hayden
March 23, 2020
[Editor's Note - Some of the information in this article became outdated almost immediately soon after being written, as the events surrounding this international crisis have escalated quite quickly.]
I don't dwell a lot on the topic of death, really. But death regularly confronts us where we live. Friends or family members "pass on" to the "other side." At times like the present, we are reminded perhaps too frequently of death by way of the "news" - people are dying worldwide from this quickly spreading disease (COVID-19) caused by a new strain of the coronavirus. It's a mystery to many - so what should we think about it? If you don't know what to think, just watch the news - they will tell you how they want you to think.
People are checking the numbers daily, and they regularly update it for us. One website by Johns Hopkins University reports a lot of the statistics, even updated throughout each day. We have almost up-to-the-minute numbers of those who have contracted or died of COVID-19.
As of the time of this writing, March 21, 2020, according to the JHU website above, there have been 19,624 confirmed cases of COVID-19. (Note: These numbers are being updated continually.) And the website says there have been 270 deaths in the U.S. But it shows only 147 have recovered - out of nearly 20 thousand! I sure do not understand that - what's that all about?
Concerning another common cause of death, you can look up how many shooting deaths there have been in Chicago this year - simply go to the Chicago Tribune (you must be a subscriber), or here (a sort of irreverent look at some horrific goings-on in Chicago). It is fairly easy to discover quite recently updated numbers on these deaths in Chicago or in other cities.
Now, let's look at another arena of death that is very important to me - abortion. Death by sickness is one thing. It is not deliberate or by one's choice, usually. Shooting deaths are another thing - someone is causing harm to someone else - deliberately. The same is true for abortion. This is an act of someone doing fatal harm to someone else. It is directly and completely preventable, by choice or by law.
To check the number of abortions in the country, you have to go back 3 to 4 years - to 2016. There are no statistics on abortion more up to date than 2016, for some reason. Why is that? For the past three years, doesn't the Center for Disease Control (CDC) have the information available about how many abortion deaths have happened in the U.S.??? You've got to be kidding me.
To many, the death of an unborn baby is not really a death. It is viewed as no more than a medical procedure, the removal of an unwanted appendage or growth that is a bother to the life of the baby's mother. So it is not counted as a death. It is the scrubbing of some tissue from the mother's body. It is seen as virtually inconsequential. I and many others do not see it this way at all. It is the taking of the life of a human individual, the killing of a person.
CNN documents the number of abortions as 623,471 for the year of 2016. (Same exact number noted on Wikipedia, curiously.) That is just over 1,708 baby-murders every single day for that year. That is 34 for each state, every day, all year - 2016 - total deaths over 623 thousand. (A more realistic figure is that there are around 3,000 abortions each day in the U.S., including all the various forms of killing the babies in the womb.)
So, back to the virus at hand - total deaths in three months attributed to the coronavirus in the U.S. - 270 to date. For this and the real threat of more deaths from the fast-spreading contagion, the government has virtually shut down the entire U.S. perhaps more aggressively than at any other time in history. The personal and economic ramifications of this shutdown are enormous and incalculable, from jobs to businesses to the stock market to retirement accounts and to so many different aspects of our lives. There is a mobilization of the state and federal governments like never before, to stem the potential loss of life from this pathogen. The total cost to our country for this response looks like it could be into the Trillions of dollars $$, taking possibly years to recover.
One thing I would ask is whether this is all proportionate. Is it in perspective, these safeguards being forced on us versus the risks? I know that there is a real danger to a large number of the population at this time. But I truly question the massive government response, especially in the measures of control taken and finances spent on related issues.
I certainly don't recall anything like this sort of government activity in 2017-18 when over 61,000 deaths were attributed to the flu, or in 2018-19 when over 34,000 U.S. citizens died. Already this winter, over 23,000 people have died from the flu. That is a total of at least 118,000 in less than three full years of "flu season" in our country. Yet the total number of deaths worldwide from this coronavirus totals around 12,000 so far.
Each death is sad, each person lost means a lot to their respective families - I in no way mean any disrespect to anyone by these comparisons. But this magnitude of response by our government(s) with respect to the actual numbers just doesn't make much sense to me. If the government was concerned about numbers of deaths, they would put a total restriction on abortion, the preventable death of countless thousands of babies each year.
Death is a mystery to us. What happens when we die? Our life comes to an end, whether anticipated or sudden. We quit breathing, we are gone. When I have a friend or loved one die, and especially if I go to their funeral or memorial service, I use it as a time to reflect on life, to be thankful to God for the life He has given to us.
As big a mystery as death is, the workings of government in this world we live in is perhaps even more of a mystery. It seems there are those who believe they are as powerful or more powerful than God Himself. You can see and hear this quite clearly when you hear a politician say that they are enacting or enforcing a law "in order to prevent this from happening to anyone else." We might be able to prevent some harm every now and then, but mostly we cannot. You can't prevent all accidents, all harm, all shootings, all theft, and so on. That is just balderdash! It is politico-talk, to make others and themselves feel good about how important politicians are seen, and to get them re-elected.
Jesus once said to His friend Martha,
This was just prior to Jesus speaking the words and being instrumental in raising Martha's brother Lazarus from the dead, bringing him back to life after he had died. Jesus did not raise everyone from the dead. Nor did He heal everyone. But He came to bring eternal life to all, He came to share God's love with the world. Believing in Jesus is to begin a new life in Him, connected with God by the Holy Spirit, becoming "born again" in a spiritual bond with the living God. God bless you as you seek and grow in this life.
NOTE: Here is a very interesting website concerning the flu. Results of infection with general influenza from the H1N1 ("Swine Flu") of 2008 until now. Look especially at the numbers infected, recorded into the millions, as well as the number of deaths. I do not recall such panic during any of those years.
Paul Hayden is a Christian believer, and an American patriot, necessarily in that order. He is a student of the Bible, and is avidly interested in our role in the context of history, as understood through the heart and eyes of faith. Paul has lived and traveled somewhat widely, and now lives in the heartland of the U.S. (central Illinois), with his wife Donna - they have five grown children. Since December of 2016, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief of www.ConservativeTruth.org.
"I was raised by a Christian minister, Kenneth Hayden, until his death when I was 10. Then my mom married a farmer. So I was raised in a very down-to-earth home. My faith has grown through the years, but both in conjunction with the institutional church and through small groups and individuals, including books as well as group settings, where deep, sincere faith is shared that aligns with Biblical truth."