This article was updated on May 17 and May 21, 2020 as more data was discovered.
We now live in a world based on charts and studies that record the deadliness of COVID-19, so I will keep trying to point out how unreliable these charts and data are.
In the chart on this page, the number of deaths from all causes in April in the U.S. is approaching a concerning number. If a week surpasses 65,000 deaths from all causes, we can fairly say that week was worse than any in the 2017-18 flu season--which was the worst flu season in recent memory.
But consider these other factors that could result in an increase in the number of deaths from all causes:
1. The state of the economy: The lockdown has caused many people to lose their jobs, fall into depression, and likely resort to drugs. This is bound to increase the number of suicides, drug overdoses, and even starvation or malnourishment. We already know deaths from these causes increase when unemployment rises.
2. Delayed treatment: Urgently needed care is being postponed for cancer victims, and many other people in need of medical care, in order to prioritize COVID-19 patients. Hospitals are even turning away those infected with COVID-19. Imagine how many people are being turned away with another condition. In many of these cases, not getting treatment can be a matter of life or death.
3. An aging population: The baby-boomers are the largest generation on earth and they are getting older every year. It's very possible that we will see a slight increase in deaths from all causes each year as the baby boomers sadly fade away.
4. A bad season for flu and pneumonia. There were reportedly 65,000 deaths from the flu in 2017-18. If COVID-19 coincided with a bad flu season, the new virus could look worse than it is. I do suspect some deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia have been called COVID-19 deaths--since doctors have permission from the CDC to presume a death was from COVID-19 from symptoms and close contact with someone who had it. Nonetheless, those deceased who had come in close contact with a COVID-19 victim may have died from the flu or pneumonia.
5. Malpractice in the treatment of COVID-19 and patients assumed to have COVID-19: For quite some time in the beginning, hospitals thought ventilators were the best way to cure a COVID-19 patients of the disease, no matter how severe or mild their case was. As a result, it is likely that many people who had mild cases of COVID-19 died due to too much oxygen. Also, many people have entered hospitals with upper-respiratory issues in recent months, and doctors just assumed those patients had COVID-19 without even testing them. These patients are often given beds on the same floor as those who tested positive for COVID-19. So if the patients didn't have the disease, they eventually caught it in the hospital. Since those who go to the hospital often already have compromised immune systems, this could be deadly. Furthermore, those who do have COVID-19 are isolated from family members who know their condition well and can help direct doctors, and even from nurses who are told to keep their distance from COVID-19 patients. Also, many nursing homes took in COVID-19 patients, causing outbreaks in the locales that house people who are most vulnerable to the disease, the elderly with pre-existing conditions. These three factors are big enough to be considered their own in contributing to an increased death toll, but I mention them all under one factor because they are all the result of poor reaction to the treatment of the disease itself.
I suspect all five of these factors will contribute to the increased death toll a little bit. I also believe COVID-19 will contribute to an increase in deaths. I am not denying the virus exists. Therefore, when considering those six factors, it is understandable that we are seeing more deaths in the U.S. than usual. I just think, if it were COVID-19 alone, the increase in deaths would be much lower. And if we had a level-headed reaction to the virus, many excess deaths could have been avoided.
These aren't the only realities I'd like to bring into light. There are also factors that may be skewing and increasing the COVID-19 death toll:
1. Deaths with COVID-19, but not from COVID-19. Someone with COVID-19 and another pre-existing condition could have died of the pre-existing condition.
2. Deaths presumed to be COVID-19 without the victim testing positive.
3. Deaths from another coronavirus with symptoms similar to COVID-19.
4. Deaths from a compromised immune system that would have failed regardless of what illness came next, and the next illness just happened to be COVID-19.
There are many reasons why the state of the world concerns me, but no reason is greater than our freedom, the God-given right through which all other rights are possible. Without freedom, our dignity can be disregarded, manipulated, and abused. Loss of freedom concerns me, for one, because we have been living under the impression that we live in a free world and tout this belief all of the time, at least here in the U.S. Then when a new virus spooks us we willingly give up our freedom. We willingly accept the draconian expectations of powerful leaders and companies who became what they are thanks to freedom, a free market, and democracy. The great entrepreneurs who benefited from our free market, and built massive empires with their technology--like Google and Facebook--are now using their influence on society to control people. How hypocritical.
We are told we can't physically gather as a holy assembly. The word I would like to contend with is "can't". We actually can gather physically. We're just being told not to. This distinction is so important because if we're saying we "can't", that points to where our allegiance lies. Is our allegiance to the authorities who are abandoning concern for freedom and the law of God for the sake of "public health"? Or is our allegiance to freedom itself and God himself?
Patrick Henry said "Give me liberty or give me death." Benjamin Franklin said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." What is going on here? When will America and the world wake up? Thank God for those who have the courage to organize protests.
We've been watching so many dystopian movies and shows that when something happens in the real world that just slightly hints at being similar to those shows and movies, we cower in our homes, saying, "Well, I guess this is the end we were told about."
Maybe it was our media-saturated culture that set the stage for all this. I don't exclude myself when I say we all love to stay home all day, play video games, and watch our favorite shows and movies. Maybe we're just using this virus as a lame excuse to do what we've really wanted to do the whole time, lock ourselves up and live in our imaginary worlds while the real world rots away.
Coincidentally, fresh air and sunshine are proven combatants against this virus. Doctors have noticed that it only lasts maybe two minutes when exposed to sun rays. Who would have thought? Here's what I think is a more likely solution to this new virus: Live life as normal and protect the vulnerable. It's time to face the facts and get back to normal life.