Editorial: March 20

CBJ March 2020

COVID-19 – or Coronavirus – is without a doubt an extremely serious medical concern on a global scale. I would never want to undercut the magnitude and scope of its impact. However, it seems as if the balance of dutiful media reporting vs. fearmongering has gone way too far in some instances. Yes, it is serious and people have died – and more will die. But no, it’s not going to spell the end of civilization, nor should it be crippling economies, and especially not at such an early stage.

Since the outbreak was first made public on January 22 and up to March 4, COVID-19 had about 98,000 confirmed human infections in 80 countries. Of that total, 3,353 died, another 54,124 recovered with the other 40,459 listed as active cases. Of those, 33,980 had mild symptoms and were expected to fully recover, while 6,479 were considered to be more serious and requiring closer medical attention.

To put things into perspective: Did you know that about 29,000 people die in China each day (yes, each day) of old age, illness, disease, accident or suicide? Also rarely mentioned is that the people who have succumbed to COVID19 were very elderly and/or frail or in the cases of those who were younger they already had serious preexisting underlying health issues, prior to contracting the virus. Healthy people with strong immune systems will suffer the effects of a nasty flu bug – typically be ill for about 10 to 14 days and then fully recover. This aspect is far too understated and because of that, widespread economic panic has caused stock market meltdowns, interest rate cuts and talk of future workweeks where most all companies will have employees plying their trade from home, creating veritable ghost towns in major business districts. I am confident in saying that is not going to happen. In 2003, SARS was going to spell the end. Two years later it was Bird flu; then Ebola was going to forever change the world. The list goes on. Again, we all need to take precautions because nobody wants to be sick. But a higher level of rational, common sense would do wonders right about now.

Biden & Bernie. The U.S. Democratic leadership race quickly became a two-person race between 77-year-old former VP Joe Biden and 78-year-old Bernie Sanders after Super Tuesday wiped out the remaining field, including Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren. Barring any unforeseen episodes that may cause an unexpected derailment, it says here Biden will be the one who’s left standing to battle Donald Trump for the keys to the White House in the November presidential election.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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