COVID Phobia Is All Around Us
The term “COVID-19 Pandemic” is tossed around by our government, health officials and media like salt over one’s shoulder, as if they believe scaring us on a daily basis that we are facing looming death and other untoward consequences unless we lock down, mask up and vaccinate is the only way we can safely ward off this “deadly” virus. In doing so, they have created a new medical condition I will refer to as “COVID Phobia.” A phobia is commonly defined as an exaggerated fear of something. The fear itself may not be wholly irrational. It is the level of fear and the lengths to which one will go to protect oneself that warrant the label “phobia.” Make no mistake, “COVID Phobia” is all around us.
I agree with former County Chairman Jeff Phillips: The Guilford County mask mandate is sheer lunacy. Unfortunately, I do not believe anyone (to my knowledge) has fully explained why this is so. Many have argued that masks don’t work and that individual liberty is being threatened. While I strongly agree, these arguments are to some extent in the eye of the beholder. This letter attempts to appeal to rational thinking based on data from official government sources available online, not fear and emotion.
Our county commissioners, playing to widespread COVID phobia, seek to justify their latest edict by citing a purported rise in total COVID cases. And to the typical “Covidphobe,” that makes perfect sense. “Death and destruction are waiting outside my door. I must do everything possible to keep from contracting this virus. If one mask is not enough, give me two or even three masks.” But this is classic misdirection. The misdirection consists in directing our attention to the total number of confirmed cases. It is akin to asking how many people on any given day have come down with the flu, a cold, or a stomach virus. From the beginning it has been true and will remain true until the end of time, all humans get sick at various points in their lives. We are fighting a doomed battle if we believe we can eradicate COVID, any more than we can eradicate the seasonal flu and the common cold. This virus is here to stay and no amount of mask mandates, lockdowns, and vaccination will change that fact.
The number of confirmed cases, in the abstract, is wholly unhelpful for three reasons. One, it does not tell how many persons comprise the relevant test group. Two, it does not tell the acuity level of the confirmed cases. Many persons contract COVID without even knowing it, and the vast majority suffer symptoms no different (or even less severe) than the seasonal flu. Three, it draws no comparisons to other common causes of hospitalization and death. How many people are dying from COVID? How many are being hospitalized? And how do these numbers compare to other causes of death and hospitalization? The answers to these questions provide context and allow one to draw rational conclusions and make rational public policy decisions.
In Guilford County, during the last 18 months, there have been 738 deaths attributed to COVID. That is an average of 41 deaths per month in a county with a total population of 537,134 persons. So, your overall statistical chance of dying from COVID during the last 18 months was 0.14 percent. This also holds true for all of North Carolina, where there have been 14,735 COVID deaths out of a population of just under 10 million (0.14 percent). Most importantly, deaths continue to decline dramatically. In Guilford County, there were 11 deaths attributed to COVID in July and 7 deaths attributed to COVID in the first 14 days of August. By way of comparison, there were 133 deaths attributed to COVID in February alone.
If you are still not convinced that COVID is not the biggest threat of the century, let’s consider some additional context. During the last 18 months, a total of 139,546 persons died in North Carolina for any number of reasons, of which COVID was but one. So, the overall chance that a random North Carolinian would have died from any cause during that 18-month period was roughly 1.4 percent, and if that random person had died, there is an 89.4 percent chance it would have been for some reason other than COVID. Of course, we are not random persons, and COVID is not an equal opportunity virus. It is well accepted that the risk of death or hospitalization due to COVID rises with age. It also rises based on one’s general health, obesity being the predominant comorbidity. Because there is no manner in which one can account for individual health, I will focus on age. Based on reported data for the state of North Carolina, the chances of dying from COVID over the last 18 months was 0.003 percent for 18 to 29-year-olds, 0.01 percent for 30 to 39-year-olds, 0.03 percent for 40 to 49-year-olds, and 0.12 percent for 50 to 64-year-olds. Even 65 to 74-year-olds had only a 0.5 percent chance of dying from COVID. The vast majority of deaths have been of persons 75 years of age up (1.12 percent chance) and 85 years up (3.38 percent). And I won’t even mention the risk that your school-age child will die from COVID. The risk is so low my calculator doesn’t have enough zeros to do the math.
The fact of the matter is that our risk, regardless of age, of dying from COVID is minuscule compared to our risk of dying from other causes such as cancer, stroke, heart attack, pneumonia, drug overdose, car accident, suicide, or even murder. Based on state-wide data, if you had died during the last 18 months, the chance that it would be for some reason other than COVID is 98.6 percent for 18 to 29-year-olds, 96.4 percent for 30 to 39-year-olds, 93.2 percent for 40 to 49-year-olds, 91.0 percent for 50 to 64-year-olds, 88.1 percent for 65 to 75-year-olds, and 88.2 percent for 85-year-olds and up. Rather than frightening ourselves needlessly over COVID, I believe we would be better served to focus on reducing our risks of dying from these other causes, which are far more likely to kill us than COVID.
I have talked about the risk of death. But what about hospitalizations? These numbers are similarly extremely low. In Guilford County, there have been a total of 1,294 hospitalizations attributed to COVID. Thus, the statistical chance of a random person being hospitalized over the last 18 months due to COVID was only 0.24 percent. Currently, in the Cone Health system, there are 92 persons hospitalized due to COVID. On January 13, there were 264 persons hospitalized due to COVID. The ICU capacity is currently only at 71 percent and most rooms are filled by non-COVID patients. Although there has been a slight uptick in COVID hospitalizations in August, the numbers are still way below the numbers from December 2020 through March 2021. Thus, the average daily hospitalizations exceeded 150 in December, 250 in January, 200 in February, and 100 in March. Current hospitalizations are equivalent to the numbers in April and May. The current number of hospitalizations represents an “increase” only because the average declined significantly in June and July to below 50 each month (even though there were no mask mandates in place.)
We are being bombarded with a propaganda campaign designed to instill mass fear, and we are becoming a nation of Covidphobes. Wearing masks exacerbates this mentality of fear, not to mention fills your lungs with carbon dioxide. Eat right, exercise regularly, get out in the sun and breath fresh air, and enjoy some social contact and interaction face to face with family and friends. Assess your personal risk, and take the precautions you believe are appropriate. But don’t impose on yourself or others irrational fears and excessive precautions. It seems to me that would be a much better recipe for good health than compelling us to wear masks everywhere we go. I, for one, will not be masking up or living in fear.
Understand that our collective silence merely enables politicians who are either manipulative or clueless. In the words of Paul Simon: “Fools, said I, you do not know. Silence like a cancer grows.”
Shut up and wear a mask. No one is asking us to shut down. Just wear a mask and some basic social distancing until we get more of the population vaccinated. Yes, things are currently in good shape in Guilford county. Good. Let’s keep it that way and take the basic steps to keep us from becoming like FL, TX, AK etc…. I so want to my kids to stay in in-person school, get in restaurants, have a quick drink in a bar etc…
So just shut up and wear a mask. Before you analysis starts heading in the wrong direction. Success is making the precautions look like a waste of time.
Shut up and mind your own business!
No. You shut up loser. I’m not wearing a face mask, a yellow star, or a burka!!!!
Hide alll you want. Stop telling me what to do with my body stop treating me abd my kids like the Taliban treats women.
It’s not “just a mask” and you don’t get to control my body.
Your TDS has turned into Covid Phobia
Such wesk little sheep in Guilford county.
If masks are so important, Chris, why is it cool to take them off in a restaurant? You think the germs take a break while you eat? Where is the logic in wearing it from the door to your table and then not wearing it at all while you eat, drink, talk, laugh, cough at your table. Talk about a nutter! “My germs only spread while I walk! Luckily my crappy cotton mask is impregnable.” Insane, just like the entire mask mandate plan.
Here’s another thought, kind of piggy backing on Charles’ comments. Heart disease is the number one killer in the USA and it is almost entirely preventable. We scream and cry over a moderate number of germ deaths but shrug our shoulders at the nation’s number one killer? Insanity yet again. Why not simply “mandate” a healthy diet and exercise? Why not outlaw all junk food? Why not “mandate” a 100% ban on smoking which contributes to most of the top causes of death in America: Heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and cancer? If mandates are so great and preventing death is the main motivator for them, why are we not “mandating” our way to a healthier America there Chris?
Oh I know why. Because this is entirely a political stunt that is about as logical as thinking that its OK to unmask because I’m sitting and eating. Let me get this straight. You want to mandate masks so that you can go out to a bar and UNMASK so you can DRINK? Insanity. But please, help me understand, Chris.
Yes, heart disease is preventable BUT, your nutter behavior CAN’T increase chances of others getting heart disease! Take your strawman argument elsewhere.
Study after study show that masks work. (most recently the study done by Duke University showing how masks DO work in the classroom). Sure, if you don’t wash your cloth mask or replace your medical grade mask at least once daily, they can build up bacteria. But not enough bacteria to kill you or even make you very sick. Again, the studies are clear on this topic.
But as always don’t listen to nutters like Charles and Myself argue in a comment section online. Ask your personal doctor what is best for you. I dare you to try your false arguments with him or her!
The false argument is that it’s OK to unmask at a restaurant. If it’s truly an emergency, treat it like an emergency. Masks and shut downs 24/7 or not at all. If the bubonic plague was rolling around, would you be at a bar chugging down beers without your mask? Heck, would even be out in the world WITH a mask, if the Plague was airborne in your local area?
“Hey, I know the Plague is out there, but this beer is surely delicious. Good thing I’m safe sitting at my table after that dangerous walk from the door.”
I don’t think so. Sham.
As to your other point, isn’t preventing death the overall goal here? Who cares how death occurs, right? If we can eliminate the NUMBER ONE cause of death in the USA, why not install some good old mandates to make that happen? How hard is it to ban smoking all together, Chris? Second hand smoke kills too by the way. Saving us idiots is no more than one more mandate away.
And actually, bad habits are transmittable to others. Just look at your nearest fat parent teaching their child to eat the same way. Check out the odds of a smoking parent having a smoking child on the interwebs or, like you say, ask your local doctor. Bad habits are clearly and measurably transmittable through learned behavior, usually from parent to child. Obesity, drug use, and smoking are transmittable whether you want to admit it or not. It just takes linger for the “symptoms” to manifest. Yeah, junior isn’t going to be smoking right away, but by the time he’s in his teens, you bet he is more likely than not to have picked up the habit from good old mom and dad.
And get a vaccine if you haven’t.
Spaghetti monster, the people with these letters and the supportive comments are scary. At least there will be less of them to vote next time.
The truth shall set you free.
VERY, VERY WELL SAID!!!
Outstanding facts, Charles! Unfortunately, facts don’t matter to the sheep, only feelings, and the propaganda arm of the left, the mainstream media, know exactly how to play to their base’s feelings.
Even without facts, common sense should kick in and raise numerous red flags with people. From the very beginning of this whole thing, it smelled to high heaven. As soon as they started scaring people with the 24 hour news cycle, Congress immediately started talking about mail in voting. Then, Bill “depopulation through vaccination” Gates had to speak up and get his two cents in. There were so many conflicting messages from Fauci who knew what to believe? “Don’t wear a mask”, “OK, wear a mask”, “OK, now wear two masks”, etc.
We got to watch Roy Cooper and Nancy Vaughn lord over with their ridiculous mandates, and now Skip wants a piece of the action. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO MORE!!
No to masks.
No to lockdowns.
and a big fat NO to the untested, unapproved experimental mRNA vaccines with their crazy side effects. I’d rather be injected with Covid than with whatever is in those vials.
Wake up, people!
There are many harmful effects of wearing a mask. Guilford County’s mask mandate will cause real harm, especially to children. But it will do virtually NOTHING to prevent the spread of COVID. It is, therefore, an immoral and unethical mandate. I hope the lawsuits will now begin. I want to chip in.
A brilliant rational voice of reason! Thank you!
Thank you!!!! I will add there are significant harms in masking and locking down – a suppressed immune system, less ability to bond with others, social isolation, and negative impacts on the expected IQ of our youngest citizens to name a few proven harms.
Skip Alston won’t be around to return taxpayer money he’s been hanging onto all these years in order to support the kids we are permanently harming and forcing into government dependency as adults.
If you don’t have plans to leave Guilford County in the next 10 years, that cost will fall to you (and don’t count on woke parents with means contributing to this to allow their children to stay and bear the burden – they aren’t following the rules themselves and they never pay for the harms they cause.
I’ve never heard someone with so little faith before. Maybe you should explore that.
Oh Ms Kennedy is ‘doing’ “demacrate nepotism” now. “We all citizens” certainly know how that musical chairs plays.
Goodness gracious, where oh where will the ‘replacement’ come from, when will it happen, why bother.
What is wrong with this person. It is because of thinking like this that the world is spinning out of control with bomb threats , violence against st police snd lawmakers, spreading hate.
He needs Jesus.
REALLY? What is wrong with you guy?