Coronavirus

Death is Inevitable So Lets Open The Economy Says Lizard-Brained Senator

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

I suppose you can be fair and acknowledge that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) is not arguing that we should immediately reopen the entire economy, but he is arguing that we should reopen the vast majority of it.

Johnson argues we should play pandemic roulette with the economy because, in his words, we're all going to die anyway, right?

In an op-ed for USA Today, Johnson wrote that death is an inevitable part of life so we should just get over it. He also appears to be arguing that pandemic statistics shouldn't be reported.

Each year, approximately 48,000 Americans commit suicide and an estimated 67,000 die of a drug overdose. That level of individual despair has occurred in a strong economy with near-record low levels of unemployment in virtually every demographic.

Imagine the potential psychological and human toll if this shutdown continues indefinitely, unemployment reaches 20% or higher, as some now predict, and we sink into a deep recession or depression. [...]

Every premature death is a tragedy, but death is an unavoidable part of life. More than 2.8 million die each year — nearly 7,700 a day. The 2017-18 flu season was exceptionally bad, with 61,000 deaths attributed to it. Can you imagine the panic if those mortality statistics were attributed to a new virus and reported nonstop?

Rather than announcing general shutdowns and drawing up lists of “essential” business that can remain open, let’s draw up lists of “nonessential” businesses that pose a risk for coronavirus spread.

An unacceptable number of American do commit suicide or overdose on drugs each year in so-called "deaths of despair" in an allegedly "strong" economy, but those numbers are relatively small compared to what could happen if we followed the advice of Ron Johnson or Donald Trump.

The difference between keeping most of the economy shut down and prematurely reopening it is the difference between 100,000 deaths and 1 million deaths. And somewhere in between those numbers is the more likely scenario that will still dwarf the number of Americans who intentionally or accidentally kill themselves each year.

Just because the seasonal flu kills an unfortunate number of people each year doesn't mean we shouldn't take steps to limit the loss of life. We encourage everyone to obtain a flu vaccine each year, after all, but there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

The psychological toll of allowing the pandemic to spread and kill a million Americans in the name of the economy would be far, far higher than the cost of keeping the economy shut down for several months. Even under our current circumstances, everyone reading this will likely know someone who contracted the virus or died from it.

Republicans appear to be widely fascinated or infatuated with death, but they're more openly accepting to the idea of other random, abstract people dying, not themselves.