Good news on the pandemic front.
Incredible news, actually. COVID-19, the virus we’ve been hearing so much about? It affects hardly any of us.
I know this because President Trump said so at an Ohio rally Monday night, as he updated the crowd on the illness that has killed 200,275 Americans who are not us.
Mostly elderly, he said. Elderly with heart problems and maybe other problems.
“That’s it,” he said.
The rest of us, especially the young, we’re A-OK, apparently. Good to go.
“It affects virtually nobody,” he said. “It’s an amazing thing.”
Here's another amazing thing. The same day I heard that good news, I saw a series of posts on Facebook from Lincoln friends mourning a former classmate who died of COVID-19, a father in his 40s.
I also saw that 15,171 people under the age of 54 had died of COVID-19 this year. And another 23,134 people died of COVID-19 who hadn’t yet reached retirement age and another 39,129 people died of COVID-19 who fit right into the demographic box President Trump finds himself in.
Someone should get word to the White House.
More than six months into the pandemic, we’re farther apart on just how bad it is — and what to do about it — than we were when we watched the news from Wuhan.
I understand the skeptics. I remember when mercury was going to take us all down. Drop a thermometer? TOUCH THOSE SILVER BALLS AND YOU DIE.
Now they practically insist you use a glass thermometer as a swizzle stick in a martini, break it inside and drink it.
“Mercury is not absorbed through intact skin or from a healthy digestive tract in amounts that would cause toxic effects,” say the poison control experts.
Still, it seems better to give that slick silver liquid a wide berth and stick with that little infrared thermometer that targets the pineal gland.
But this schism seems different.
Truth: the evolution of Pandemic Preparedness Advice has been head-spinning. (What’s “evidence” anyway? What are “facts?” Nobody knows.)
And maybe what we’ve settled on today will go the way of the masks-are-hogwash advice of March tomorrow.
But I doubt it.
Scientists — those people with Ph.D.s and years of study — are still learning how the virus works and spreads, but they're getting a much better handle on how to mitigate it. (They call it research.)
And yet, some of us don’t care to listen.
There is a surprising smugness in people who downplay the pandemic. An US (the young, the healthy) vs. THEM (the old, the poor, those people of color working in meatpacking plants) mentality.
I understand where that comes from, a psychological self-protective mechanism that allows us to believe we are magically immune from harm. That the worst couldn’t possibly happen to us.
The virus? It will disappear come summer.
It’s no worse than the flu.
They’re cooking the numbers!
Dr. Fauci is a fascist.
But there is a sadness that piles on top of those claims and the dire headlines and the rising number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in Lincoln. (Dozens on Wednesday, more than any other time since spring.)
Maybe tomorrow, the president will clarify his remarks. When he said it “affects virtually nobody,” he meant young people — not counting the 397 deaths from the virus in those under 24.
He didn’t mean just old people with heart problems and “other problems” are dying, he will say.
He meant not-so-old people with “other problems.” Like that guy next to you on the plane who could stand to lose a few pounds. Or your sister with diabetes. Or your brother-in-law with asthma.
Those people who have the nerve not to be 100% healthy.
And 200,000 people dead?
A success story, according to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who pointed out that doctors warned of up to 2 million American deaths if the country did nothing to mitigate the virus.
That much is true.
Forgive me if I’m not quite ready to throw off my mask and celebrate.
Photos: The scene in Lincoln since the pandemic began
Photos: The scene in Lincoln with much of city shut down
City Council distancing
Gameday empty Saturday
Thank you Bryan West
No fans allowed
Volleyball social distancing
Boo at the Zoo
Downtown mask art
Marching band competition
East Campus proposed budget cuts
No Football Saturday
UNL in-person class
Farmers Market influencers
Weeping Water vs. Fillmore Central/Exeter-Milligan
First day of middle school
First day of school
Pius X volleyball practice
House of Flowers delivery
City Council BLM protest
Rally and hearing
Lancaster County Super Fair
LPS board meeting
Meatpacking workers rally
Lincoln Northeast graduation
Gov. Ricketts address Legislature
Masked Archie the Mammoth
First Jury Trial in Four Months
Lincoln Community Playhouse
The Kindler Hotel
Garth Brooks Drive-In Concert
Urban Air Adventure Park
Gere Branch Library
Music on the Move
Bars Opening in Lincoln
LPS Teachers Retirement
Holmes Lake Manor Horse Visit
Lancaster County Courthouse
Church Social Distancing
Children of Smithfield
Parkview Christian Teacher Appreciation Day
Lincoln Christian 2020 Seniors
Test Nebraska site
Drive-Thru Career Fair
Center for People in Need food distribution
Masks For Truckers
Teacher and Staff Parade
Virtual City Council
Good Friday Music
Masks on a walk
Watch: A timelapse of the mural at Saro Cider
Watch: Hand sanitizer rolls off Innovation Campus assembly line
No fun here
Tower Square sign
WATCH: Celebrating a birthday with a parade
Simpsons in the windows
Drive-thru COVID-19 testing
UNL Beekeeping virtual class
Lincoln Lutheran Online Teaching
Blue for public health
Basketball without fans
Thanksgiving to go
Socially distant Santa
Christmas tree demand
Basketball fans reduced
Mike Hilgers at Legislature's First Day
Zoo Bar membership
New high school
Biking in snow
Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @TheRealCLK