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Cindy Lange-Kubick: COVID-19 'affects virtually nobody'; spread the word
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Cindy Lange-Kubick: COVID-19 'affects virtually nobody'; spread the word

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Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

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.”

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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

Reach the writer at 402-473-7218 or clangekubick@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @TheRealCLK

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Columnist

Cindy Lange-Kubick has loved writing columns about life in her hometown since 1994. She had hoped to become a people person by now, nonetheless she would love to hear your tales of fascinating neighbors and interesting places.

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