I have three kids. One daughter has had the flu for 11 days now. The other daughter has had it since Thursday. My wife and I have both suffered from flu symptoms over the last several days. We have all been vaccinated. It sucks. With illness and snow days, I’ve only had one day at home to work alone since the 7th. But we go through this basically every winter. Kids go to school, they contract an illness, they bring it home, and everyone else in the house gets it, some worse than others.
The last thing I want to think about now is the Coronavirus, but it’s coming. Its spread is dominating headlines, hurting the stock market, and resulting in some deaths. Now, Rush Limbaugh has decided to politicize it, because why the hell not?
From the Post:
“It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump,” Limbaugh said during his Monday show. “Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus. … Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”
In a roughly 10-minute segment, Limbaugh criticized the media for overhyping the virus in “an effort to get Trump,” repeated a debunked fringe theory linking the outbreak to Chinese biological weapons research and found time to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Social media, expectedly, attacked him, calling his statements reckless, as the cycle of “outrageous statement” followed by “feigned shock” on social media repeats itself again. Obviously, the only person here “weaponizing” the Coronavirus is Rush Limbaugh, who is trying to blame liberals for a “potential pandemic” in order to insulate Donald Trump, who is horrifyingly ill-prepared for a pandemic.
Trump shut down the NSC's entire global health security unit, eliminated the NSC and DHS's epidemic teams, gutted the global health section of the CDC, and proposed huge cuts to both the CDC and the National Institutes of Health as recently as two weeks ago https://t.co/hwlBErzc2T— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 25, 2020
But Limbaugh’s not that wrong about the Coronavirus being like the common cold, but he leaves out the part about that being part of the reason why it’s so dangerous. Part of the reason it is spreading in a way that may be impossible to contain is because it’s like the flu in my house, in that it affects everyone differently. When the symptoms are like the common cold, they don’t quarantine themselves, so it spreads to more people. And no, it doesn’t kill that many people. Like the flu, those most likely to die are very old people, very young people, and very sick people. According to experts that The Atlantic spoke to, we’re probably all going to end up getting it. In fact, cold and flu season will ultimately morph into “cold and flu and Coronavirus season.”
Lipsitch predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, around 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.)
Lipsitch is far from alone in his belief that this virus will continue to spread widely. The emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the most likely outcome of this outbreak is a new seasonal disease—a fifth “endemic” coronavirus. With the other four, people are not known to develop long-lasting immunity. If this one follows suit, and if the disease continues to be as severe as it is now, “cold and flu season” could become “cold and flu and COVID-19 season.”
That’s glum as hell, and — as someone who has had a kid home every day except one over the last 18 days — I’m not looking forward to one more f**king disease to contend with every goddamn winter. But I’m not going to weaponize my family’s illness against Trump. I’m only going to blame him to the extent that his cuts to the CDC and the NHS thwarted efforts to prevent the spread of the virus before we end up in the situation that many experts predict.
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