If you want to see who missed the boat on the coronavirus, don’t look at me. Look at everyone. Especially the experts. First, let’s talk about those who told us to go about our daily lives, and not to panic. They were wrong, but, with good intentions. They thought it was for our own good, to lie to us. They knew this virus was bad news, but doctors are trained in giving bad news, so the bad doesn’t create more bad. Being in panic mode makes you less likely to focus on important information. To use a clumsy analogy, America is the patient, and the experts had to give bad news to America, without freaking it out. The diagnosis: You’re gonna get sick. And part of you isn’t gonna make it. Hopefully, you will lose no more than a toe. But it could be more. Initially, this was a highly contagious, deadly disease with no therapeutics in sight. No vaccine. no drugs – and what’s just as bad: no real information to soothe our itching curiosity. China wasn’t forthcoming. To use another clumsy analogy … China and its Wuhan virus are like the guy at a bar who keeps saying that pulsing thing on his lip isn’t a sore. So experts had bad news for “Patient America.” And they relied on their experience as deliverers of bad news. When you give it, you have to deliver it in a way that reduces the panic. Panic leads to fear, which leads to hopelessness, hoarding, then savagery. This is why the medical experts did not level with us on a few things. In the back of their minds, they saw us as dumb animals – incapable of facing a pandemic head on. To buy everyone time – so hopefully, we might become psychologically ready – they said a few things that were false.
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