Conservatives want to reopen the country because “the cure is worse than the disease.” When you’re talking about a potentially fatal illness, this is a difficult argument to understand. The fatality rate they keep throwing around is 2%, which they say is an acceptable risk to rescue the economy.
I’ve got news for them. The fatality rate in my county (Macomb County, Michigan) is 9%. Four hundred three people have died in my county out of 4,425 identified cases. The fatality rate for Wayne County (where the most cases have been identified) is 8%.
That is probably not accurate — we haven’t had access to enough testing to arrive at an accurate fatality rate. But I’m not even in the worst county in Michigan, which isn’t the worst state in the country.
That 2% rate is more comfortable to talk about, so I’ll use it for the rest of this argument.
The idea that 2% of people infected will die becomes even easier to consider if you’re sure that you won’t be one of them. If you think that you, your family and your friends are pretty much safe, it’s even easier.
The people who die will be … them, the other.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the reopen movement started after it became widely known that minorities, people of color, are much more vulnerable to the virus than white people. That gives your average conservative white person some reassurance that they are not at significant risk.
The argument that people always die, so a 2% risk of fatality is acceptable is only valid if you, personally, are OK with being one of the 2%.
Are you willing to die to save the economy? Are you willing to die to make sure Jeff Bezos doesn’t drop to second richest guy in the world? Will you fall on your sword to be sure Exxon doesn’t suffer red ink?
Here’s a thought problem to pose to anyone defending the “open up now and take the consequences” protests.
The protest in Michigan blocked access to hospitals and endangered the lives of critically ill people. So, would the protesters be OK with calling out the National Guard and having them shoot live ammunition into the crowd — as long as they agreed to stop as soon as 2% of the protesters were dead?
I didn’t think so.
It’s easy to say fatalities are a reasonable cost for saving the economy if you think that the dead people won’t be people you know or care about.
The problem with accepting casualties as the cost of doing business is the decision may be made by someone who doesn’t know you and doesn’t give a damn about you.
The counter argument is: Dead people don’t spend money. Dead people won’t revitalize the economy.
Comments are closed on this story.