Betty Arenson | COVID-19: A Virus by Any Other Name…

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Tensions between Americans themselves and the animosity of citizens with government officials over COVID-19 and the shutdown have notably increased since my last column on this topic two weeks ago. 

Clearly there are people who are seriously afraid of this virus and they are steadfast in that fear. Why wouldn’t they be? The media saturates us with bad news every single day and everywhere. Others who were frightened as well have emerged from deep fear are weary and now suspicious, with good reason. We’re witnessing actions by authorities that are incompatible with their own dictates. We were a compliant bunch but now a lot of us are fed up as we start to see some light with the veil being lifted. 

We’ve learned that no matter what the cause of death is, the deaths are deemed a COVID-19 death. A few weeks ago, I recall it being in New York, 4,000 deaths were amended and added to the cause of coronavirus death tally because it was likely that the people had been exposed to the coronavirus. That move was simply capricious.

Dr. Ngozi O. Ezike, the Illinois director of public health, is on video stating that all deaths will be assigned as a coronavirus death even if it is “clear” the death was from another primary source. 

In the meantime, Lori Lightfoot, mayor of Chicago, tried to defend her action of getting her hair professionally done, stating she had to be in front of the cameras. While Chicago is supposed to be shelter-in-place, videos have shown crowded partiers celebrating in close quarters and stating they will “keep partying and keep shooting.” Lightfoot has done nothing but threaten to arrest those not abiding by the rules. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has put such a tight noose around the necks of California residents that the U.S. Department of Justice has warned him he is at the edge of violating our constitutional rights. He dictated as he spent the past several days vacationing at his wife’s family’s Montana Ranch. 

We don’t know what minds collaborated to determine what businesses are essential versus non-essential but there is no common sense in declaring a pot shop essential but not a restaurant practicing upgraded sanitation and proper distancing rules, or a manicurist wearing a mask and gloves to give a manicure to another’s newly washed hands. 

Now, after all of the orders to disinfect those germy surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control announced a few days ago that the virus germs aren’t all that transmittable from surfaces. 

So what else have we been misled into believing from those “early projections”? 

The true financial impact of this COVID-19 lockdown can never be tallied and sadly those numbers continue. Recent days have shown us people are fed up and getting defiant of ill-placed, arbitrary rules and dates. People who have been basically unknown to the common public are enjoying celebrity and it seems that new psyche drives them to being irrational. If the mandates ease and go away, so does the camera time.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer is the Los Angeles County Public Health director. She is neither an elected official nor a medical doctor. Her background is “philanthropic strategist, public health director (Boston Public Health Commission) and community advocate; director of Public Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention of the Maternal and Child Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and a headmaster at a school in Boston.” (sites.usc.edu).  

Ferrer’s doctorate is in social welfare with a master of arts in public health and a bachelor of arts in community studies. She took those degrees to work for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she was a chief strategy officer who “secured federal, state and local funding for critical public health infrastructure and community-based programs.” WKKF’s focus is wholly philanthropic to aid “vulnerable children so they realize their full potential in school, work and life.” The group distributes grant money for social welfare purposes.

Newspaper columnist Susan Shelley recently wrote that Ferrer’s salary in 2018 (Transparent California) was $413,865, an additional $77,905 in “other pay” plus $61,479 in benefits; a whopping total of $553,249. British political advisor and commentator Steve Hilton reported this week that Ferrer’s present salary alone is $465,411. Yes, it can be argued that this is the $600,000-plus woman who has a background rich in community organizing but not medicine. 

Appearances are that Ferrer has been ceded total control; an opinion underlined with her recent whimsical announcement of keeping the lockdown going until August . 

Per the CDC, in the 2018-2019 influenza season in the U.S., an estimated 35.5 million people of all ages were infected with influenza (H1N1) and A(H3N2). Of that total number, 16.5 million sought medical care, 490,000 were hospitalized and 34,200 died. 

Would the coronavirus aka COVID-19 have an equal, monumental and deleterious impact if it had another name? 

Betty Arenson is a Santa Clarita resident. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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