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Feehery: Fear itself is more dangerous than COVID-19

truck driver wears a mask during coronavirus pandemic

It turns out that fear itself is a very powerful enemy.

It drives people to wear masks as they drive in their own cars.

It keeps teenagers in basements, content to play video games rather than play catch with their father.

It forces pedestrians to fearfully walk in the streets rather than share a sidewalk with a fellow walker.

And it destroys a once humming economy that is now approaching the performance levels of the 1930’s.

Fear itself is doing this to our society and to our compatriots across the globe. Sure, COVID-19 is a bastard of a disease and our medical establishment is at a loss to how to effectively treat the worst cases, but this isn’t the world’s first nasty virus.

The most mundane advice seems to be the best. Wash your hands.

But that’s not enough to conquer the fear that has suffused the global political establishment.

And there is concerted effort by policymakers and by the media to stoke the fear rather than put COVID-19 into some sort of context.

There are 7.8 billion people who live on this planet earth of ours. If you die from this, you are one of the unlucky .00002657243’s ones. That’s problematic if you are one of those unlucky ones, but our global village faces far bigger problems from the fear of COVID-19 than from the virus itself.

It turns out that putting the global economy purposefully into a coma is a really bad decision.

Indeed, there is already plenty of evidence that the wheels of fortune itself will inevitably turn towards more chaos created by fear itself.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, which hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory during this debacle, there are about 23,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in the United States, which is not a full accounting but nonetheless a useful measuring stick of how prevalent this virus is.

Of those deaths on the CDC website, 24 people who have died are under the age of 24, out of a population of around 91 million in the U.S. who are under 24. There are have been 7,200 hundred deaths of all causes in that population in total. If you are under 24, you have a .00000026 chance to die of COVID-19. If you end up dying in this age range, the chances that you die of COVID-19 are .003333. Of all COVID-19 deaths, .001 are under that age of 24.

From the ages of 25 to 44, about 654 people have lost their lives to COVID-19, out of a population of 88 million people. About 29,000 people have in total died from all causes in that population. If you are in this age range, you have a .00000743 chance to die of COVID-19. If you did die in that population, you have a .02255 percent chance of dying from COVID-19. Of all COVID deaths, .027 are in this age range.

On the other hand, over the age of 65, close to 19,000 people have lost their lives to COVID-19, out of a total population of 51 million. In the meantime, about 500,000 folks in that age bracket have died of all causes this year. Even if you are over the age of 65, your chances of dying of COVID are .00037255. If you die in this age range, your chances of dying of .038 from COVID. Of all COVID deaths, 81 percent are in this age bracket.

To sum up, if you are under the age of 45, statistically speaking, you basically have no chance to dying from COVID-19. If you are over the age of 65, you have a far better chance of dying from COVID-19, but then again, you have a far better chance of dying from everything.

We can only conquer fear itself by looking at entire story of the coronavirus.

Yes, it’s a nasty little virus that deserves our respect. Sure, let’s take some precautions, like washing your hands.

But let’s put this in perspective. And let’s stop scaring our fellow citizens. Fear itself is far more dangerous and far more debilitating than COVID-19.

Feehery is a partner at EFB Advocacy and blogs at He served as spokesman to former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), as communications director to former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) when he was majority whip and as a speechwriter to former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.).

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Dennis Hastert

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