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Thursday, December 24, 2020

On the Wuhan Virus: Geraldo Rivera vs. the Truth

I’m not here to pick on the 77-year-old Rivera. After his recent (12/18) interview with Brian Kilmeade on Kilmeade’s radio show, it’s clear that Rivera is quite scared of the Wuhan virus. However, Mr. Rivera’s fear epitomizes the attitude of so many Americans, and like millions of others living in fear, it has led him to many false conclusions on the Wuhan virus. I thought it important to address the false conclusions that he presented on Mr. Kilmeade’s show, point by point.

Rivera began by talking about how closely he monitors the Wuhan virus death count. Of course, lockdown apologists in the media and the like have daily repeated Wuhan virus death numbers across the U.S. for months now. However, it’s been clear for some time that Wuhan virus death counts have been wildly misleading.

Since near the beginning of our encounter with the Wuhan virus, multiple media outlets—including American Thinker—have reported numerous problems with Wuhan virus death counts across the U.S., as well as overall death totals in the U.S. With everything from gunshot wounds to seizures being counted as Wuhan virus deaths, it has long been clear that we’ve had a problem—intentional, it seems in many cases—distinguishing those who’ve died from the Wuhan virus with those who’ve died with the Wuhan virus.

Rivera then ominously explained to Kilmeade that, “There’s zero capacity available in the ICUs in Southern California.” A reduction in the availability of hospital beds has been a hot topic across the U.S. lately. However, as I noted recently, the volume of patients in U.S. hospitals is not very unusual and is not largely due to an increase in Wuhan virus patients.

My community in northeast Georgia—where shutdown hysteria is not as bad as elsewhere, but nevertheless still exists—provides another excellent example of this. Daily data from Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) on Northeast Georgia Medical Center hospitals shows that, although there’s an increase in Wuhan virus “cases” or “COVID-19 Positives,” as the image below illustrates, the rate of occupied beds has remained relatively constant for months now.

In other words, most hospitals are more crowded now simply because they have ended their foolish practice of excluding non-Wuhan virus patients. Additionally, there’s an “increase” in hospitalized Wuhan virus “cases” because virtually everyone who gets admitted—for whatever reason—is tested for the virus.  

Rivera next went on to defend the forced lockdowns and the shuttering of countless businesses by saying that the government should “pay them.” Rivera exclaimed, “The government’s got to pay them!” This is the same government that is now more than $27 trillion in debt! And it’s the same government that didn’t widely shut down during the 1957 Asian flu pandemic. Further, Rivera ignores the data that says the lockdowns have done little to nothing to halt or even slow the spread of the Wuhan virus.

As Kilmeade pressed him on the lockdowns and the widespread damage being done as a result, Rivera amazingly declared, “I don’t know whether or not what they’re trying to do [with the lockdowns, etc.] will have any impact…” Again, the lockdowns are not having a positive impact on controlling the Wuhan virus, but they are having a devastating impact on small businesses, churches, school children, families, and the like.

Rivera then tried the foolish “if it saves one life” argument. He told Kilmeade, “[I]f you save a couple of lives shutting down schools, by next June, July, no one’s going to remember. It’ll be over and maybe a couple of people will be alive as a result of some of these clumsy efforts, Brian.” Trust me, Geraldo, people are going to remember these unjust, immoral forced lockdowns—for a long time!

What’s more, the left never resorts to the “if it saves one life” tripe when it comes to drug policy, homosexuality, illegal immigration, life in the womb, and so on. In fact, when it comes to driving a car, flying in an airplane, participating in sports, smoking a cigar, or just getting out of the bed in the morning, most of us daily assume and accept a certain amount of risk in our lives. We could avoid a lot of danger by “sheltering in place” indefinitely, but most of us have concluded that we just don’t want to live our lives in such a way. That includes my 76-year-old father—who continues to go about all of his normal activities and virtually never even puts on a mask—and my 71-year-old mother (who is only slightly more cautious than my father).

As Kilmeade continued to slam shutdowns across the U.S., Sweden—famous for eschewing masks and not locking down—was the next target of Rivera. “I don’t think Sweden is working out,” said Rivera. This depends on one’s definition of “working out.” Sweden’s death rate is better than that in the U.S., U.K., Spain, France, and several other nations who enacted much stricter lockdown measures. What’s more, Sweden’s citizenry and economy have fared much better than others in the developed world.

As Wuhan virus cases rise in Sweden, some—like Rivera—are saying that their voluntary approach to combating the virus has failed. Kevin Roche (from Minnesota) at HealthySkeptic.com sets the record straight,

First, Minnesota’s deaths per million are at 665. Sweden is at 692. So let’s don’t pretend that they are doing much worse than we are.  They are doing much better by that measure than almost every US state and the US as a whole…Sweden has seen a renewed case wave, as has most of Europe, and that wave is stronger in less populated areas, as is tending to be in other countries and the US. The notion that Sweden’s approach has failed is absurd, they are in better shape than most European countries, just look at the numbers. And their population has endured much less stress. Their children have been able to have pretty normal lives. 

Lastly, Kilmeade pointed out how baseball and football seasons were able to happen. Rivera’s response was, “The stands are empty for a reason.” However, here in SEC country, the stands—though not full—were often far from empty. There were several games where tens of thousands were in attendance, and masks and distancing were typically an afterthought.

UGA vs. Auburn, 10/3

TX A&M vs. Florida, 10/10

Though blasted by many in the media, not one of these gatherings has been labeled a “super-spreader” event. Whether right-minded churches, malls, schools, and so on, these scenes have been repeated across many—though not enough—parts of the U.S. Again, in spite of Mr. Rivera’s fearful dialogue, the truth is that mask mandates, lockdowns, and the like have done little to nothing to halt the spread of the Wuhan virus. It’s past time to open the nation and get Americans back to church, work, school, and play.

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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