This is a letter that I sent to Gov DeWine around the middle of May of this year. It was also sent to Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman, Mike Turner, Peggy Lehner and others to include the Dayton Daily News by the United States Postal Service. There were edits of this to match the target audience. The response so far sounds quite a bit like crickets. To me this is simply another example of the unresponsive nature of our State and Federal government towards the Citizens of the United States.
Thomas J Schilling
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.
A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act, and without pangs of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority.
American Social Psychologist
Columbus is not New York City
It would be hard for me to express to you all of my concerns regarding COVID-19 and the seemingly endless factors and variables necessary to make sense of it all but yet continually muddy a clear perception of the current worldwide, national, state and local situations. Given this, I would like to focus on, as best I can, two very important topics: The media reporting of COVID-19 and the political intervention of COVID-19 and the fear and uncertainty it continues to cause.
So far, during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who have the most power, the most influence and the least to lose, are making decisions for those who have the least power, the least influence and the most to lose. We are being told that we are all in this together, that their decisions will keep us safe and that, as experts, they know what best for us. All the while, those without power, those without influence, lose more. More Money. More Jobs. More Businesses. More Freedom. More Liberty! Looking up, we hear one thing but see another. We see that the rules that apply to us from up on high, do not, necessarily apply to all, exacerbating the feelings of fear and uncertainty. Those who have power and influence need not worry as they can have the best healthcare that money can buy. They need not worry about putting food on the table, paying bills or providing for their family. They need not worry that they may lose their job, their business or their Freedom and Liberties. It seems the only thing that we are certain to gain is dependence on big government.
Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and Toledo are not New York City
Early on in this pandemic it was reasonable to be concerned about how contagious the Corona virus was and is, however, contagion is not virulence. It was and is concerning that one could be infected and shedding viruses for 5-12 days before having any symptoms which ranged from the very mild to, in some cases, deadly. Much like the Flu that we see on an annual basis. This bears itself out when you look at the CDC provisional data for COVID-19 and compare it to past Flu seasons and past Flu pandemics. Much more so when you leave out New York City and northern New Jersey as they are statistical outliers and should be treated as their own data set. This puts the information at hand in a much more realistic light.
There has been much reported on young people being terrible ill with COVID, sometimes requiring mechanical ventilation and sometimes dying from COVID or complications related to their co-morbidity, if any, and COVID. While this is sometimes the case and extremely unfortunate, it is not the rule. COVID has been tracking much like the Flu and you only need look to the CDC data for both COVID and the seasonal flu (whether it is a pandemic or not) from past years and decades to see the trend of increasing mortality with increasing age and made worse with single or multiple co-morbidity.
Ohio is not New York City
...and here is why… If we accept that various human physical factors, factors such as: age, physical fitness, co-morbidity, etc, are generally consistent within any population, then why is New York City and northern New Jersey so different? I’m sure that New York City’s and Northern New Jersey’s population densities and dependence on subways, buses and cabs are not lost on you. Here are some population density data (per square mile) from the 2010 U.S. Census:
New York City 27,012 Columbus 3,625
New York's population density is greater than all 5 of these Ohio cities. The next nearest city to New York is San Francisco at 17,179 people per square mile. The CDC provisional data, updated 25 July 2020, shows that the entire state of California has had 7,581 COVID deaths while NYC has had 20,483 COVID deaths and Ohio has had 2,769! A persons geographic location has an automatic degree of more or less (unintended) social distancing built in, that requires no government intervention and which bring these numbers into sharper focus. This truly being the case, why are we using one size fits all strategies that were focused on New York in any part of Ohio, let alone other states with similar population densities as Ohio. It was, or should have been, glaringly obvious that this was the case and that much of the United States within the mountain ranges were and are at much less risk. The risk is certainly not zero and it’s easy to be an arm chair quarterback, but the point is not to point fingers and be a problem finder, but rather to do our own risk assessment by county and open up Ohio and be a leader in this for others to follow.
The United States is not New York City
We only need look to the past for the answers to our questions today. The pandemic of 1957-1958 (H2N2 virus) killed an estimated 1.1 million people worldwide and an estimated 116,000 in the United States, the pandemic of 1968 (H3N2 virus) killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide and an estimated 100,000 in the United States. Unsurprisingly, and like the novel Corona virus today, most excess deaths occur in people over 60 years of age and with or without co-morbidity. For the reporting period of 1 Feb 20 to 25 July 20, per the provisional CDC data (cause of death from physician signed death certificates) there have been 134,245 Covid19 deaths. If we subtract NYC, NY and NJ, this number drops to 88,667 Covid19 deaths. It is also interesting to note that during this same reporting period, that there have been 142,710 Pneumonia deaths nationwide. The Covid19 death count at its peak week ending 18 April for age groups 0 to greater than 85 was 16,957. Contrast this with the Covid19 death count week ending 18 July for age groups 0 to greater than 85 was 690 people. Since they no longer have bodies piling up to scare us with, they now use cases. Not long ago, CNN reported that there were 50,000 new cases of Coronavirus in Texas and that we have recently passed 3 million when only one month prior to this it was 2 million. During the 2017-2018 flu season, there were 45 million cases! (from CDC data) We also need to consider how many people who died were mis-coded as Covid19. This is a number we may never really know.
What is extremely troubling today is the lengths that the media, experts, politicians and others are fanning the flames of fear and uncertainty. The examples of this are more than abundant. There is a considerable amount of deleterious collateral damage due to this to include: increased domestic violence, suicide, crime, police state like snitching, abuse of power in local, state and national leaders. Theodore Roosevelt was clear when he said that one of the things that would destroy American is “Safety First rather than Duty First!”
The Corona virus deaths in New York is a function of many factors, the population density being a major factor. Other factors reported is that their state, city and hospital disaster preparedness plans were lacking or insufficiently up to date to handle this current crisis. Every hospital in this nation is required to have disaster preparedness plans in place so as to not be overwhelmed if a mass casualty scenario would actually take place. If this is true (as it is supposed be), why was it necessary to shut everything down when there are disaster preparedness plans in place for just this occasion!?. Regardless, this has made for sensational headlines and an unseemly amount of finger pointing from all quarters. The focus on the national and worldwide body count needs to be offset with news of those who have survived and are doing well. People need to know that the data that YOU tell them today is preliminary data and that while the actual numbers will not be known for months, viral disease is not new, not to be feared and not to be avoided at all costs. The alternatives to our lives, our culture, our economy and our state and nation are far costlier than any disease.
In short, be brave Gov DeWine! Be Courageous! Tell all Ohioans the truth and both sides and possible outcomes of the story. The American psyche since before 1776 has been of the confident individualist, to be proactive, to accept risk and be on the offensive in the face of fear and uncertainty. To not fear things that are natural and inevitable, to not hide ourselves away when life becomes difficult, to not hope that someone else will make everything alright!
Be brave Gov DeWine! Be Courageous!
Only those who swim against the current know the strength of it!
Thomas J Schilling, BS, RRT, RCP.
Also see: Milgram's Experiment on Obedience to Authority, and, Eric Hoffer's: The True Believer.