The headlines are feverish. The stories beneath them imply that we’re doomed by the Wuhan coronavirus. It’s a media feast. But is it all raging overreaction?
It’s quite possible that it is.
“Don’t buy the media hype over the new China virus,” says the headline of a New York Post op-ed written last week by Michael Fumento.
“There appears to be nothing very special about this outbreak of the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan virus,” writes Fumento, a one-time colleague of the Issues & Insights editorial team. “It should actually be called the DvV, or Déjà vu Virus, because we have been through these hysterias before.”
A headline in Spectator USA on Saturday said much the same thing:
“Nasty bugs derived from Chinese livestock markets never fail to whip up mass hysteria.”
Reporter Ross Clark drew a parallel between the current frenzy and the World Health Organization’s 2005 prediction “there could be up to 50 million deaths worldwide” from the H5N1 strain of the bird flu, as well as a United Kingdom government adviser’s claim “that it could be worse than the Spanish flu of 1918.”
Meanwhile, he says, the Wuhan coronavirus “has been proving itself pretty poor at killing its host.”
In Monday’s PJ Media, science, health, and tech writer Charlie Martin said the outbreak is “(almost certainly) not the start of a worldwide pandemic that will kill hundreds of millions or billions of people. It’s not as deadly as SARS or MERS were.” He reminds us that “we in the U.S. had no Ebola epidemic in 2014. We did have an epidemic of Ebola panic, and the Ebola panic — like a lot of false news stories — had lasting effects.”
Fumento, an investigative journalist who has debunked several other cooked-up crises, looked at the numbers and compared the coronavirus to “the regular flu death rate.” The numbers: “8.5% to 17%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — considerably higher than for Wuhan.”
Of course the death rate “will be a lot worse in China,” he adds, “simply because health care there is vastly inferior.”
“It appears that, like flu, Wuhan usually kills through often treatable secondary infections. Well, treatable in the West. You’d be surprised at how many potentially deadly diseases (malaria, TB) Americans get that wreak havoc in much of the world but kill essentially none of us.”
So why all the frothing by the Western press? Fumento has the answer to that, too.
“Drama,” he says, because it “is badly needed” to stir the pot since the Wuhan virus doesn’t appear to be the killer it’s being made out to be.
Sounds a lot like the global warming fearmongering, doesn’t it? A media hungry to sensationalize the mundane and ever aching to demonstrate its social worth gets its narrative from agenda-driven researchers and activists, and takes it over the edge. It has relied on:
- Late Stanford professor Stephen Schneider, who said in a 1989 Discover magazine interview that “to capture the public’s imagination … we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”
- The researchers whose doctoring of the data to fit the narrative was exposed by the Climategate scandal.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who announced a year ago that the world would end in 12 years “if we don’t address climate change.”
- Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who lectures adults about greenhouse gas emissions, but, like all the other alarmists, can’t possibly know what’s going to happen.
- Al Gore, who is never in doubt but almost always wrong.
- The “hockey stick” temperature chart that supposedly shows global temperatures climbing sharply after the Industrial Revolution but has been called “100% fraudulent,” an “artifact of poor mathematics,” and a violation “of scientific standards” by those who have given it a hard look.
- And Extinction Rebellion, which claims “billions of people are going to die” due to man-made global warming.
Though unlikely, the Wuhan coronavirus might turn out to be as deadly as the most pessimistic forecasters say it will. We can’t say the same about global warming. Odds are good that it will fade into nothingness as the “evidence” we keep hearing about never materializes.
— Written by J. Frank Bullitt
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