Corona beer sales are supposedly down.
And if it because what a poll in USA Today contends it is, it is because we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
According to the poll 38 percent of those surveyed said they would not drink Corona because of guess what else — the coronavirus. Sixteen percent said they actually can’t figure out which is which.
Welcome to the world where knowledge doubles roughly every two or so years while our ability to think and reason decreases proportionately.
I’m not about to make light of people’s fears and concerns but everyone needs to take a deep breath and count to 20.
As of Thursday there have been 2,813 confirmed deaths worldwide from the coronavirus and another 82,000 cases.
To put that in perspective the Center for Disease Control last September reported an abnormally high number of people died from the flu in the United States in 2018. There were 80,000 plus deaths compared to 12,000 lives lost during a typical mild flu season in the country and 55,000 that was the previous bench mark for a severe season. Rest assured there was a 100-fold plus people who we sickened by the flu and who knows how many more who dealt with the flu but never accessed a medical facility so they end up as part of a count.
Social media tends to drive the conversation today much in the same way back fence gossip did back in the unenlightened age before the advent of people taking the $700 plus bite out of the Apple. And you wonder why brilliant folks that invent new technology such as Steve Jobs and his ilk heavily restrict their own children’s access to the tech version of meth that has a tendency to rot reason much the same way the real drug rots teeth.
Whatever is trending on social media “the media” feeds on in order to build clicks. It now almost seems honorable back in the day of yellow journalism where those whose only standard was driving circulation to increase their wealth banked heavily on guts and gore and played to the lowest common denominator.
Technology has led to a wealth of information just the swipe of a finger away for much of the world. It includes coverage of the coronavirus as if it were a horse race with daily global body count updates as well as treating every case of a quarantine, event cancellation, or people stuck on a cruise ships as if it is an earth shattering event.
I get the fear of the unknown of something that could kill us. But with that as the context what I don’t get is how we ignore the known.
News that a woman contracted the coronavirus who lives 57 miles northwest of Manteca who has not traveled to an area of known cases and who has not been in contact with someone who has caused a least a few people to channel Chicken Little. The uproar was made worse on Friday with a similar case reported in San Jose some 68 miles to the southwest.
Keep in mind not one person has yet to die from the coronavirus in the United States. There have been, however, 11 deaths in San Joaquin County alone this flu season.
Imagine if the media covered the flu season as if it were a combination horse race and political race. Perhaps they could give air time or space to a politician who is running for office that plays it fast and loose with accusations of ineptness on dealing with the flu among elected officials currently in charge and who they want to replace.
The social media Greek chorus could step up and help fan the “crisis” to the point where authorities — in order to curtail widespread panic — cancel school, have pro sports teams play in empty venues, and declare a public health emergency as San Francisco did even though The City by the Bay has yet to even have a confirmed coronavirus case.
Perhaps that would inspire people to get flu shots if it weren’t for the social media dissing flu shots as a bad thing.
As for Corona sales, there is a coronavirus connection. The growing fear driven by the 24/7 coronavirus coverage fueled by social media chatter about the disease is sucker punching the economy.
Budweiser and other beer producers are reporting drop offs in sales pushing 10 percent. It is being attributed to people not wanting to socialize with others due to fears they could catch the virus.
It is wise not to take chances when one’s health is at risk, or is it?
As of mid-January there have been 57 vaping deaths and 2,602 cases of vaping illness.
While what is causing those vaping deaths is not known, there is a cure which is to stop vaping.
Yet I know of two people who continue to vape after the rash of deaths in recent months who are acting as if they will be killed at any minute from the coronavirus.
That is where we are at today.
We have known killers — the flu and vaping — that people are well aware of steps they can take to reduce their risk of death. Yet many of us don’t.
Yet because there is less that we know about the coronavirus that has yet to have an immunization whipped up to combat its spread, many of us appear to be slipping toward panic mode.
The ultimate irony will be when the politically correct punching bag du jour Big Pharma comes up with a vaccine the social media malcontents will descend on them like a school of piranhas in a feeding frenzy incensed at whatever price the vaccine costs.
It will be a knee jerk reaction of shooting first and ignoring facts about costs associated with development.
As such, it would be an extension of the irony we are experiencing now.
There are people around us who have died from the flu that almost all of us are aware of how we can reduce the risk of sickness or even death from it yet many, if not most, chose to not do so.
We have a new coronavirus that does kill but may very well be on a level that will always be eclipsed by the flu. Our reaction may be such that we shoot ourselves in our collective foot.
That’s not to fault quarantines and cancelling major gatherings of people. But if we are indeed worried about reducing our risks of death or serious health issues we can do it be being more proactive with trying to avoid the flu. Better yet we could refrain from using smartphones — today’s messenger that has a nasty habit of killing those who they deliver them to and those who come across their paths while we are driving.
There were 4,637 documented deaths in 2018 that was the direct result of cellphone or electronic device use.
There were 80,000 flu deaths.
Yet we are in an uproar about the coronavirus.