Some Coronavirus Humility

“In 2009, the U.S. was probably too lax in not issuing travel restrictions following rapid spread of the H1N1 swine flu that this time really was virally similar to the agent of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The border with Mexico, where the contagion probably began, was never really closed. For months, no national alarm was sounded. Even today, we still don’t know how many were infected or died, given overlaps with other strains of annual flu, early lax reporting and monitoring, and general public nonchalance. Later government guesses of infection ranged from 43 million to 89 million cases and deaths between 8,870 and 18,300. Children were especially vulnerable; perhaps more than 1,000 died. Are we then to think that, either by act of commission or omission, knowingly or unknowingly, a decision was made that the economic vitality of the country was more critical to the nation’s health than the real chance (in retrospect) of the H1N1 virus infecting, say, 50 million Americans, and killing perhaps 12,000, including 1,000 children?”  Victor Davis Hanson, “Some Coronavirus Humility,” The City Journal, 3/16/2020.

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