How the ‘war on COVID’ resembles the failed ‘war on terror’
The response to 9/11 was a “war on terror” that you had to know at the outset would never end, because the goal was to eradicate a tactic that has been utilized for centuries.
Not surprisingly, we’re still dealing with the fallout from this “war on terror” nearly two decades later – fallout that included a recession, two wars that are still ongoing, instability in the Middle East that will never go away, the erosion of American support in large swaths of the globe.
The response to COVID-19 is to use a similar approach that can never end, because you can’t win a war with a virus.
And before you @ me about a vaccine, seriously, we’re how far into the history of AIDS, which first popped up in the 1980s, and, guess what, no vaccine.
But leaders are nonetheless taking a military footing with COVID, and creating fears of shadows that are keeping people from even going to the hospital for heart attacks and strokes, and canceling appointments to deal with potentially life-threatening medical conditions – and that’s just the start of what we’re allowing to be done ourselves in the name of the “war on COVID.”
The “war” started with the clarion call to “flatten the curve,” the notion that we needed to limit the spread of COVID-19 to prevent our hospitals from being overloaded with patients, with the specter of “rationed care” leaving people dying in the hallways of ERs being a key motivation, in the form of fear.
Now that it’s clear that COVID had already overspread the U.S. long before the national lockdown that began in mid-March, rendering the “flatten the curve” strategy rather pointless, the goalposts were moved, from “flatten the curve” to “COVID cases down to zero.”
As was the case with fighting “terror,” we know that we’ll never get “COVID cases down to zero.”
You’ve no doubt heard of the Spanish flu, the pandemic of 1918 that we know as the “mother of all pandemics.”
One thing you might not know about that strain of the flu is that it is still with us.
The 1918 flu set up the successful introduction of a bird-like virus in humans that continues to circulate in humans a century later.
It was the response to 9/11 that has perpetuated what feels like an eternal struggle that has cost America untold trillions of dollars, millions of lives lost, political instability that has us perpetually on the brink of a catastrophic world war.
We don’t need to double down on those mistakes by taking a similarly short-sighted approach with COVID.
Story by Chris Graham