The Real Cause of the Global Shutdown?

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In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the world, and our country, has survived other cases like this: The Spanish flu (1918), diphtheria (1921-1925), polio (peaked in 1952), most recent measles outbreak (1981-1991), and let’s not forget about mad cow in the early to mid 2000’s.

What do all these outbreaks have in common? Deaths that rose into the thousands, sure. But look a little closer. More specifically, what did all of these not do?

None of these outbreaks caused a global shutdown or a collapse of our economical structure.

What else do these all have in common?

With the exception of mad cow disease, all of these outbreaks took place prior to the rise of social media. Myspace and Facebook were still battling for the world wide internet’s center stage. And honestly, even as a child of the 80’s and 90’s, it was the first time I’d ever heard of, or was made aware of, a current outbreak, and that I was as much at risk as anyone else.

I wonder. If it weren’t for the social media frenzy, and the political bigwigs monitoring and studying the public’s opinion, would we be where we are today, locked up in our homes, remaining distant from one another, cancelling holidays, and looking for work?

I’m not saying all of this precaution is for naught. I’m in no place to judge that, and maybe no one without a crystal ball is. I’m not a scientist or a health professional, or Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak. But I do frequent social media and I’ve seen several sides of the COVID-19 debate.

And that’s just the thing. The fact that the debate itself is so accessible and inclusive is enough to make me wonder if so many businesses shut down not because of the virus, but because of the paranoia that spreads faster than the flu through Twitter and Facebook and memes.

Like I said. I’m not expert. Who am I, really, but a guy who’s caught up in the middle of all this madness just like you, and I’m trying to wipe the fog off the window so I can see what’s really going on on the outside.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Would the coronavirus have caused planet earth to stop spinning if it weren’t for the internet and so many billions of people and ideologies and belief systems weighing in? Leave your opinion in the comments below, and keep washing your hands, virus or not.

Published by Andrew Toy

Writer when I'm not being a husband or dad. So mostly just a husband and dad.

7 thoughts on “The Real Cause of the Global Shutdown?

  1. I think that your questions are spot on. You stated your case about the history of diseases prior to COVID 19 in a very readable and understandable fashion.And I agree that Social Media made the Pandemic possible as far as fear, and overreacting are concerned. It is my opinion that while this virus does kill, it is not nearly as fatal as other similar diseases. Panic arose because it spread so fast and the media magnified the whole thing. Then you mix in politicians with agendas and now we have a worldwide shutdown.
    Whatever the reasons for the panic we need to start opening up with a measured plan. It is time for national and state authorities to work together (like the U.S. and Florida). Let’s get back to work!

    1. I believe you put it more eloquently than I. What’s astounding to me is that there seems to be no one person in charge, with no clear and defined solution. Ironically, with all the information in the world at our fingertips, we’ve never been more confused in our lives.

  2. Yes, having more information, from whatever source, enables us to fight the spread of the pandemic. But there’s another factor worth considering: the growth of cities. New York, to cite just one example had a stable population from 1950 thro’ 1970, fell by 10% in the next decade., but grew by 20% between 2000 and 2020. More people, closer together, riding elevators and mass transit systems, working in open plan offices, shopping in crowded malls, living cheek by jowl in appartment blocks. Ideal conditions for the spread of infection.

    1. These are definitely very good points to consider. What kind of rankles me is that we’ll most certainly never have a clear answer on any of this and it will forever be up for speculation and debate amongst historians.

  3. The news hyped this up a lot so watching TV would have spread the fear even without social media. I truly believe this was done for political reasons and had nothing to do with America’s health. No one fussed about the flu that came during the obama years. You don’t even mention it. I think it was called the Swine flu and killed around forty thousand people. You can say more people died with the coronavirus, but did they? I doubt that there will ever be a correct count on how may died with COVID-19 since every death, no matter what the cause, was labeled as being caused by corona. I’m still praying for our country even though flu season is over.

    1. Yeah, I’m with you for the most part. I do not trust numbers or facts given by most media outlets, especially those with political ties. What’s scary is that even our most trusted news sources can be fed the wrong information from the top.

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