Joel McHale used to host a weekly, irreverent recap of the world of pop culture and entertainment called “The Soup” that my wife and I used to really enjoy watching. Every so often McHale would do a segment where he featured an improbable moment of clarity from one of Hollywood’s most vapid figures called “Unlikely Voice of Reason.”
That’s what I immediately thought of when I first watched the viral clip of Dave Portnoy, the founder and “presidenté” of Barstool Sports, discussing the altered goalposts in America’s quarantined response to the coronavirus pandemic. Actually, the goalposts haven’t been altered. They’ve been uprooted, loaded onto the back of a flat-bed trailer, and shipped to distant shores.
And Portnoy, who has become a successful sports and culture commentator over the last couple decades, might not be the first guy you’d turn to when looking for someone to opine on the finer points of individual liberty, assumed risk, and the proper role and scope of government. But he nailed it by asking, in far more profane words than I would prefer, the obvious question: “when did flattening the curve turn into finding the cure?”
You can watch the 3:30 clip here, so long as you note the LANGUAGE WARNING.
The most confusing thing about this entire issue for me is trying to understand the endgame of those who are adamantly opposed to allowing people to live their lives outside their homes again. I’m humble enough to acknowledge that maybe there’s a wisdom there that I’m not seeing. That’s why maybe I wouldn’t have framed my response the way Portnoy phrased his. Still, the questions demand answers.
We do all acknowledge that there is a possibility, perhaps even a good possibility, that we will never have a cure to COVID19, correct? Even the disgraced World Health Organization, though they are shameless propaganda agents for the Chinese communist regime, is now acknowledging the reality that coronavirus may never go away:
WHO’s Emergencies Director Michael Ryan said COVID-19 may never be eliminated entirely.
“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it,” Ryan said. “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away.”
Ryan compared coronavirus to HIV, saying even though it “has not gone away… we have come to terms with” it.
And just so we’re clear, coming to terms with it can’t mean staying locked down perpetually, right? None of us believes that it is even possible for Americans or America to survive physically, psychologically, or economically locked in our homes. So, what is the endgame for the “continue the lockdown” crowd? What’s the strategy?
Every person capable of critical thought knows that it is outright foolishness to make winning the lottery your retirement plan. Surely the same principle applies here – banking on a cure to allow us to start living again just isn’t rational. So, what is the plan? What are the metrics?
We all understood the rationale of sparing our hospital system. We all saw the devastation that happened in New York City, and thankfully the quarantines flattened the curve. But only a fool failed to recognize that when you flatten a curve, you smash it out wider, meaning that it goes on for longer. That is why people like Portnoy are reasonably upset – we told Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods in the short term to what? Make them continue to sacrifice their livelihoods over an even longer term now?
Here’s where I think a lot of us are coming to, even if hesitantly, understanding the grave seriousness for some who contract this awful virus. Prepare our hospitals, mass produce PPE and distribute it widely (handled at the federal AND state levels), offer recommendations and suggestions from government authorities on best and safest practices according to the medical experts, and then let people live.
If that’s irrational, then help me understand: what’s the better alternative?