Scranton column: The data shows… |

Scranton column: The data shows…

Lance Scranton
Courtesy photo

Anyone who has taken a mild interest in COVID-19 the last few weeks knows why statistics have gotten such a bad name. It has famously been repeated time after time that there are, “lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics.”

Numbers are only as good as the sources those numbers come from and just exactly who is feeding the numbers through the model, which is usually designed to prove a certain bias.

Fear has been the most popular use of statistics the past three weeks and it’s working! COVID-19 is a serious health threat to our country and our world. It’s causing havoc all over our country and our best effort has been to practice social distancing as a mitigation strategy. People are scared and they should be. Nobody wants people to get sick, especially those close to us and the people we care about the most.

Anyone questioning the government right now is summarily dismissed as an idiot, a kook, uncaring, or quite possibly un-American. Asking pertinent, common-sense questions is the hallmark of being an informed citizen who is paying attention to what is going on in the world and around the country.

Early on in the pandemic, we were told that masks were not useful to fight the COVID-19 virus. Now suddenly, we are being told that it would be a good idea to wear masks when we go out in public.

It’s obvious that mitigation efforts and strategies are evolving and nobody really knows for certain just exactly how to fight this deadly virus. Our collective efforts appear to be slowing down the spread but in the early days of the pandemic people were freaking out because cases were blowing up everywhere because testing was getting better and more efficient, and there was more readily available data to feed into the models.

I’m praying for the best outcome because I truly miss the way things used to be and I hope they get a vaccine figured out soon. But the most pressing question that should be asked is if this is our new reality? Will we be doing the same thing going forward every time a deadly virus sweeps around the planet?

I don’t have an answer but I have to trust the people who have spent years studying these types of diseases.

I hope we are still allowed to be skeptical and ask questions without being perceived as uncaring or reckless. We should all be inquisitive because it comes down to our personal responsibility for helping beat this pandemic.

I think the government, and our President, are doing the very best they can considering the kind of enemy we are fighting. Invisible medical viruses are scary but societal pathologies like depression, lack of purpose, boredom, meaninglessness, and going stir crazy, should all be considered as we move forward and get this virus defeated.

I don’t think it is selfish for me to want a future that children can embrace with hope. Be careful, stay healthy, keep informed, and ask questions.

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