Corona beer sales are supposedly down.
And if it because what a poll in USA Today contends it is, it is because we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
According to the poll 38 percent of those surveyed said they would not drink Corona because of guess what else — the coronavirus. Sixteen percent said they actually can’t figure out which is which.
Welcome to the world where knowledge doubles roughly every two or so years while our ability to think and reason decreases proportionately.
I’m not about to make light of people’s fears and concerns but everyone needs to take a deep breath and count to 20.
As of Tuesday, March 3 there have been 3,110 confirmed deaths worldwide from the coronavirus and another 90,893 cases.
To put that in perspective the Center for Disease Control last September reported an abnormally high number of people died from the flu in the United States in 2018. There were 80,000 plus deaths compared to 12,000 lives lost during a typical mild flu season in the country and 55,000 that was the previous bench mark for a severe season. Rest assured there was a 100-fold plus people who we sickened by the flu and who knows how many more who dealt with the flu but never accessed a medical facility so they end up as part of a count.
Social media tends to drive the conversation today much in the same way back fence gossip did back in the unenlightened age before the advent of people taking the $700 plus bite out of the Apple. And you wonder why brilliant folks that invent new technology such as Steve Jobs and his ilk heavily restrict their own children’s access to the tech version of meth that has a tendency to rot reason much the same way the real drug rots teeth.
Whatever is trending on social media “the media” feeds on in order to build clicks. It now almost seems honorable back in the day of yellow journalism where those whose only standard was driving circulation to increase their wealth banked heavily on guts and gore and played to the lowest common denominator.
Technology has led to a wealth of information just the swipe of a finger away for much of the world. It includes coverage of the coronavirus as if it were a horse race with daily global body count updates as well as treating every case of a quarantine, event cancellation, or people stuck on a cruise ships as if it is an earth-shattering event.
I get the fear of the unknown of something that could kill us. But with that as the context what I don’t get is how we ignore the known.
Imagine if the media covered the flu season as if it were a combination horse race and political race. Perhaps they could give air time or space to a politician who is running for office that plays it fast and loose with accusations of ineptness on dealing with the flu among elected officials currently in charge and who they want to replace.
The social media Greek chorus could step up and help fan the “crisis” to the point where authorities — in order to curtail widespread panic — cancel school, have pro sports teams play in empty venues and declare a public health emergency as San Francisco did even though The City by the Bay has yet to even have a confirmed coronavirus case.
Perhaps that would inspire people to get flu shots if it weren’t for the social media dissing flu shots as a bad thing.
As for Corona sales, there is a coronavirus connection. The growing fear driven by the 24/7 coronavirus coverage fueled by social media chatter about the disease is sucker punching the economy.
Budweiser and other beer producers are reporting drop offs in sales pushing 10 percent. It is being attributed to people not wanting to socialize with others due to fears they could catch the virus.
It is wise not to take chances when one’s health is at risk, or is it?
As of mid-January, there have been 57 vaping deaths and 2,602 cases of vaping illness.
While what is causing those vaping deaths is not known, there is a cure which is to stop vaping.
Yet I know of two people who continue to vape after the rash of deaths in recent months who are acting as if they will be killed at any minute from the coronavirus.
That is where we are at today.
We have known killers — the flu and vaping — that people are well aware of steps they can take to reduce their risk of death. Yet many of us don’t.
Yet because there is less that we know about the coronavirus that has yet to have an immunization whipped up to combat its spread, many of us appear to be slipping toward panic mode.
The ultimate irony will be when the politically correct punching bag du jour Big Pharma comes up with a vaccine, the social media malcontents will descend on them like a school of piranhas in a feeding frenzy incensed at whatever price the vaccine costs.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.