This, from the Babylon Bee, captures the corporate media and Washington DC chattering class in one image:
Nothing is funnier to me these days than how newspapers are trying to hype up a non-existent coronavirus outbreak in Florida. This chap put together a chart of emergency room visits in Palm Beach County along with headlines from the Sun Sentinel. You will notice how as emergency room visits decline, the headlines become more hysterical and conspiratorial. This is the same paper who endorsed the disgraced sheriff from the MSD school massacre for another term.
For all of the hysterical narratives about coronavirus deaths in Florida, you are looking at the state losing 2.5% of its long-term care population so far this year. And this is only if you are willing to assume that it was really a cold virus that did them in, and not several other serious conditions, which is why they need full-time medical care in the first place. I would love to know what a typical year for long-term care deaths would look like, to be honest, but I imagine it looks pretty similar to this one.
The hysterical headlines make for great fun watching stock trading too. The idiots at the Florida Department of Health – who have previously counted dying in a motorcycle accident and being struck by lightning while replacing the roof on an apartment complex as coronavirus deaths – released data suggesting there were 2,256 coronavirus hospitalizations in Lee County (home of Ft. Myers, where we are planning to move). This caused a fat finger stock plunge in airline stocks, before it was revised down to 149 cumulatively. God, I love algorithmic traders who pick asinine inputs.
My personal favorite news cycle lately, however, is how understanding the actual, physical mechanics of the immune system now makes you a Republican, which clearly means you should not be trusted:
Wait? You mean this is not some super special virus that defies all scientific knowledge like Fauci suggested, and that merely encountering it in the wild means your body learns how to deal with it and expel it? Next you are going to tell me that hiding in your house, slathering yourself in poison, and collecting your spit in a mask for several hours a day is a poor way to manage public health, when you could just have your population build herd immunity as with every other plague in the history of mankind.
It is a real problem that the loudest people in this country are also the dumbest, least-informed, most prone to living in social bubbles, who are so obsessed with politics and identity that they think partisans have different opinions on cell function. Eventually this country is going to have a crisis that is not completely manufactured, and getting accurate information to people is going to matter. But beyond that, long-term consumption of corporate media output is turning into a bona fide mental illness now. You’ve got people who have been living on a steady diet of fake news for several years now, and their brains truly are broken. The sheer volume of nonsensical and outright false things they believe and have built upon is right up there with the paranoid fantasies of deeply troubled individuals. It would be an interesting public health concern how to detoxify folks’ brains so they can be normal, productive citizens again.