Big Les

My rhetoric is my rampart!


    February 5th, 2022

    “The pandemic is over!” That’s all they have to say. Just as it began by their saying, “We have a pandemic on our hands,” so too shall it end when they say it’s over. Who “they” are would seem clear, but what is unclear is the criteria for qualifying a thing as a pandemic. Let that sink in. To say it’s unclear is to say we don’t know. Let’s unpack the unknown.

    Merriam-Webster defines pandemic as: occurring over a wide geographic area (such as multiple countries or continents) and typically affecting a significant proportion of the population. Reading into this a bit and depending on how the term is used, we can see a pandemic is contingent upon there being an epidemic in multiple countries. Therefore the question reasonably shifts to, “How do we qualify a thing as an epidemic?” Is it by percentage of the population affected? Or is it by the severity of the disease? Or is it by the projections of both/either? Before we try to answer that question, let’s finish defining our terms.

    An epidemic is: affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time. It’s interesting to note the two definitions have nothing to do with the severity of (in this case) a disease. They simply refer to its prevalence. Still it would seem reasonable to expect there be some objective criteria, a checklist if you will, for declaring a thing as an epidemic. To my knowledge there is none, yet there is widespread fear (of epidemic proportion) that COVID-19 is severe largely because it has been called a pandemic. How severe it actually is is the stuff of another conversation, but as more information becomes available and more scrutiny is applied to statistical data, the water becomes murky.

    If either designation is not qualified by the severity of the disease, are we then to qualify it by its spread or projected spread? It would seem the answer is yes, but we still have the question of objective criteria. Are there numbers that have to be met (e.g. attack rate and mortality rate) for a disease to be called an epidemic? I have not found such a list, nor have I heard reference to one. Without such a list the designation would have to be seen as subjective and therefore arbitrary. This alone significantly undermines the validity of the response we’ve seen to coronavirus.

    At the risk of creating a false dichotomy, oversimplifying and sounding unsympathetic to the millions who have suffered directly and indirectly from COVID-19, we’ve seen so many negative, unintended consequences from the designation and subsequent restrictions that it is time to end the pandemic. This can be done by simply saying, “It is over.”

    No Comments »

    No comments yet.

    RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

    Leave a comment

    You must be logged in to post a comment.

    Powered by WordPress Design by Armas