I'm at Risk but I Oppose Wholesale Lockdown. Stop the COVID-19 Fearmongering

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Venues of the Tel Aviv seafront promenade are seen shut over the coronavirus pandemic, May 2020.

From the bottom of the high-risk group to which I belong, I want to scream “the emperor has no clothes,” or at least “the emperor isn’t sick, he’s only infected.” But it seems that almost nobody wants to hear me.

From morning to night we are being force-fed with terror, injected intravenously with a sense of impending disaster. Fear is a wonderful product, a cheap, popular snack, especially when it’s being hawked on television by the agents of fear – or, to use their real name, “the cheerleaders.”

I personally ought to be scared, exceedingly so. If I were to catch the coronavirus it’s a reasonable assumption that I would die. My lungs don’t function well at the best of times, so in an emergency they would surely collapse, like the lungs of most of the people who have died of COVID-19 so far. They all had severe preexisting conditions or were at least 80 years old. Children in Israel don’t die from the coronavirus, thank God. Nor do healthy or young people, according to the available data. People in high-risk groups assuredly do.

Despite the personal risk, I feel like running into a drive-thru coronavirus testing station without a mask, shouting, “What’s happening here is completely twisted. Another lockdown will result in many more deaths, because a ruined economy will very soon exact a price in life as well. Paralyzing the economy is a long-term disaster.

Isolate only us, old people and people with chronic conditions. Allow us to choose how and when and to what extent to protect ourselves, while providing us with all the means to do so.

Look at how illogical everything is: the hotels for coronavirus patients, for example. At the same time that they want to put an entire country in a lockdown, in these hotels there are parties with DJs and alcohol, because the people staying in them aren’t really sick. They are confirmed carriers of the coronavirus, full of hormones and joie de vivre, young adults who have been infected with the virus and who feel great, so they’re partying and dancing until all hours of the night, enjoying life.

The Bnei Dan youth hostel in Tel Aviv, for example, was nationalized by the army’s Home Front Command. It’s being guarded by creatures wearing white protective suits and gas masks. No one can enter or leave because there are “sick people” inside – oh, the horror! But the hostel’s neighbors post videos showing a completely different world: The “sick people” sunbathe during the day and dance during the night.

If these hotels were offered as an option to old people and the chronically ill who want to be in isolation in good conditions, it would be much more effective. They could stay there until herd immunity is reached, like in other countries, until a vaccine emerges or until they’ve had enough. In any case, you’ve already separated them from their grandchildren and everything that brings them joy. At the same time, provide the best protection to people in high-risk groups: It will cost a tiny fraction of the huge sums you’re spending today, to little effect.

Putting everyone in the same boat is like giving everyone 750 shekels, multimillionaires and people on welfare. It makes no sense. But this is our reality, and every day another bit of common sense is destroyed until we’re nothing but a scared, submissive herd.

Maybe if the unmasked news anchors in their air-conditioned TV studios were also in lockdown, if they and Prof. Gabi Barbash were sentenced to several months of no income, filled with fear and anxiety, they’d stop parroting what the government officials tell them and stop their fearmongering: It’s not only the government that is disconnected from the public, so are its mouthpieces.

For too long we haven’t heard on the main news shows the dozens of medical experts who say we are walking on shaking ground that will topple us into a yawning abyss when the state closes down. They’ve made a mockery of Profs. Yoram Lass, Eyal Shachar, Idit Matot, Dr. Amir Sachar and many, many others, hid them deep down under the layers of horror, from which the coronavirus czar sprouted. There are no piles of dead bodies, so many people on ventilators that the hospitals cannot cope, enormous numbers of patients in critical condition forming a bottleneck in the hospitals. And it’s doubtful there ever will be.

Most of those who contract the virus, who are not sick, just infected, were infected at home – so why are you seriously considering closing the state down again? It’s as though you’re saying to yourselves: We’ve made a mess of the pandemic, let’s try to make them jump out of the window.

And still, the mainstream media chooses to serve as mouthpiece for a leader who is not an epidemiologist, who doesn’t even consult with the education minister on whether to close the schools, who wants a lockdown during the days and the hours of the demonstrations against him. There’s no clearer writing on the wall than that, but fear is paralyzing and our mouths are gagged with masks.

So again, being a sick person I take the liberty to ask you to let us decide if and how to live with the coronavirus. Smoking cigarettes is much more dangerous and nobody forbids smokers from doing it. Driving is statistically more risky, but nobody bans us from doing it. Give us the freedom to decide if and where to go, like in a democracy.

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