H. L. Mencken famously said:
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
The mainstream media are throwing around the hobgoblin of increasing infections with the COVID-19 virus, and trumpeting warnings that our hospitals are about to be overloaded. For example, here are the headlines listed by the formerly somewhat balanced, but now pathetically partisan Drudge Report this morning:
Here in Texas at least, those warnings are overblown, according to the hospitals themselves. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
Health officials in Texas are logging every single COVID-19-positive hospital patient in the state as a COVID-19 hospitalization, even if the patients themselves are admitted seeking treatment for something other than the coronavirus.
That policy may be serving to artificially inflate what ostensibly seems like a significant COVID-19 surge in the state. Texas has lately been the focal point of national anxiety over concerns that a "second wave" of the coronavirus has begun there after the state began reopening nearly two months ago.
. . .
Lindsey Rosales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services ... said the state does not keep track of the patients hospitalized with the coronavirus versus those hospitalized specifically because of it.
. . .
Queries to multiple Texas hospital officials this week went unanswered. But leaders of several major hospitals in Houston this week urged the public to remain calm, suggesting that the extent of the outbreak has been overstated.
At a virtual press conference on Thursday, the chief executives of Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann Health System, St. Luke’s Health, and Texas Children’s hospitals stated that their hospitals are well-prepared to handle an even greater increase in patients than that which has emerged over the past few weeks.
The number of hospitalizations are "being misinterpreted," said Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, "and, quite frankly, we’re concerned that there is a level of alarm in the community that is unwarranted right now."
"We do have the capacity to care for many more patients, and have lots of fluidity and ability to manage," Boom said.
He pointed out that his hospital one year ago was at 95% ICU capacity, similar to the numbers the hospital is seeing today. "It is completely normal for us to have ICU capacities that run in the 80s and 90s," he said. "That's how all hospitals operate."
He noted that around 25% of ICU patients are COVID-19-positive. But the hospital "[has] many levers in our ability to adjust our ICU," he said, claiming that the hospital capacity regularly reported by the media is "base" capacity rather than surge capacity.
Texas Children's Hospital CEO Mark Wallace added that his facility has "a lot of capacity" ... "There is not a scenario, in my opinion, where the demand for our beds ... would eclipse our capability," he continued. "I cannot imagine that. I just cannot."
There's more at the link.
Sure, the hospitals may be putting the best possible face on it, and things may not be as healthy (you should pardon the expression) as they claim. Nevertheless, the breathless doom-gloom-and-disaster prognostications of the mainstream media should be taken with several large pinches of salt. They appear to be blowing this out of proportion, as usual, to use it as a club with which to beat on President Trump and his administration.
We should not let them get away with that.
There's also the very good question posed by Heather Mac Donald.
Where are the deaths?
The coronavirus doomsayers could not even wait until the fall for the apocalyptic announcements of the dreaded second wave. Because the red states recklessly loosened their lockdowns, we are now told, the US is seeing a dangerous spike in coronavirus cases. ‘EXPERTS SKETCH GLOOMY PICTURE OF VIRUS SPREAD: FAUCI TELLS OF “DISTURBING” WAVE, WITH A VACCINE MONTHS AWAY,’ read the front-page lead headline in the New York Times on Wednesday. ‘VIRUS SPREAD AKIN TO “FOREST FIRE”’ read another front page headline in the Los Angeles Times on Monday, quoting Michael Osterholm, one of the media’s favorite public health experts. Osterholm had told NBC’s Meet the Press: ‘I’m actually of the mind right now — I think this is more like a forest fire. I don’t think that this is going to slow down.’
The ‘this’ is an uptick in daily new cases from 19,002 on June 9 to 38,386 on June 24. The high to date in new daily cases was on April 24 — 39,072. Since April 24, the daily case count started declining, then began rising again after around June 9. What virtually every fear-mongering story on America’s allegedly precarious situation leaves out, however, is the steadily dropping daily death numbers — from a high of 2,693 on April 21 to 808 on June 24.
. . .
There are no crises in hospital capacity anywhere in the country. Nursing homes, meat-packing plants, and prisons remain the main sources of new infections. Half the states are seeing cases decline or hold steady. Case counts are affected by more testing; the positive infection rate captured by testing is declining. The current caseload is younger, which is a good thing. The more people who have been infected and who recover, the more herd immunity is created. Meanwhile, daily deaths from heart disease and cancer — about 3,400 a day combined — go ignored in the press.
But the drum beat to halt the still far too tentative reopenings gets louder by the day. It should be resisted. The lockdowns were a mistake the first time around; to reimpose them would be disastrous for any remaining hope of restoring our economy. The damage that has been done to people’s livelihoods and future prosperity will continue to outweigh the damage done by the coronavirus. The only vaccine against poverty and resulting despair is a robust economy.
Again, more at the link.
Basically, as with so many other issues, what we read in the mainstream news media is biased, slanted and untrustworthy. They're working to their own agenda, which is to magnify every problem and minimize every success until the elections, when they hope to eject President Trump from the White House. We need to view their prognostications through that lens - and distrust them entirely.