Time To Get Politics Out Of COVID-19 In Hamilton County - And Response

Saturday, June 27, 2020

COVID-19 has turned into a political virus. It's time for Hamilton County and the city leaders to impose an order that everyone wear a mask in public. I know people need to go to work and other places to get supplies they need. So lets take the politics out of it and listen to our people of science instead of the people in Washington DC who don’t care if we live or die.

Another option for people who refuse to wear one would be to have them sign a waiver like a DNR at a hospital. Then publish a list to all hospitals so they can check it when you show up for treatment. Then they can say, "Sorry, you signed a waiver and we cannot treat you."

So please wear a mask and social distance to protect us all and yourself.  This is not an infringement on your rights, it's just common courtesy. 

Or go sign the waiver. 

Jerry McClendon 

* * *

I looked up the word 'politicization' and found this definition:  "Almost all agree that it involves deliberately distorting analysis or judgments to favor a preferred line of thinking irrespective of evidence."

There's reasonable evidence that this is exactly what's been done with the Chinese plague, a.k.a Coronavirus, a.k.a. COVID-19 -- globally, nationally, and to some extent locally.  

Perhaps the worst political part of the whole business is, we have not been given a steady stream of up-to-date, honest, accurate, and complete information concerning the virus and its victims.

I assume the Hamilton County Health Department has very complete records for the year 2020 to date concerning local COVID-19 testing, the tabulated and analyzed results of that testing, lists of debilitating cases with severe symptoms, hospitalizations due to the virus, and deaths directly attributable to the virus -- along with all contributing and complicating prior health problems of the various victims.

But I certainly haven't yet seen that data, I haven't seen the numbers associated with those complete public health records, that information hasn't been flashed before my eyes daily and hourly the way other aspects of the disease have been featured.  At best, I've seen a couple of maps of the local hot spots, and a couple of statements that indicated (most recently) 68 percent of the proven cases were among Hispanic folks.  And I know that Hispanics, whether citizens, legal immigrants, or otherwise, are not a uniformly large portion of the population of Hamilton County.  In some parts of the county they seem to be abundant; in other places, with all due respect, Hispanics are as rare as rhinoceroses.

On the assumption that genuine records do exist, just now I looked online for "Hamilton County Tn health dept COVID-19 records" and found a website complete with a new map.

Now, that sort of data (assuming it is complete and accurate) should be useful to everyone, particularly those who are greatly concerned about their own safety.  The first map I saw several weeks ago indicated that not one case had been discovered in my ZIP Code 37419.  Then at least one case popped up, causing Lookout Valley, etc. to be colored pink on the second map I saw.  Now, with increased testing there are 14 cases indicated, out of a total population of 6,800 or so predominantly Caucasian individuals in ZIP 37419.  That's maybe one-third the overall hit rate for Hamilton County -- and perhaps it justifies a somewhat lower degree of paranoia here in Tiftonia than elsewhere nearby.

Then I see what appears to be hardest hit ZIP 37407, a much smaller area with a larger population of 9,100 or so folks and 535 virus cases -- roughly 10 times the virus rate of the county in general, and almost 30 times Tiftonia's rate.  ZIP 37407 is the area on either side of Rossville Boulevard, between Chickamauga Creek and Missionary Ridge, between I-24 and the Georgia state line, with a visibly dense population.

Other regions of the map are also colored bright red, but the relatively large populations and low case numbers of those large areas (downtown Chattanooga, suburban Hixson and Ooltewah, etc.) tend to give the same relatively low Coronavirus concentration that we have here in Lookout Valley.

And there are still five different ZIP codes, all on the north and east borders of the county, that have no recorded cases of the Chinese plague at all.

So, it seems fair to deduce that, contrary to global warnings of absolute and unavoidable risk, etc., there just might be some wiggle room for personal judgment, for individual risk assessment, for variation in behavior and response to the virus.  After all, many of us still don't know even one person who has actually had the disease, right?

And, say what you will, it has all been politicized.  If nothing else, look around, ask around, study all you want, and find out just how many politicians have voluntarily given up their salaries, their regular incomes, in honor of this imported plague.  Oh, they'll claim that they are 'suffering' just as the rest of us are, they'll say that they feel our pain, but most of us know better than that.  And I dare to claim, if the general population and economy has been pretty well shut down, while politics goes on as usual ... yeah, the situation has been politicized, all right.  And the most excited news folks have generally been complicit with all of that, or else we'd have all of the honest numbers available without having to dig for them.

Larry Cloud
Lookout Valley

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