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Updated: Nov 30, 2020

The following is the opinion of guest commentator Daniel Sides and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Wildwood Matters.

I recently responded to a post on the Wildwood Matters Facebook page regarding Dr. Ken Remy's video that has received national attention. I have been invited by Wildwood Matters editor, Steve Taylor, to give my perspective as a Wildwood business owner on our response as a community to COVID 19.

It needs to be said, that this commentary is in no way about the integrity of Dr. Ken Remy or his work. After listening to his interview on THE BLUE about the uptick in COVID in our area I was very impressed. I know, he is at the top in his field as a Doctor and Scientist. I also know that he is sincerely worried about what is happening and what could happen in our area on the COVID front.

After a copy of my commentary was sent to Dr. Remy and Steve Taylor, we engaged in some discourse about it. After that, along with phone conversations with Dr. Remy and Mr. Taylor, I looked at several more interviews and articles that expressed Dr. Remy’s views on the seriousness of COVID 19. I am absolutely convinced, that along with those concerns, he would like to see schools and businesses open A.S.A.P. Mr. Taylor, as a news person and free speech advocate, I think was interested in my different perspective. So, it is my hope, that all three of us can achieve our goals together. But as a small business owner in the region, I feel that citizens and political leaders making decisions based on dramatic appeals can be extremely dangerous. Not discounting the heartfelt appeal of that video, it was like a weapon left in reach of hundreds of politicians and media outlets who are using it for a quite different intent.

I am not a doctor. But I am an acute observer of life over roughly 3 generations. I also do a lot of research. What is clearly obvious about this COVID virus is, that there is not a comforting amount of agreement among experts. Except the basics of masks, washing your hands, not touching your face, and social distancing, you will find completely opposite information on how we should deal with this pandemic according to which news source you listen to. I am an Independent in politics and life. Put simply, I want the most accurate information possible and the ability to make my own choices. Politics has always caused some division in the country, but other than the Civil War, we always came together when we had to. I believe we are in a new Civil War. It is undeclared but real. We are in a cultural war where a multitude of post-modern beliefs are being forced upon us and in a war against a novel virus at the same time. Unfortunately for the people, this virus is being used as a weapon by certain politicians and the media, which are becoming one in the same. All the actions being taken, concerning this virus, basically come out of two mindsets; lockdown and control or inform and let the public choose. These two forms of leadership pretty much follow the two main political parties. Along with all the obvious issues, our society has evolved, or more accurately, de-evolved in the following areas. The ever-present human flaw to feel we must have the answer, has elevated our experts to a position to not be able to admit that they have very few, real answers. The other and more troubling area is, that with all our news outlets, accessible data, and the insatiable desire for 24/7 opinions, we find ourselves with virtually no presence of trustworthiness. Just the ability to find plenty of ammunition to back already preconceived ideas.

As leaders of a free, capitalist nation, their focus should be on uncompromised, unbiased education, and what they can do to help businesses open and grow. This is where the virus is being weaponized. Broadly speaking, one side likes a weak, controlled population, the other likes a strong, independent population. So that puts much of the population in a fight for their liberties. So, is there anything worse than the death of 264,000 Americans to date? I think there is. So far, over 300 large companies have filed bankruptcy or closed and over 100,000 small businesses have gone out of business. Sometimes living is worse than dying. With more severe restrictions and lockdowns we potentially could eliminate the middle class completely. As incomprehensible as it may seem, a large number of our political leaders still do not understand the concept that without businesses and workers, there is no government money to help the people they put out of work.

I think if we are all honest with ourselves, the main goal should be to have a hospital bed for everyone that needs one. But that cannot be at the expense of lockdowns. That is not what Americans do. Long term there are a lot of things that need to be addressed with our per capita hospital beds, but do not tell me that with American ingenuity we cannot add more beds, staff, and homecare where needed until the crisis is over. It will not be until we eliminate the thought of a lockdown that we focus all out ingenuity on ways to care for the overload. It is going to be hard and messy. Our overprotected society is getting its first real test in a hundred years.

So, to wrap this up I want to put a bit of perspective on death. I am a 64-year-old Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Ageing in Place Consultant. I exist to provide strength, elimination of fear, and the physical and mental ability to live life to the fullest. Wearing a mask alone in my home does not fit my lifestyle. Life comes with no guarantees except that we all have an unknown expiration date. That is not likely to change, so live your life to the fullest as you please within the law. A little bit of perspective on COVID deaths. The numbers given by the CDC are getting harder and harder to interpret. They are now sometimes including influenza with COVID which really confuses the statistics. The best I can currently tell, because of the confusing charts, the survival rate is slightly over 99%. So, looking at it another way, 264,000 deaths to date but roughly 12,700,000 recovered and now have valuable antibodies. Speaking of numbers, according to the Huffington Post, around 2003 the CDC started providing a falsely high influenza death rate because the public was cutting back on getting vaccinations. Since then, you will only see computer generated death estimates concerning influenza deaths.

There have been viral plagues around since the beginning of life. Historians have a version of tracking back to about 200 A.D. and fairly accurate numbers from 500 A.D. to present. Most of the viruses disappeared on their own, albeit with some huge death tolls. Only one disease, smallpox, is considered to be truly eradicated worldwide by a vaccine. There are about 14 diseases that we keep controlled by mandating vaccinations at birth and before school. So, in my opinion, all the hype about the promised vaccines for COVID having any sort of huge immediate effect is ridiculous. Hopefully, I am wrong, but I certainly would not want that to be the hope we are relying on to ease restrictions. Beside the fact that no vaccine has ever been created so quickly. The current influenza vaccine is taken by about 46% of the U.S. population and roughly 25% of those are protected from the flu. It certainly seems that herd immunity will have to play a part in our recovery with or without a vaccine. (Check the Sweden model.)