By now I know most of you are tired of hearing about COVID-19. I have heard from those of you who have real fears concerning this virus and those who believe it has been completely blown out of proportion. It has been said, “Numbers do not lie, but liars report numbers.” For me I have tried to base my comments on real numbers and not imagination. With that in mind, here is the latest numbers provided to me.
On Friday morning (April 17), we had 2,357 positive cases in Oklahoma with approximately 30,795 tests performed; 236 people were hospitalized. The number of deaths was 131 with the average age of death at 73.3, and the average age of people placed in the hospital 65. Approximately 67% of deaths attributed to the virus in Oklahoma had at least one underlying condition such as diabetes or heart disease.
I want to clearly state that every life is precious, and our hearts go out to anyone who has lost a loved one. But we must seriously analyze our numbers. After approximately one month, we have 131 deaths. Does that number support a full-blown pandemic and totally shutting down our state? It is clear, based on the numbers, elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are the most affected. It is safe to say, these elderly and high-risk medical patients would be at risk from any type of virus, flu or pneumonia. Therefore, we must question how many of these deaths would have occurred in the absence of a COVID-19 pandemic? The average age of death is 73.3. I raise cattle and am very familiar with averages. For example, a group of 20 head of cattle with 15 head weighing 600 pounds and five head weighing 400 pounds averages 550 pounds. It only took five head to drop the average weight of 15 head by 50 pounds. So what is my point? The point is a few younger COVID-19 victims can significantly drop the average age. It is very likely the majority of deaths are occurring at an age greater than 73.3. It is reasonable to question why we have jeopardized our state’s economy and placed many of our citizens in financial difficulty based on ambiguous or problematic numbers.
Another interesting issue is past reaction to much worse epidemics. Based on numbers I have seen, we have had much higher death rates with H1N1 and with simple influenza, or the flu. However, when we were exposed to these viruses we had few news reports, no declaration of a state of emergency, no state shutdowns, no social distancing and no quarantines. I have watched in amazement as we have become a nation under police state demanding house arrest, people harassed for eating in their backyards and pastors being arrested for having church. Why is it OK to have large crowds at one business and not other businesses or places of worship? We have witnessed how quickly our freedoms can be stripped and how quickly our country can change. I am very glad that our state has remained much more prudent and rational. I have seen cattle spooked and stampede, breaking down fences, stomping each other to death over something as simple as a bolt of lightning or a loud noise. I have to ask, “Are we like cattle getting hysterical over a lot of media noise?”
I have spent the last two weeks trying to assist people who have lost their jobs, who are losing their businesses or who are in real danger of losing their ranching operations. I personally have not seen any numbers that would seem to support or justify this kind of response to the COVID-19 virus. In fact, the numbers I have seen appear to indicate the opposite. The elderly with pre-existing medical conditions would and will continue to be endangered. But nothing we can do will change that. The COVID-19 statistics reveal if we had taken no action a majority of the people would have not been hospitalized and would have recovered. If you disagree with my analogy and my reporting that is your right. It does not offend me. But please check the death rate, the hospitalization numbers and the recovery numbers. They clearly support that most recoveries occurred without hospitalization. We all have an obligation to our country and to one another. We should each be responsible and consider our neighbors. But we also should base our fears and actions on real data. We should protect our freedoms and protect this great nation. I want to encourage everyone, ready yourselves to return to work and get back to a normal. A duck glides across the water smoothly but is always working underneath the surface. Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but paddle like the dickens underneath!
“If anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it!” James 1:5
Justin (JJ) Humphrey represents Oklahoma House District 19. He can be reached at (405) 557-7382 orJustin.Humphrey@okhouse.gov. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.