The fiftieth edition of the Bassmaster Classic last week in Birmingham, Alabama, left one lasting impression. No one at the Classic seemed the slightest bit concerned about the coronavirus.
In fact, one happy guy in the crowd told me, “that coronavirus can just kiss my butt.”
The 50th Bassmaster Classic didn’t appear to be impacted by fear of coronavirus nearly as much as a lack of parking. People were everywhere. Parking spaces were not. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.
But anyone talking about a virus other than Myxobolus cerebralis at a fishing event gives reason to consider the possibility that maybe there is something to the concerns over coronavirus.
Last week, a fellow writer took serious issue with my reporting concerning the coronavirus. He went on to explain to me that good hygiene and common sense would be all most people needed to concern themselves with. Going beyond that, he implied, was nothing more than hyping the collective mainstream narrative.
Reminding me that as gun writers “we pride ourselves on dealing with facts, not emotions,” he proceeded to close with the reminder that far more people get- and die- from influenza than coronavirus every year.
But despite influenza killing thousands every year, flu hasn’t done shutdown the world economy, drive entire countries into virtual lockdown, or cause seemingly sane companies to put complete travel bans in place for their employees in decades (yes, it did decades ago).
Fake narrative or not, the stock markets continue to go nuts, Italy’s going nowhere (even the Vatican’s live-streaming services), and Shimano’s not the only company not traveling these days.
Yesterday, the CDC encouraged everyone over the age of 60 with any sort of respiratory issue to get a quantity of their medications, some food supplies and then to …stay home.
If people follow those instructions, there will be precious little reporting done in -or about- the outdoors in the coming months. Many of us covering the outdoors fall inside that demographic.
So here’s the cosmic question of the week: whom DO you believe when it comes to the legitimacy posed by a virus that appears to be spreading across the globe?
Is it really “just another variant” of a virus that’s been around for decades?
Is it really deadly enough to cause the global reactions of governments, businesses and individuals we’re seeing?
Here’s what I do know: it is a legitimate-enough threat that Nashville, the same city that saw a very clear and present danger sweep through less than a week ago and is still recovering, convened a Coronavirus Outbreak Task Force yesterday. The mayor’s considering a mandatory shutdown of public events.
Do I believe the doctors advising everyone to stay home, stockpile medicines and avoid crowds? Or doctors who insist “the general public’s not at risk if they follow basic sanitary guidelines” or don’t fall into defined “at risk” groups?
Have we become so focused on political differences that any news we don’t like becomes fake news?
If that’s the case, can we believe anything other than the things we can empirically test?
And if that’s the case, what’s the litmus test for something constituting a threat? One death? One million deaths?
Last week, I wandered among the Bassmaster Classic competitors and media with no health concern other than trying to get warm and stay dry. Later, I wandered the Classic Expositions in a crowd that was wandering through the aisles of fishing equipment without any apparent elevated concerns.
Heck, we even jokingly searched to find the empty space that was left when Shimano and its associated companies made the decision to stay home.
It wasn’t there. Other companies gladly hopped in to fill the unoccupied areas, and the show went on.
We laughed about the coronavirus and at the people wearing N-95 masks on the news.
Tornadoes, we agreed, were real threats. Coronavirus was an exaggerated one.
Coronavirus just may be an exaggeration being foisted off on the gullible to boost sagging ratings, battle diminishing influence or belittle a hated political opponent.
But it might not. And two days into a week that began with a time change, includes a full moon, and ends with a Friday the thirteenth, I’m second-guessing myself.
Despite the fact I don’t ever want to hype anything but truth, I’m concerned that treating that might be a serious threat so flippantly could contribute to someone’s illness- or worse.
After a long day of talking with “experts” the only fact I’ve been able to discern is that it doesn’t appear anyone really knows what’s going on -or what to expect. That’s what appears to be the real reason behind the “obsession” with coronavirus.
That concerns me..greatly.
But I’m not going to hide in my house while they sort it out. If I get sick because of my decision, I won’t blame anyone else.
Ultimately, what you do - or choose not to do- is your responsibility.
We’ll keep you posted.