Administration Updates / Coronavirus / Politics / Safety & Health

Selling Fear – Wrong Message


It is not too late to see that trust in individuals got us here – not selling fear.

President Biden is selling fear – now of Omicron. On Tuesday, he will push new warnings, pivot to another “must get the booster,” scare Americans into prioritizing fear over hope, separation, and isolation over Christmas and Hanukkah. Is that really the right approach?

Writing anything about Omicron is risky, as thoughtful, seasoned doctors tell me. There is so much we do not know. Starting from that premise, what do we know? Several things – and rather than creating fear, they suggest hope and confidence, a return to common sense, basic caution.

First, as a rule, viruses – of which there are objectively billions – replicate, recombine, and change over time with two largely predictable outcomes. The first is a tendency to transmit more easily or with greater frequency. The second is a tendency toward reduced severity.  See, e.g., Maybe Someday Covid-19 Will Be Just Another Common Cold; Omicron possibly more infectious because it shares genetic code with common cold coronavirus, study says.

Second, Omicron appears to mimic many symptoms of the common cold, a pool of known rhinoviruses. While similarities are imperfect and confusing, recombination looks possible.

Specifically, experts report that Omicron symptoms may include “a scratchy throat (as opposed to a sore throat), dry cough, extreme tiredness, mild muscle aches, and night sweats,” while common cold symptoms often include “a blocked or runny nose, sore throat, headaches, muscles aches, coughs, a raised temperature, pressure in your ears and face, and loss of taste and smell.” See, e.g., Omicron variant may have picked up a piece of common-cold virus: experts; These ‘five distinct symptoms’ may help you differentiate Omicron from regular cold; Omicron symptoms may differ from those of other COVID-19 variants.

Putting aside which of these two sets of symptoms is worse, similarities are vexing.  Many people who get Omicron may mistake it for the cold and vice versa. Both are easily transmitted, both may create downstream complications for some, even if easily overcome by others.

Third, numbers are educational and comforting. Sometimes we lose perspective, misunderstand the balance between frequency and severity, allow fear to dominate. The odds of getting struck by lightning, an asteroid, falling tree, or a runaway car are small, yet the idea triggers worry.

Similarly, we walk around every day subject to colds yet fear them little. We have had them, know the drill, runny nose, feeling yucky, recovery, and onward. But something new is necessarily uncertain, and we are programmed to be alert to new uncertainties.

What are the real numbers? They might shock you. Americans get more than a billion colds a year, on average two-to-four per person, managed without hysteria, often ignored. We feel the same thing as before, groan a bit, sleep a bit, rally for “must do” things, and carry on.

How many Omicron cases so far? What is the severity? So far, Omicron – which seems as contagious as colds – accounts for three percent of US COVID cases, 13 percent of new ones. If spreading quickly, like a cold, it seems to leave a relatively light footprint, not like delta. See, e.g., Omicron now makes up almost 3% of U.S. Covid cases, according to the CDC;

Dark voices, many in the media, predict a “tidal wave” which could lead to “record hospitalizations” and “scary” outcomes.  Draconian measures, mandatory boosters, isolation, return to remote learning, new mandates of various types are all forecast. See, e.g., Omicron could bring the worst surge of COVID yet in the U.S. — and fast.

Putting aside political motivations for spreading fear, these voices urge more federal mandates, required booster shots, mail-in ballots (now suddenly discussed), and the idea that Omicron could be worse than delta. All this seems a bit hysterical.

Omicron is distinguishable from the common cold, has produced seven deaths in the United Kingdom, is not the “Omicold.” But defaulting to hysteria seems misplaced, at best premature. See, e.g., 7 Deaths From Omicron Covid-19 Coronavirus Variant In UK, Showing It’s Not The ‘Omicold.’

The reality is that viruses are innumerable, the human body designed to beat them, often forced to struggle in that effort.  If people enter the struggle compromised by a past viral battle, organ weakness, immune deficiency, or underlying medical handicap, they have a harder battle.

But the main point is that perspective should not depart us, cause us to move from basic precautions, realistic evaluation of risk and benefit – person-by-person – to collective hysteria, guided by ubiquitous fear, terrorized by an imagined Black Plague.

Bottom line is that – for various reasons, some understandable, others mystifying – national leaders who should be about calm, confidence, realism, and rational thinking – are selling fear.

That approach – selling fear – is unhealthy and ultimately less effective than trust and truth. In WWII, we did not sell war bonds by saying, “Buy them or your loved one dies,” but appealing to free choice. Encouraging flu shots, we do not tell people, “Get it, or you lose your job.” Good hygiene, hand washing, cough covering is not federally mandated, just strongly encouraged.

Somehow, the currency of modern communication – and President Biden will share some Tuesday – is fear, fear of the virus, fear of speech, fear of our neighbors, fear of climate, fear of anything to trigger emotion, reducing confidence in self, elevating reliance on government.

Missing is a plain vanilla appeal to rationality, self-reliance, awareness, and exercise of good judgment, a thoughtful balance of risks and benefits, less emotion, more devotion to common sense.  It is not too late to see that trust in individuals got us here – not selling fear.

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Robin Walter Boyd
1 year ago

There is no doubt that the more extreme one is on any ideological scale, whether to the extreme right or to the extreme left, the more negative and dourer they are. Since bad news sells, news outlets tend to be mostly to the extreme left, selling fear. But Progressives have gone way beyond just selling fear, they have been shoving fear down our collective throats and getting government agencies to require we swallow that fear. As this article points out, we should be promoting the hope that a less harmful version of the Wuhan virus has provided. From the very first evidence of the so-called omicron version of the Wuhan virus being much less harmful, we should have been promoting to let nature take its course, stop with the vaccines and covering our faces with bacteria laden rags and stop trying to control nature. Instead, Progressives are dwelling on the fact that the omicron version of the Wuhan virus is so much easier to catch. Well; good!

Stephanie Staker
1 year ago

What an excellent op-ed! Mr. Charles did it again. He said what I have been thinking all along. What happened to the government NOT telling us what we need to hear lest it cause fear? Remember those days? I do. Anyone who was a fan of the drama “24” knows that often the public was unaware there was a plague or a nuclear bomb, etc. :) The government was afraid of causing rampant fear. Not anymore! Biden should be ashamed of what he is promoting – “a dark winter of death and doom” (my words but close). I had the virus in September (Delta) and I am almost 77 and have commodities. I did end up in the hospital for 2 days due to low oxygen concentration but I took 2 steps right away when I got sick. I went to America’s Frontline Doctors and got Ivermectin along with a Z-pack (antibiotic), Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, zinc. The second thing I did was ask my doctor for a referral for monoclonal antibody infusion which I got one day later. I ended up in the hospital on day 9 (I think). Other than being dog-tired and no taste for a couple of weeks,I was fine. I am NOT taking jab because I believe that I have better immunity plus it’s obvious that the jab doesn’t work! I prayed and claimed the promises in God’s Word so I sit here today knowing God saw me through Covid. Fear is the opposite of faith.The mantra of fear pushed by Biden, the Dems and the MSM (same thing) is so wrong!

1 year ago

Do you think that he really cares?

Enuf Said
1 year ago

What I cannot understand is–WHY do the vaccinated FEAR the unvaxxed? Simple answer- they can’t stand the idea that ONLY they will suffer the yet to come consequences of their “experimental jab”.

1 year ago

This seems to be the guiding principle behind Fauci/ Biden: “‘Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? … because it is difficult to unite them in one person, it is much safer to be feared than loved …’ — The Prince, Machiavelli

Elizabeth Misa
1 year ago

They are lying about all of it. They are lying about the number of people who have been vaccinated. They are lying to us to get more to take the shots! We have no valid test but continually say that the numbers are up. I don’t believe any of it. Trump also came out with pushing the shots and said that he took the booster. When will he admit he was lied to? He will not get our support in the future if he keeps pushing this agenda!

Stephanie Staker
1 year ago
Reply to  Elizabeth Misa

I simply don’t understand why he got a booster shot!! He had Covid and has better immunity than the shot. I am very disappointed in him. Yes, he was lied to.

1 year ago

Buck Fiden’s new clothes will be the Grim Reaper’s clothing with full hood and carrying a scythe.

1 year ago

It just occurred to me why the Democraps are so pro-mail-out/in-ballots. With the crush of illegals filtering in the Nation, that gives them an easy time to take advantage of that in rigging future elections. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat: Voter ballots should never use the US Mail (or any other) system to handle mail-out-unmarked ballots to voter, nor should the never use the US Mail (or any other) to return filled in ballots to be counted. That is about as close a guarantee of making it a giveaway to the Democrap rigging aspirations and methods. Unmarked ballots should only be handled by the vote dispensing/verifying personnel in charge of the voting site. And the voters’ completed ballots should not be handled by dispensing/personnel when being submitted. It is crucial that the only person that knows for certain how their ballot was marked should be the voter their self. That is so fundamentally basic that I can’t understand why anyone would wish otherwise, unless they were trying to cheat or intimidate voters. There are so many ways to chear and rig and election if you don’t stick with an absolute private vote by a voter. This would include not allowing any voter to have a camera during the vote marking. Elections have consequences and the consequences if a rigged election are almost certain to be bad for accurately getting the majority will of the people (voters).

Terry Materna
1 year ago

Great article.The government just wants to shove FEAR down our throats.sad

1 year ago

Read that last paragraph over, again and again….it is the formula for life whenever confronted with anything out of the ordinary, unknown or suspicious…..or as my dear old Dad would say,, “use your head…boy, and not just for a hat rack….you’ve got a brain, use it. nuf said.

Patricia Billings
1 year ago

Thank you! FEAR is our greatest threat. Haven’t we heard that before?

Mario Capparuccini
1 year ago

Remember that Saul Alinsky commanded to never waste a crisis. The Democrats turn everything into a crisis so they can increase tyranny. We are all sick of it. I do not know about others, but I do not listen to Biden anymore; he is an irrelevancy.

Sharon K Proudfoot
1 year ago

I completely agree, Joe is an irritant and will go down in history as a traitor.

1 year ago

Once again you have written a great article, however I do not live my life in fear. I have God’s word that he will never leave me nor forsake me. He is more powerful than any of the fear pushers

Patty L
1 year ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

Dear HocasPocas,
Thank you very much for the reminder! I really needed that today! God bless you!

1 year ago
Reply to  Patty L

You’re quite welcome Patty. He is taking care of this mess. He handles things according to his will, not ours. He will always take care of his flock. We have to just keep looking to him and he will get us through anything that this world puts upon us.

1 year ago

Sooo sick and tired of all this Debby Downer messaging. Let our great country get back to work, school, no more masks, please. GOD please make this end.

1 year ago

I truly believe if a honest vote was taken of USA legal citizens to impeach Joe Hidin’ Biden, it would be close to a 2/3 majority to do so. Alas, however, I’m not convinced an honest vote can be truly conducted at this time in history.

1 year ago

One little trick Communism uses to hook tolerance subtly to the citizenry. … keep them focused on something that draws away attention from the Democraps fouling our Constitutional Democracy as the key strategy in distracting the citizenry’s attention to the political chicanery that they are using (e.g. rigged elections, worry the citizens that a massive infliction of some disease is afoot and the government is in control). AIDS, EBOLA, etc. …. major diseases that needed public and medical attention and some public caution, but didn’t require a Democrap to lead the way fighting it Of course the Liberal News Media loves the panic mode …. it sells news (advertising income rises). And at this point in time, I not only believe Joe Hidin’ Biden is incompetent and a puppet … I think he is close to clinical insanity.

George Washington's Admirer
1 year ago
Reply to  Hal

Absolutely right on, spot on, and within one nanometer of accuracy!! Communism, as you have just pointed out uses distraction tactics… Whilst we are focused, scared, and chomping at the bit;
the little Marxists are carting away with our country!! That is where the FEAR TACTICS come in handy. They want us to beg the Mafia Marxists to save our little bacon! They don’t give a rat’s left buttocks about our health, equality, education or well being. They are simply confiscating everything we stand for! Its sort of like a jewelry heist; where a distraction is created at the front of the store; whilst masked bandits are carting off sapphires, diamonds, and all of the money in the safe! (And, its no coincidence that they are also ‘masked bandits’.) Again, you are SPOT ON!

Kathy Monroe
1 year ago

Thank you for speaking sanity and truth. 24/7 all you hear is covid, masks, vaccines, boosters, we are all going to die!!! So sick of it.

1 year ago

Stop listening to MSM! The reporters, writers, tv personalities are in it for the money and provide false information. Rumors create chaos and chaos creates panic. Eat well, sleep well, keep stress in check, exercise in some form, take vitamins, create a content environment and stay away from anything toxic…people, street drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, etc…most important, get help if you need it.

Patty L
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary

Excellent advice, Mary!! Thank you!!

Geraldine McGann
1 year ago

“Winter of Death” per Biden.
This isn’t the Black Plague!
Stir up the fake fear!

Tim Thompson
1 year ago

Democrats don’t have a positive attitude about anything as we see in Biden’s latest speech from his podium stating unvaccinated people can expect to catch Omicron and die from it, just wait, almost hoping his words will be true. This feeble old man who is a crime boss in his family and now is President of the United States through criminal vote packing to win should just shut his mouth on the Christmas last couple of weeks we American’s love to enjoy. His negativity just is typical especially since we all have heard from Australia that the virus is very mild and does not seem to be a threat that our government is trying to perceive to us. Seems funny that not many Washington politicians have come down with it especially Democrats. Seems they must be immune from it.

If Democrats didn’t hate America because they have been infested with socialists and communist influences they would step back and let Americans know we are a nation full of positive individuals that can overcome anything, especially during the Christmas season of good hope and merriment.

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