There is a question being thrown out by many in the media today and by others to the effect of how many deaths should be allowed to protect our economy? The question is meant to put on the defensive those that express concern about our national lockdown and keep the country shut in. The correct answer to the number of deaths we should risk, one would think, would be at least equal to the tens of thousands that are killed by the flu each year and additional tens of thousands killed in car accidents, the risk of which we accept to live our lives fully and in other than poverty. We could save these tens of thousands of lives each year if we took no risks and cowered in our homes as some suggest we do now with the Wuhan Virus.
The Spanish Flu of 1918 killed hundreds of thousands in the United States and millions across the world in a much worse pandemic. Although some of the same social distancing measures were deployed then they did not come close to the measures implemented in the United States today. Work in factories, mines, shipyards and other businesses largely continued, despite at least some of this work facilitating the spread of the disease. Some of the businesses were needed for the World War I war effort but also the American people had a much less fear of death than today. Life expectancy just before the war was around 50 years old compared to about 78 years old today. Infant mortality was much greater than today, in fact it was fairly common. People were more familiar with and accepting of death in 1918. Further, and more importantly, people had a greater faith in God and hope of eternal life in Heaven, compared to our post-Christian society today, which minimized their fear of death.
We need to get our country back to work. Our unemployment rate is already similar to depression era levels and will get much worse if businesses are closed much longer. Some experts suggest that up to 40 percent of these lost jobs will never come back. The Wuhan Virus has not proven to be much more, if any, deadly than other flu viruses and not very dangerous to people under 60 without underlying health issues. We can protect the most at risk by keeping them at home for a longer period but at the same time allow most people to get back to work, live their lives and perhaps avoid an economic calamity. Further, we should encourage others to find eternal life in Christ and no longer so fear the sting of death.