Eight Republican Senators voted against the coronavirus relief bill that would, in part, provide some American workers with paid sick leave. Among those is Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a pro-life conservative who doesn’t seem to care if millions of Americans die from the potentially deadly outbreak.
“Right now, all people are hearing about are the deaths,” Johnson told the New York Times last week. “I’m sure the deaths are horrific, but the flip side of this is the vast majority of people who get coronavirus do survive.”
That’s sweet — but Americans, except for the privileged, have not been tested so the virus is spreading exponentially. The package Johnson voted against, includes provisions for free testing for COVID-19.
Then, Johnson did an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and somehow managed to make things worse.
“I’m not denying what a nasty disease COVID-19 can be, and how it’s obviously devastating to somewhere between 1 and 3.4 percent of the population,” he said.
“But that means 97 to 99 percent will get through this and develop immunities and will be able to move beyond this. But we don’t shut down our economy because tens of thousands of people die on the highways,” he continued. “It’s a risk we accept so we can move about. We don’t shut down our economies because tens of thousands of people die from the common flu…”
“[G]etting coronavirus is not a death sentence except for maybe no more than 3.4 percent of our population (and) I think probably far less,” he added.
However — and I’m not a stable genius, but I do have a calculator — the U.S. Population is close to 340 million now. 3.4 million is about 1 percent, and 3.4 percent would be nearly 12 million American deaths. Since Johnson wants to compare the deadly disease to the flu, we can play that game, too. In the 14th century, the Black Death killed 50 million people, and that, of course, was before modern medicine.
And of course, if the “tens of thousands” who die on the highways suddenly doubled in about three weeks, we might do something about it.
As of Wednesday, the coronavirus has killed 2,978 across Italy, all buried or cremated without ceremony. The U.S. is on a trajectory to mirror Italy’s death toll if we do not practice self-isolation. And to flatten the COVID-19 curve, all Americans need to be tested.
Johnson voted against that.
Featured image via screen capture
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