Has Bucknell forgotten about Covid-19?


Tris Lehner, Contributing Writer

The answer to the question upon which this article is based, I’m delighted to say, is a resounding yes. Bucknell has forgotten about the coronavirus, and that is a beautiful and heartwarming thing. 

As far as our locality is concerned, Union County, Covid cases have precipitously declined since exactly one year ago today. Over that same course of time, hospitalization rates have fallen by a factor of 15, and total cases are effectively nil. And under current Medicare provisions, hospitals are financially rewarded for inflating such figures. Medicare grants hospitals $13,000 for every reported Covid patient, and $39,000 for every ventilator patient. So it is very likely my figures are indeed an overestimation. 

Even Joe Biden announced the pandemic “over” just last September. So yes, Bucknell has forgotten about Covid, and for good reason. But, Bucknell may remember Covid too. We may fall prey to the fear mongering over new strains and novel respiratory pathogens ,to which we will respond I’m sure with stringent new mask mandates, and forced testing for the unvaccinated.

These are actions I would fervently caution against, yet must accept as the ineluctable fate of myself and every other Bucknell student and faculty member. Isn’t it always that which cannot be seen that we most fear? Viruses and maladies, Gods and Deities, and environmental calamities. It’s never the people you can reach out and touch, like your boss, like your ex, like your professor who’s making your life hell. It’s Covid. That’s what you ought to fear. Well no actually. 

As a body of students largely between the ages of 18-22, Bucknell is more than safe from Covid-19. The mortality rate for us students is below one percent, and any, if not all cases, would almost certainly be linked to co-morbidities. The CDC estimates suggest 94 percent of all Covid deaths were indeed deaths coupled with co-morbidities or pre-existing conditions. In other words, six percent of all Covid deaths were solely from Covid alone.

None of this is to say that the virus isn’t serious, or it poses no threat or we should all just ignore public health altogether. It just means we must be mindful of the severity of our responses to these sorts of breakouts. Who knows how psychologically damaged young children will be, as a consequence of forced mask mandates and social isolation. Who knows what that has done to introverted kids who’ll be looking for places to hide every chance they get? Who knows what it’s done to us?

They say it can take decades before the success of a US president can truly be ascertained. This is of course because it can take years before we collectively bear the brunt of policy X on industry Y. We thought masks would stop transmission. We now know they were just sheets of melt blown polypropylene accumulating bacteria.

In 1998, nobody thought Clinton’s failure to counter Al-Qaeda’s African embassy bombings would kill 3,000 Americans three years later. It wasn’t even considered a failure at the time. But it was. As are many of the public health concerns that beckon to us in this very moment.

They are a failure of reason, and a betrayal of our comrades in arms, who deserve nothing short of bodily freedom and medical independence. So, if thunder strikes, don’t let us down Bucknell.

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