Jackson-Wink MMA co-owner Mike Winkeljohn recently received criticism for comparing measures taken to address COVID-19 in his home state of New Mexico to Hitler. The image and quote he used weren't even of Hitler, unfortunately casting himself as a buffoon, and by association the larger argument as absent any reason.
“There’s no doubt I made a mistake, in that I [misattributed] a quote that’s been used many, many times on the internet. … Yeah, I was wrong, so sorry about that," said the coach." But my point is that there are other things which are more important. A lot of people aren’t going to talk about that.”
Jackson-Wink MMA has been shut down since March 23, and the coach wants to reopen Further, he questions whether unintended effects of the quarantine will cause more death and disorder than the disease itself.
“I want to get back to work,” he said. “I think the quarantine is very important for people at risk. … We’ve got to keep them quarantined, keep them in a safe place. [But] I think everybody else has got to get back to work. … I think too many people are getting caught up in being on vacation and thinking the government is going to take care of them. History has shown that doesn’t work. Never has, and it’s not going to.”
“How many kids are being molested right now because nobody’s reporting it? Kids aren’t going to school. Child molesters are stuck with kids 24/7. You think these things are going to go away? No, they’re going to increase.
“How many people are going to die from diseases and illnesses not being diagnosed because people can’t or are scared to go to the hospital? Ask the UN how many kids will die worldwide from malnutrition. How many families will go bankrupt and lose their health insurance? How many suicides?”
The comparison to Hitler is dumbass, but the larger questions are fair, and have not been adequately addressed in the national dialogue.
The average age of a COVID-19 death in my home state of Massachusetts is 82; the average life expectancy in Mass is 80. The number of deaths here for ages under 18 is zero.
The former stat is not offered to minimize the importance of deaths of the elderly; my mom is elderly. However, there are vital and unanswered questions about the real cost of the COVID-19 cure. As Winkeljohn referenced, the UN warns that the response to the pandemic will push 130 million people across the globe to the brink of starvation, due to job loss and quarantine. What is the anticipated death rate increase from the COVID-19 response due to job loss, the lack of access to medical care, drug counseling, and countless other factors?
Death from heart disease has been shown to increase by 15-30 percent in men unemployed for more than 90 days. Among older workers, involuntary job loss can more than double the risk of stroke. Social isolation, in and of itself is associated with a 30 percent increase in mortality risk (Scientific American). And how is the economic devastation factored into the cost?
Further, Flattening the Curve does not decrease the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, it simply extends the time it takes to reach the same level, in order to not overwhelm healthcare capacity, which could, in turn, cause further deaths through forced triage. This is not the case, of course, if a vaccine could be created in short order, and people took it, both of which are very much in question.
We need multiple open and difficult discussions. How do we value the cost of life against economic costs? For the record, the figure often used is $150,000 - if, for example, a safety modification on an automobile costs more than $150,000 per life saved, then it's deemed not worth it. The government alone is spending trillions, never mind the cost of job loss. One trillion dollars at $150 thousand per life is 6,666,666 lives. How many trillions are spent and lost on the response to COVID-19? Are we saving a reasonable number of lives for the bucks spent?
Full disclosure, like Winklejohn, I own a fight gym, and it's shuttered until who knows when. I would like to reopen too, but right now, due to a lack of difficult discussion nationally and internationally, I'm left with questions, not answers. Anyone with answers, I would be grateful to hear them.