Our two tribes disagree about the Coronavirus also

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ASPartOfMe
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16 Mar 2020, 12:57 am

A new poll shows a startling partisan divide on the dangers of the coronavirus

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A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has revealed sharp partisan divides between Americans over the coronavirus pandemic.

The poll found 68 percent of Democrats are worried that someone in their family could catch the virus, while just 40 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of independents share that concern.

The gulf in perception over an outwardly nonpolitical issue underscores how signals from politicians and media outlets have played a critical role in shaping how seriously Americans are taking a viral outbreak that has overwhelmed health care systems and triggered mass quarantines in several countries around the world.

Nearly 80 percent of Democrats believe the worst is yet to come, but just 40 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents believe that. Overall, 53 percent of all voters are concerned that someone in their immediate family might contract the coronavirus, and 60 percent believe the worst is yet to come.

The poll also found 56 percent of Democrats believe their day-to-day lives will change in a major way in the future — while just 26 percent of Republicans hold that view.

In response to every question about whether a respondent would change plans that would expose them to others, like travel, eating out at restaurants, and attending large gatherings, Democratic voters consistently responded affirmatively at much higher rates than Republicans. For example, 61 percent of Democrats said they’ve stopped or plan to stop attending large public gatherings, but only 30 percent of Republicans said the same.

The partisan disconnect is not due to a lack of information among conservatives or a function of not hearing much about the outbreak in certain regions of the country. NBC reports that 99 percent of respondents said they’ve seen, heard, or read about the spread of the coronavirus and 89 percent say they’ve heard “a lot” about it — the highest percentage that one of their polls has found for a major event since 2009.

The more likely explanation is that, as with so many other issues, people with different political ideologies consume different kinds of information and take cues on how to think about events from different political figures and institutions. Given that President Donald Trump and media institutions that cater to conservative audiences, like Fox News, have been downplaying the issue from day one, it’s not surprising that Republican voters are not nearly as alarmed as Democrats.

Ever since it has been clear that the US was at risk of a serious outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Trump has continually downplayed the risks it poses and dragged his feet on policy responses that would help contain and mitigate the spread of the virus. Reporting indicates that he has done this in part because he’s worried about the political damage that would accompany treating the situation as a full-blown crisis.


Manliness and the Coronavirus by John Podhoretz for Commentary Magazine
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I want to propose a theory about why the polls suggest Republicans and conservatives are taking the threat of the coronavirus less seriously and are apparently far less unnerved by the breakout than others—a theory that goes beyond the “they’re just trying to destroy Donald Trump and I’m not buying into it” narrative. I think it’s about how the Right is more generally trying to hold fast to notions about how people ought to behave at a moment of crisis and personal peril that are anathematic to the political and social culture of the present day.

In short, they feel that the panic is unmanly.

Let me explain what I mean. Obviously, preparing seriously before and during a time of danger is something that any responsible person is supposed to do. The question is, what does it mean to prepare seriously? Does it mean publicly expressing fear and terror of an invisible force that is approaching from afar, or does it mean sobering up and getting to work in a methodical way to ensure the least amount of damage is done to you, your loved ones, and others?

Does it mean expressing an almost lubricious negative glee at the size of the potential catastrophe awaiting us, but hiding that strange impulse behind a veneer of concern and prophetic anger—or does it mean a dispassionate determination?

Does it mean battening down the hatches and securing the immediate safety of those for whom you are responsible? Or does it mean delivering lectures on social media on the grounds that everyone is responsible for everyone else and that, therefore, your impulse to finger-wag and tell others what they should be doing is not presumptuous but somehow noble?

Does it mean playing the strong-and-silent type or emoting like a countertenor in an overripe operetta?

Our culture privileges the emotive and disdains the restrained, and has for a half-century—from former NFL footballer and world-famous knitter Rosey Grier singing “It’s All Right to Cry,” to young boys on the “Free to Be You and Me” record in 1972, to Joaquin Phoenix choking up at the 2020 Oscars at the evil of us stealing a cow’s milk for our morning coffee. And when people in authority began saying a few weeks ago that they were canceling things and shutting things down “out of an abundance of caution,” they were pushing a button they did not understand they were pushing. Plenty of people read that or heard that and got their backs up. Somewhere inside them, they heard a voice pushing back, saying, “Oh, stop being such a sniveling coward.”

When you give people the idea that the taciturn restraint of previous eras is a form of emotional withdrawal rather than a different kind of engagement with the world’s realities, the way they emote in response is going to be very different from Rosey Grier’s. The conservative counterculture is full of its own kind of raw emotiveness, which has its own tone. What is Donald Trump doing on Twitter when he rages against FAKE NEWS and other evil phenomena in all caps but letting it all hang out in 280 characters? His overarching theme, and that of the tendency he represents, is that the worries and fears and anxieties of liberal culture are nonsense, at best, and evil, at worst.

The idea that you basically have to put an entire economy on hold to kill off an invisible threat isn’t as intuitive as those who are screaming at other people on the Internet about it seem to think. The idea that people overreact and that wiser and calmer heads should prevail is a comforting one in times of peril, too. And it dovetails with the classic division Chris Matthews described nearly 30 years ago when he said that the Democrats were the Mommy Party and the Republicans were the Daddy Party. One party was worried your back might be aching; the other wanted to make sure you had a strong spine.

Things don’t break down that neatly in the time of the Coronavirus, of course. We’re three decades gone from Matthews’s observation, and the Daddy Party doesn’t even have the spine it once did—a manliness that might have led it to take the threat with deadly seriousness and to start preparing in earnest rather than pooh-poohing the danger all together.


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auntblabby
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31 Mar 2020, 11:55 pm

time for some kinda divorce, i say.



JD12345
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01 Apr 2020, 1:58 am

I wouldn't be part of either or any 'tribe'. I am actually capable of thinking for myself.



EzraS
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01 Apr 2020, 7:30 am

It reminds me a lot of the divide on climate change.

Democrats: There's going to be a disaster.

Republicans and independents: No there isn't.



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01 Apr 2020, 9:53 am

It's worth saying again that belief proves nothing.


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03 Apr 2020, 3:06 am

A COVID-19 culture war that can kill us

Cathy Young is a contributing editor to Reason magazine.

Quote:
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to burn its way through America and the world and millions hunker down in their homes, many of the cultural issues that only recently sparked fierce debate now seem oddly irrelevant.

Does anyone want to argue about politically correct language when we’re facing disaster?

These days, a “safe space” is one in which you are protected from a deadly infection, not from offensive ideas. Even the controversy over President Donald Trump’s attempt to troll the media by using the term “Chinese virus” faded quickly. And while a few feminists have tried to claim that women are hardest hit by the pandemic even though more men are dying, no one’s paying much attention.

But the culture wars haven’t gone away — they’ve only shifted focus. While the so-called social justice warriors on the left have mostly grown quiet, the culture warriors on the right have found a new battlefield in opposition to epidemic control measures. It’s a stance that is not only divisive but actively dangerous.

For weeks, right-wing media figures such as radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Fox News host Laura Ingraham have been promoting a “no big deal” narrative about the COVID-19 epidemic (Limbaugh has even insisted that it’s nothing more than “the common cold”). They have also railed against stay-at-home orders intended to flatten the curve of the virus and curb the spread of the disease. Some have backed away from that position now that Trump seems to take the coronavirus seriously and has abandoned his plan to “reopen” America by Easter. Yet Limbaugh still insists that the epidemic is overrated and grumbling that our response to it is dictated by unelected health experts who are part of the insidious “Deep State.”

Conservative commentator, radio talk show host and frequent Fox News guest Jesse Kelly still rails against the quarantines on Twitter, warning that our economy is being turned into a “smoldering wreckage.” But the economy isn’t Kelly’s only concern; he believes that the epidemic is an excuse for leftists to turn America into a progressive tyranny. “We’re reporting our fellow citizens to the police, deciding which businesses are allowed to open, and arresting pastors for having a church service,” Kelly tweeted on Tuesday. “Coronavirus is not the deadliest thing we imported from China.”

Kelly has also connected the lockdown to his perennial theme of the liberal-driven decline of manhood in America: the lockdown, he says, shows that “we’ve apparently become the scared suburban housewife society,” cowering in our homes while being terrorized by “the prophets of doom.” The culture warriors seem to think that risking exposure to the coronavirus to save the economy is somehow akin to risking one’s life in battle. Apparently, they still haven’t realized that in this war, a person who becomes infected can quickly become an unwitting enemy weapon.

Other pundits on the far right are stoking hate toward the progressive, multicultural cities that are seen as strongholds of “blue” America and that are hardest hit by the coronavirus. Sean Davis, a contributor to The Federalist — a once-interesting conservative website that has become a home to crackpot conspiracy theories — recently lamented on Twitter that the rest of the country was being shut down “because New York City is a filthy, disease-ridden dystopia run by an incompetent communist.”

It’s not just a matter of vile rhetoric. The coronavirus deniers actively encourage people to defy the quarantine and promote conspiracy theories that depict the epidemic as a hoax.

This culture war could literally kill us.


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auntblabby
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03 Apr 2020, 3:20 am

and satan laughs.



Drake
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03 Apr 2020, 7:26 am

Does it have anything to do with the states though? Are blue states harder hit than red ones? And obviously cities are going to take the worst of it, and cities tend to be blue, while rural America tends to be red.



auntblabby
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03 Apr 2020, 7:31 am

it seems that the red states are the ones that dragged their feet on this, so it stands to reason that they will get bit harder than the ones that prepared early enough to prevent the worst.



Tw1ggy
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10 Apr 2020, 2:17 pm

Civil War - embrace it! :twisted:



auntblabby
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11 Apr 2020, 5:28 am

let me matriculate into heaven first.



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11 Apr 2020, 8:19 am

I think it was ASPartofMe also who shared about New Zealand's strategy being effective in part because it was apolitical and everyone agreed to keep politics out of it...they are also lucky to be more isolated compared to other countries in this situation..

just like ASD makes u less likely to miss going out with friends like NTs ..since that was already the case before the lockdowns...even if it was sad it saves u from added sadness now


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ASPartOfMe
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11 May 2020, 11:15 am

Face masks make a political statement in era of coronavirus

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The decision to wear a mask in public is becoming a political statement — a moment to pick sides in a brewing culture war over containing the coronavirus.

While not yet as loaded as a “Make America Great Again” hat, the mask is increasingly a visual shorthand for the debate pitting those willing to follow health officials' guidance and cover their faces against those who feel it violates their freedom or buys into a threat they think is overblown.

That resistance is fueled by some of the same people who object to other virus restrictions. The push back has been stoked by President Donald Trump — he didn't wear a mask during an appearance at a facility making them — and some other Republicans, who have flouted rules and questioned the value of masks. It's a development that has worried experts as Americans are increasingly returning to public spaces.

“There’s such a strong culture of individualism that, even if it’s going to help protect them, people don’t want the government telling them what to do,” said Linsey Marr, a Virginia Tech engineering professor with experience in airborne transmission of viruses.

Inconclusive science and shifting federal guidance have muddied the political debate. Health officials initially said wearing masks was unnecessary, especially amid a shortage of protective materials. But last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending wearing cloth masks in crowded public situations to prevent transmitting the virus.

Whether Americans are embracing the change may depend on their political party. While most other protective measures like social distancing get broad bipartisan support, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they're wearing a mask when leaving home, 76% to 59%, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The split is clear across several demographics that lean Democratic. People with college degrees are more likely than those without to wear masks when leaving home, 78% to 63%. African Americans are more likely than either white people or Hispanic Americans to say they’re wearing masks outside the home, 83% to 64% and 67%, respectively.

The notable exception is among older people, a group particularly vulnerable to serious illness from the virus. Some 79% of those age 60 and over were doing so compared with 63% of those younger.

“Who knows what the truth is on masks?” asked Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who, unlike some of his colleagues, went without a mask in the Senate. Paul already contracted the virus and believes he is no longer contagious.

That was a long way from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's moral argument for masks days earlier.

“How people cannot wear masks — that to me is even disrespectful,” Cuomo said. “You put so many people at risk because you did not want to wear a mask?"

Effectiveness aside, politicians of both parties are clued into the powerful symbolism of the mask, and many Americans take their cues from the president.

Trump was barefaced when he spoke to masked journalists, workers and Secret Service agents at the Arizona factory Tuesday. He later said he briefly wore a mask backstage but took it off because facility personnel told him he didn't need it.

But Trump has been mask averse for weeks. Within minutes of the CDC announcing its updated mask recommendations, he said, “I don’t think that I’m going to be doing it.”

Trump has told advisers that he believes wearing one would “send the wrong message,” according to one administration and two campaign officials not authorized to publicly discuss private conversations. The president said doing so would make it seem like he is preoccupied with health instead of focused on reopening the nation’s economy — which his aides believe is the key to his reelection chances.

Moreover, Trump, who is known to be especially cognizant of his appearance on television, has also told confidants that he fears he would look ridiculous in a mask and the image would appear in negative ads.

“It’s a vanity thing, I guess, with him,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Trump on MSNBC. “You’d think, as the president of the United States, you would have the confidence to honor the guidance he’s giving the country.”

That's left those around him unsure of how to proceed. White House aides say the president hasn’t told them not to wear them, but few do. Some Republican allies have asked Trump's campaign how it would be viewed by the White House if they were spotted wearing a mask.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Thursday that he himself wears a mask when near others but said of Trump, “The president has his doctor around him all the time" and makes "sure what he does is correct.”

Meanwhile, Trump's reelection campaign has ordered red Trump-branded masks and is considering giving them away at events or in return for donations. But some advisers are concerned the president will eventually sour on the idea.

That uncertainty was on display last week, when Vice President Mike Pence went maskless at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He later said he should have worn one and did during a subsequent trip to a ventilator plant. Pence didn't wear a mask Thursday while dropping off supplies at a rehabilitation center outside Washington — but he also didn't go in.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he wears a mask when interacting with the Secret Service. But dilemmas for politicians and other Americans are going to increase as parts of the country ease stay-at-home orders. Such tensions have already flared in Michigan, where a dispute over a mask turned deadly.

One of the earliest communities to require masks in public was Laredo, Texas. A $1,000 noncompliance fine was negated by an order from the governor, but Mayor Pete Saenz said his community is still asking citizens to comply so hospitals aren't overtaxed with new cases.

“We don’t want to violate anyone’s civil liberties,” Saenz said. But "we can’t help you, if it’s beyond our medical capacity, whether you exercise your civil liberties or not.”


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11 May 2020, 12:09 pm

I suspect that one of the reasons why this divide exist is because of age. IMHO as people age they become more conservative over time. I am over 71 years old. I have seen how past coronavirus pandemics have played out several times. They have been overhyped, by the media, politicians, so called experts, and those who live for panic. We will look back in a few years from now and think "What were we doing!"

We allowed a threat comparable to the common cold to capture our complete and utter attention and turn us into anxiety driven pandemic dweebs, afraid of out own shadow.


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11 May 2020, 2:11 pm

jimmy m wrote:
I suspect that one of the reasons why this divide exist is because of age. IMHO as people age they become more conservative over time. I am over 71 years old. I have seen how past coronavirus pandemics have played out several times. They have been overhyped, by the media, politicians, so called experts, and those who live for panic. We will look back in a few years from now and think "What were we doing!"

We allowed a threat comparable to the common cold to capture our complete and utter attention and turn us into anxiety driven pandemic dweebs, afraid of out own shadow.

This doesn’t hold a lick of water.

Firstly, the divide is only seen in America, and there is best explained by consumption of Fox News rather than age or political beliefs.

Secondly, all adults today will be able to remember at least three scares over coronaviruses - SARS, bird flu in 2007?, swine flu in 2009. None of those ended up as bad as imagined.

Thirdly, as a result of the above, from day one this disease has been underhyped. We all thought this would be another bird flu. It was much worse.

Fourthly, I assume you have confused the common cold with the flu. Claiming COVID-19 is no worse than the cold is like claiming that everyone in Pittsburgh is ten foot tall.

Even compared to seasonal flu, which kills on one in a thousand occasions, COVID-19 presently seems to be approximately 30-40 times more deadly and more than twice as infectious. That 30-40 will come down but it is unlikely to come down to 1. COVID-19 sufferers also seem to have worse symptom profiles than influenza sufferers - one of the ways the two are distinguished is that COVID-19 is ten times more likely to cause you to lose your sense of smell (which tends to also inhibit taste).

Ten years from now we’ll look back and say “through our hard work and sacrifice we stopped it becoming the Spanish flu”.



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11 May 2020, 7:04 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
jimmy m wrote:
I suspect that one of the reasons why this divide exist is because of age. IMHO as people age they become more conservative over time. I am over 71 years old. I have seen how past coronavirus pandemics have played out several times. They have been overhyped, by the media, politicians, so called experts, and those who live for panic. We will look back in a few years from now and think "What were we doing!"

We allowed a threat comparable to the common cold to capture our complete and utter attention and turn us into anxiety driven pandemic dweebs, afraid of out own shadow.


Fourthly, I assume you have confused the common cold with the flu.

Yup, I misspoke. Meant the influenza, the common flu.
The common cold, including chest cold and head cold, and seasonal flu are caused by viruses. Cold symptoms including sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and cough. Flu symptoms are similar, but include fever, headache and muscle soreness.

Comparing the number of deaths in the U.S. with the influenza shows:

2018-2019 influenza season - 34,200
2017-2018 influenza season - 61,099
2016-2017 influenza season - 38,230
2015-2016 influenza season - 22,705
2014-2015 influenza season - 51,376
2013-2014 influenza season - 37,930
2012-2013 influenza season - 42,570
2011-2012 influenza season - 12,447
2010-2011 influenza season - 36,656

Currently the U.S. has 79,935 deaths due to COVID-19. I don't remember anytime the U.S. shut down their economy and went into widespread quarantine due to the flu.

There were two great influenza pandemics in my lifetime. The 1957 Asian influenza [H2N2], 1968 Hong Kong influenza [H3N2].

The 1957 Asian influenza killed at least 1 million people worldwide.
The 1968 Hong Kong influenza killed an estimated 1 million people worldwide.

Compare it with the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic which so far has killed 284,628 people.
-------------------------------------------------------------
In the past there was no panic. People just said their prayers and took their chances. Here is an excerpt from an article by an 80 year old, who remembers the 1957 Asian influenza.

In fact, even at my advanced 80-something age, I find the whole Covid-19 panic to be strange and troubling. I’ve lived through epidemics before, but they didn’t crash the stock market, wreck a booming economy, and shut down international travel. They didn’t stop the St. Patrick’s Day parade or the NCAA basketball tournament, and they didn’t drop the curtain on Broadway shows. Will these extreme measures have any real effect on the spread of Covid-19 in New York, or America? We’re about to find out.

My first encounter with a global pandemic came in October 1957, when I spent a week in my college infirmary with a case of the H2N2 virus, known at the time by the politically incorrect name of “Asian flu.” My fever spiked to 105, and I was sicker than I’d ever been. The infirmary quickly filled with other cases, though some ailing students toughed it out in their dorm rooms with aspirin and orange juice. The college itself did not close, and the surrounding town did not impose restrictions on public gatherings. The day that I was discharged from the infirmary, I played in an intercollegiate soccer game, which drew a big crowd.

It’s not that Asian flu—the second influenza pandemic of the twentieth century—wasn’t a serious disease. Worldwide, this flu strain killed somewhere between 1 and 2 million people. More than 100,000 died in the U.S. alone. And yet, to the best of my knowledge, governors did not call out the National Guard, and political panic-mongers did not blame it all on President Eisenhower. College sports events were not cancelled, planes and trains continued to run, and Americans did not regard one another with fear and suspicion, touching elbows instead of hands. We took the Asian flu in stride. We said our prayers and took our chances.


Source: Say Your Prayers and Take Your Chances


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