I am sure that everyone that has ever turned on the news in the past four or so months is sick of hearing about how deadly COVID-19 is, how people are so irresponsible, and how we must keep six foot spacing at all times. This group of people would include me, and I can speak for everyone else, we get it.

We live in some strange times, I am just graduating high school, and never in my life time did I think that I would have a private graduation with all the school officials, it was actually reported in the paper in the previous weeks, unfortunately I was going to miss official graduation as I am preparing to leave for Fort Benning as I will begin my service in the Army in June.

But regardless, we are seeing changes in everyone’s lives, this whole thing has caused hassle and inconvenience for everyone. But I have delved into the numbers, and it is strange to me how some of it pieces together. And to preface what I am about to conclude, by no means am I a denier of the danger of COVID-19, and follow all protocols set in place to keep you and your family safe. To begin we will go back to CDC reports in late in 2019.

If you’ve been on the internet or ever turned on your TV in these unprecedented times you will know the name Dr. Anthony Fauci. And he is not just the coronavirus guy, he is the Director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, to put it lightly, he is a pretty important guy outside of the COVID-19 committee. Back in January of this year, Fauci came out and said that the 2019-2020 flu season was “on track to be as severe as the 2017-2018 season” CNN reported. Remember, by the end of January just five cases of coronavirus had been reported in the United States. The CDC report by January had concluded that cities such as Washington, D.C., and New York City were experiencing high flu activity. This is what started my interest into the whole reporting issue with COVID-19. In addition to this Fauci told CNN that the people at most risk of fatality because of influenza were 2 or younger, of 65 and older. Sound familiar?

Here is an alarming number, 76,000+, that number was the CDC’s official estimate of deaths from influenza in the 2017-2018 flu season. Recalling what I mentioned earlier Fauci said that the season of 2019-2020 was to be as severe if not more severe than 2017-2018. In my research I found, the CDC’s estimate of how many flu deaths had occurred this year so far. The number? Well they do not provide an exact number, but the range put out as of April (considered the end of the flu season) 24,000-45,000. That is short of what was estimated. That number hits far off of 76,000. Now what is the official number of COVID-19 deaths, 101,000.

You could easily say, “the Coronavirus is for more deadly than the flu.” And I would say that would a naïve point of view. Think about it. What have we always been told? There is a shortage of COVID tests. Not everyone could possibly be tested. So where is the number coming from? To make my case, I believe that the Coronavirus is being over reported and blown out of proportion. This is not good. We the people are not being given accurate numbers, we have shut down the economy, putting people out of work, sending the country into a recession, by something we cannot even confirm. Again, I would like to say I am not denying that COVID is a dangerous disease, but what else is dangerous and comes back every year, influenza.

Now maybe I am wrong, I could very well be over thinking the whole situation, and I do believe it is important to protect our most vulnerable, but we should also be doing that during the flu season yearly anyway. Every life is something to be cherished and preserved to the best of our ability. But we need truth, and accuracy. Remember, wear that mask and keep your distance.

Ryan Humphries is a 2020 graduate of Banks County High School.

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