Aside from the obvious economic and social implications of the various stages of shutdowns that have affected us all since the plague struck in mid-March, one of the biggest concerns has been education, and rightly so. At first it seemed like most school districts would extend spring break by a week or two, which seemed reasonable, seeing how many students and teachers had traveled to places where there were a lot of COVID-19 cases. And, frankly, our medical leaders were just starting to learn the details about this virus, so overreaction — erring on the side of caution — made perfect sense.

Mug-Thornton, Mark

Mark Thornton

What was discouraging — and illuminating at the same time — was the continuation of the closed classrooms after it became clear that people in the age range of students and most teachers made up an almost incalculable fraction of a percent of deaths and/or seriously symptomatic victims of the virus. 

For those who were concerned about children going all of those months without school, you can put that concern aside. They learned a lot of lessons, along with the rest of us. Here are a few:

• Math and science don’t matter. Of the 75,449 COVID-19 cases that had been reported in our state as of Wednesday night, 2,190 victims of the virus died. That’s terrible and my heart goes out to their loved ones. I’m not insensitive. And I’m definitely not good with numbers. But by my calculations, that’s a 3 percent death rate — and that’s rounding up! For you glass-full types, that’s a 97.1 percent survival rate. 

Those numbers alone don’t seem to justify the complete shutdown of any segment of our society. Reasonable, common-sense precautions are prudent, especially among people who are most vulnerable to the virus because of age or underlying conditions. 

But when you break down the statistics by age group, it really becomes baffling why schools were shut down. That’s because, of the 75,000-plus cases in our state, a little more than 10 percent (7,824) of the virus’ victims were under 18, and of those, only 67 (.085 percent) had to be hospitalized. Do you know how many died? Zero. None. Not a single one. (Our state has, however, recorded two pediatric flu deaths this year.)

The 18-29 age group has the most positive cases of coronavirus, with 16,249. Of those, 16 died. That’s a death rate of .1 percent. Of the 2,190 people who have died of the virus in our state, 1,830 were 60 or older. That’s 84 percent. Of those, more than half were in nursing homes. Again, it’s terrible. I’m not suggesting that anyone is disposable. But a simple look at the unskewed statistics shows where resources and the most restrictive precautions need to be targeted … and school ain’t it.

Yes, I know the argument that the young, asymptomatic people can unknowingly carry the virus to older or otherwise vulnerable people, but no scientist has been able to give me a reasonable explanation for why those susceptible people shouldn’t be the ones to restrict themselves and take extra precautions. And that leads right into another lesson that this plague has reinforced …

• Feelings matter more than facts. Younger generations were already leaning that way, and now a guy who is in the most vulnerable age range for the virus is pushing that notion, too. During the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, party leaders repeatedly referred to presidential nominee Joe Biden as “empathetic.” That’s all well and good, especially with a friend or therapist, but is that the top characteristic of a commander-in-chief? 

We don’t need a guy who is going to kiss our boo-boos and give us milk and cookies; we need someone who is going to fight to put America first and to give us and others a kick in the keester when needed. That’s what was happening with President Trump, whose economy was at historic highs and unemployment was at historic lows pre-plague.

There’s no denying that the man is egotistical and often tone deaf. He has said and tweeted many things that made me cringe. But results are all that should matter. It’s amazing what he was able to accomplish with that pack of ravenous wolves in the Washington, D.C., press corps chomping at him every hour of every day. Funny how the folks who emphasize empathy don’t stop to consider his feelings.

I’m afraid of the message that has been sent on a loop from virtually every mainstream source for five-plus months now: Blame a political party, the president in particular, for everything, including a pandemic. Our country was established on the principle of decentralized government. But now we have people from the highest echelons of academia to adults living in the basement of their parents’ house presenting the message that the president is in control of the spreading of germs, and they criticize him for ceding power to the states and local governments. Nothing has to be rooted in reality or fact, as long as it accomplishes the goal of getting the mean orange man out of the White House.

• Don’t ask questions, cave to fear to stay “safe.” The generation that needed “safe rooms” to avoid hearing opinions that upset them is continuing to learn that it’s not only acceptable, but it’s encouraged to cater to irrational fears. The face mask has become more of a morality test than a method of stopping the spread of the virus. The message from the woke is clear: “If you don’t wear a mask, you don’t care if you kill innocent people.” 

Legitimate questions, such as why the vulnerable shouldn’t be the only ones to wear masks when they go out, and is stopping COVID at all costs worth unintended consequences like increased domestic violence and suicide and decreases in reports of child abuse — are sneeringly discouraged by the woke. So is pointing out readily available statistics and asking if sacrificing the economy and people’s livelihoods has been worth it. 

Their message is simple: If you care, shut up and comply. It’s an interesting stance from people who value academics and put their faith in people with the most degrees and acronyms after their names. After all, if they’re pushing group-think, what’s the point in getting an education?

These are just a few of the many lessons that are being pounded in young minds. God help us.

Mark Thornton is 

editor-in-chief of the 

Leader-Call. Email him at 

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