A week or so ago, while driving home from the coffee shop, I heard a newscaster report that the Pentagon had announced a seventh member of the military had died from the COVID-19 virus. I was stunned, certain that this number was wrong. Surely it must be much higher.
On arriving home, I hit my keyboard and the internet. Turns out I was wrong, and the reporter was right. These numbers should shock us all.
Discounting reserve units, the National Guard, and civilian contractors, the U.S. military has approximately 1.3 million active duty members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Marines. Of that lofty number, only one active member of the United States armed forces has died of COVID-19.
The six other deaths were among the reservists and the Guard, all military personnel who spend most of their times as civilians. Of those who died, only one man, an Army reservist, was under the age of 40. You’ll find that report at the Military Times.
This same article reports that the Pentagon found 38,500 cases of coronavirus among military personnel.
Allow me to repeat myself: our active military forces of 1.3 million people count one death from the coronavirus.
What might we gather from that mind-boggling statistic?
First, the vast majority of those men and women serving in our armed forces are between the ages of 17 and 40. On the other hand, the vast majority of coronavirus deaths have occurred among the elderly.
Next, many of those service personnel are in better shape than the average American. The military insists on physical training and frowns on obesity.
We may also guess that few of those in uniform have underlying health conditions. To enter the service, a recruit must pass a rigorous physical exam and present an acceptable medical history. Again, the great majority of civilian coronavirus deaths occurred in those with two or more other serious health conditions.
We may also surmise that while those in the military may wear masks and practice social distancing, they also work in close proximity to one another on board ships and submarines, inside of helicopters and tanks, and in various other scenarios.
Finally, unlike businesses, restaurants, churches, and schools in the civilian sector, our military's essential personnel continued to function throughout this pandemic. While some sailors, soldiers, and Marines worked from home, many others stood guard, constantly ensuring America was not left defenseless.
We’ve been conned.
Six months ago, our state and local governments told us we needed to lock down for two weeks so that coronavirus patients might not overrun our hospitals. That concern made sense, and we obeyed.
Since then, governments such as the one here in Virginia continue to regulate business operations and the way we attend schools and churches, demanding continued wearing of face masks and social distancing from our fellow citizens.
Judging from the Pentagon’s statistics, the lockdowns, quarantines, and masks ordered by our mayors and governors are bogus. For those of us who are young and are in good health, the danger of death is almost non-existent.
Based on this evidence from our military, it seems it may be time to put a stop to this nonsense. It’s time to allow the young and healthy to resume their lives, return to college and school, play sports, go to parties, and enjoy their youth. It’s time to tell the elderly and the infirm to take responsibility for their own welfare and health. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe appearing in public, then wear a mask or else remain, as some have done, in the safety of your own home. If you live with an older or infirm person, then you should also take precautions.
It’s time to end this quarantine and get back to business – and life – as normal.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.