The number of deaths caused by the virus that has pinned most of us inside our homes these past few weeks quietly ticked over to “2” in Contra Costa County overnight – an almost imperceptible increase most would have missed had they not been looking for it.
We’ve been looking for it. Not because we’re the be-fanged Fake News Vampires many apparently believe we are but rather because we’d been told of another death and asked why it wasn’t being reported.
Being basically responsible citizens when we’re not busy raking muck we put the question to official sources we know and trust and stood by their answer: “No new deaths” and passed that along to readers who asked, despite the similarity of details in their inquiries. An address. A name. A pattern of behavior which may have led to exposure.
We. Don’t. Know. But the similarities in the inquiries made us wonder. It was a pattern of questioning we’ve seen borne out into truth before. But we stuck with the official line.
Also bumping around in our little heads is the fact that “2” is not a mere number to us. It signifies the loss of another person. Another life… another family hammered by the cruelest of realities. We get it. We’ve been there. A lot.
We also understand the official rationale – to a point. “Patient privacy.” “We don’t want to cause panic.” “We’ll release appropriate information at the appropriate time.” “Still under investigation.”
But, during an unprecedented time with most of the county – indeed the entire country – under lockdown, and many of life’s basic metrics apparently hanging in the balance, we wondered if perhaps more official transparency wasn’t needed. Actually required.
We’ve seen the detrimental effect of – what shall we call it? – wooden-headed disinformation spewing out of the mouths of elected officials in recent weeks, statements that left us shaking our admittedly already skeptical heads and murmuring “what the freezer door is this guy talking about?”
We don’t need that right now. We need clarity. And with full respect for the departed why can’t we be trusted to know where they were from? When they died? An age range? Any behavioral patterns which may have contributed to their demise? Why are we not allowed to know these things?
Despite opinions expressed to the contrary we don’t get our information from any of the cable news networks – having abandoned all of them years ago – but rather a thinning network of established professionals who share data and information in a variety of ways. What draws us to them? Well, for one thing they’re professionals and experts in their field and – dare we say it? – they’ve been right.
Sadly, we’re also seeing them quietly throttled by their own platforms and, we are left to imagine, unnamed others who may not want their information shared in a public way. We do find this practice, if confirmed to be true, distressing in the least.
Because our point today is that people and institutions are fighting for control of the narrative, for the privilege to tell the story the way they want it told – we are left to assume in a way that benefits them and the continuation of that specific institution. We have seen this done locally and we think it concerning.
At least it is to us. Is it to you? Or are you content with the version of things you’re being given?