By John J. Duncan Jr.

During the 1957-58 flu season, I was in the fifth grade at Chillhowee School in East Knoxville, there was a worldwide pandemic then that originated in China called the Asian flu.

Both the US and world populations were only a little over 60% of today’s figures, but the CDC estimated worldwide deaths at 1.1 million.  British estimates were higher, being somewhere between one and four million.

In the US, we had deaths equivalent to 220,000 today.  During that pandemic nothing was shut down and the economy quickly recovered.

Back then, there were not constant 24-hour-a-day newscasts about the numbers of deaths or the numbers testing positive.

As I write this, 1.9% of the US population have tested positive for COVID-19.  Well over 90% of those have recovered or will do so without a specific medicine or vaccine designed to treat them.

About 185,000 US citizens have died with it, but the CDC says just six percent of those have had coronavirus as the only cause.  All the others have died with comorbidities such as heart failure, pneumonia, old age, etc. which could have been the main cause.

Our CDC says that over 80% of the coronavirus deaths have been those over 65.  I read about one country (maybe many more) where 90% of the deaths were in people 80 and above.

I have had many family members, relatives and close friends who have died.  I am not making light of anyone’s death.

But some people get very angry if you say there is any good news in the fight against this latest virus or that it may not be as bad as in the past.

Some people hate President Trump so much that they can barely suppress their glee in reporting the latest “grim milestone”.  They seem to want the bad numbers to keep going up in order the help defeat Trump.

Dr. Alex Berezow, a microbiologist, wrote a few months ago an article in USA Today entitled “Stop the Panic.  Don’t let the Coronavirus Win.”

He wrote that “a total economic collapse would tear at the fabric of society and also pose a threat to public health.  And it raises the spectre that our ‘cure’ for COVID-19 may be more harmful than the disease itself.”

Columnist Peter Hitchens wrote a few days ago in the Daily Mail, a major British newspaper, that his “suspicion is that the wrecking of the economy and state sponsored panic of those times has killed more people that COVID ever did.”

He added that “we will never know how many people were listed as COVID deaths in this country (Britain) whose true cause of death was something else.”

Dr. Harvey Risch, MD, PHD, Professor of Epidemiology at Yales, wrote in Newsweek in late July that he was “flummoxed” why there was opposition to “a treatment the data fully support but which for reasons having nothing to do with a correct understanding of the science, has been pushed to the sidelines.  As a result, tens of thousands of patients with COVID-19 are dying unnecessarily.”

Risch, who has written over 300 peer-reviewed publications for leading medical journals, was referring to an inexpensive oral medication called hydro chloroquine.

This opposition sprang up because President Trump advocated its use and because it is so cheap big pharmaceutical companies could not make as much money off it as they could off other more expensive drugs.

Thank goodness in 1957-58, my and I classmates never knew how bad the Asian flu of that time was.

We didn’t have so many governors and mayors going power-mad then, acting self-righteous and holier than thou, and shutting everything down.

Many 10- and 11-year-old students of today will probably never forget this time when millions of their parents lost their jobs and businesses and they had to wear masks at school.