Jerry Klinger
Shaping the Future by Remembering the Past

The Devil’s Decision – Covid 19, Confused and Frustrated

Like most folks over the age of 60, I am confused and frustrated with Covid 19 guidance from the government and medical experts.

When the Virus first became known in the West, it was downplayed as nothing more than a bad flu. Then, overnight, it became a pandemic that would kill ten million Americans and a vastly greater number worldwide.

Time slipped by, probably a few days, and the ten million dead Americans became 2,000,000.

A few days more and the most likely victims of the virus were those of us over the age of 60 and especially anyone who was immunocompromised. The death rate will hover around 3-4% from Coronavirus.  Younger people, the productive and the future productive members of society will likely have comparatively limited risk, they tell us.  During the Spanish Flu of 1918, the old were spared and the productive population of society, mostly 15-35-year olds, were taken out by the Flu.

A few days more, now locked down, quarantined, and keeping the front door bolted tight, despite of, or because of Trump, one governor tells us there is no medical response to Covid 19, while a different governor is loosening Hydroxychloroquine.  Curious how medical responses have a lot to do if the Governor is a Democrat or a Republican. I wonder if that is true for the medical experts too?

A few days more, the White House says experts advised the probable death rate is now 100,000-250,000 from Coronavirus.  Now they are changing the words, Coronavirus deaths to Coronavirus “related” deaths.  So, Coronavirus is not the naked killer doing its Angel of Death dance by itself.  It is the Angel of Death straw that breaks the back of the Camel, which has multiple related pre-existing conditions or weaknesses in most cases.  There are always exceptions of young, seemingly healthy individuals, who have shockingly died. The media focuses on that daily.

100,000-250,000 deaths is still a horrifically high number. American death counts are over 4,000 now. It is beyond terrifying understanding that within a month or two that the number will mushroom to six digits.  It does bring some sort of perverse comfort to know that the death projections from Covid 19 is no longer 10,000,000.

Medical advice remains constant – keep social distancing to prevent infection spread.  How the infection is spread keeps changing.  First, physical social distancing was 6’.  Yesterday, it was 27’ when media reports picked up that the Virus could live in the air.  Then it went back to 6’. Proper social distancing in the street is now 12’, but who knows.

We are told to wash hands after going out.  Then it was to wear exam gloves.  Then a mask.  Then not to wear a mask, then to wear a mask and back to not wear a mask.  Wearing a mask to prevent getting Coronavirus is only good if you are a medical person, not an average layperson buying bread, eggs, and milk in the grocery.


The country must shelter in place.  Seems to be relatively consistent medical advice for the past five hundred years.  It will slow the spread of the Virus, flatten the curve so the health care system will not fail.

But medical personnel are sickening.  There are fewer of them to take care of the flattened curve.

Now they are saying that the once cured can still get sick again.  How can we flatten the curve if the potential number of sick is always, always going to be high and higher?  Looks like Grammy and I have no chance.

Quarantine, shelter in place, shut the economy down, that will save the lives of the elderly, and the immunocompromised.

If the economy remains shut until June 1, unemployment is estimated at 30-35%, Revolution territory. We are told we will have saved the lives of 100,000 – 250,000 people.  Do the projections factor in a statistical reality, for every 1% rise of unemployment potentially 10,000 lives could be lost – suicide, depression, etc.  My God, by keeping the economy closed to save 100,000 – 250,000 of us older types, there could be 10,000,000 unintended casualties.

During the Holocaust, my Uncle was the chief abortionist in Piotrykov. If a Jewish girl was pregnant, she had no economic value to the Nazis.  If she gave birth, the baby certainly had no economic value to the Nazis.  The Devil’s choice was direct for my Uncle and the Jewish leadership.  To save the lives of young Jewish girls by the thousands for future generations, they must take the unborn lives of their wombs that day.  It was a Devil’s decision.  To save life, life had to be taken.

Without a vaccine against the Virus, the American economy is cratering.  The lives of the future are being lost to save our older lives, and our weak in society?

It is not PC to ask the question.  It is to the highest values of a society, that in the U.S. and Israel, the decision is, up to now, save us all, and worry about tomorrow later.  A vaccine will be found. Maybe the experts will be wrong.  The 4,000 deaths in the U.S. today will not explode to 100,000 – 250,000. God Willing.

Prayer is comforting.  Hope is not a strategy.

Brazil’s Belisario has chosen to save the economy as his Devil’s Choice. Will the West eventually do the same? Will Israel?

A different Devil’s Choice will have to be made for tomorrow if the current one for today is wrong.

About the Author
Jerry is the president and founder of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, He is the son of Survivors of Buchenwald and Bergen Belsen. He is a former Yeshivah student and served with the IDF in the Sinai. He is the author of hundreds of articles in publications ranging from the Jerusalem Post to the Prairie Connection to the San Diego Jewish World. Jerry is frequently interviewed on T.V. and Radio about the American Jewish experience. The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation has completed projects in 43 US. States and in 8 countries. Over 7,000,000 people annually benefit from one of JASHP's efforts. JASHP has completed over 25 projects in and for Israel ranging from the restoration and preservation of the disgracefully deteriorated grave site of Shlomo Cohen, the composer of the Hativah, to the S.S. Exodus and more. November 29, 2022, Netanya: JASHP completed the first-ever historical memorial to the central birthing event of the modern state of Israel - the U.N. Partition Resolution. JASHP is presently working towards another first for Israel, a tribute sculpture honoring the Women of the IDF.
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