The Real Covid Story, Never Told

John Smart
8 min readNov 24, 2020

On Nov 19, California Congressman Tom McClintock (R) delivered a speech on the House floor. “In Defense of Governor Newsom” (transcript here) is a sharp, ironic 5 min piece, calling out the moral lapse of CA governor Gavin Newsom in having dinner with friends at a restaurant, violating his own edict against large gatherings. A commentable version of his video is below (McClintock’s team also uploaded it to YouTube, but they chose not to enable public comments — sad). Most comments at the video below, as you might imagine, are from good Americans on our right wing, expressing deep support of his views on governmental overreach.

Politically, I am neither right nor left, but forward, or “up-wing” to borrow a phrase from UBI evangelist Andrew Yang. I commiserate with much of what McClintock says in this video. This virus has cost Americans dearly in lives, jobs, productivity, confidence, and in a wide range of curbs to our personal freedoms, many of them entirely unnecessary if we’d gotten our act together on testing and tracing. It is also far less deadly than many on the left like to imagine, or tell us.

But there’s a big problem with this speech. The problem is in what you aren’t being told, by leaders who don’t want to tell, or who may not even know, the real story. Everything McClintock says, arguing that we should have the freedom and responsibility to make our own decisions around risk, is based on his (accurate) assessment of the risks of Covid. But that’s not the risk that should be guiding our policy. The real risk is the next virus. That next virus might be either another natural virus, worse than SARS-CoV-2, or a supervirus, a variant of one of that is already quite infectious and lethal, bred up by a terrorist group or lone fanatic and released on us.

That’s always been the big risk we’ve been ignoring. Americans are woefully unprepared for that risk, and anything we do to get us more prepared is a big move forward. Getting Americans accustomed to wearing masks during a pandemic, as so many Asian citizens do, to limit viral spread in public, is a real win for us. So is getting us accustomed to taking multivalent vaccines on at least an annual basis, and greatly improving our still-primitive pathogen testing and

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John Smart

CEO, Foresight U. Author, The Foresight Guide. Foresight, Empathy, Ethics, Equity, Empowerment, Purpose, Good Society, Evo-Devo, Health, Tech, Personal AIs