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Be Not Afraid

May 26, 2020

It is common knowledge and well-established scientifically that fear degrades the immune system. Coronavirus is making this evident.

The news media is starting to recognize that Republicans tend to be immune to the coronavirus. Reuters looks at fatality rates at the county level. In counties that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, the death rate is three times higher than in counties that voted for Donald Trump. We first reported on the partial immunity of Republicans to the coronavirus on April 15th.
 
Link to Reuters:
 
Link to my prior blog post:
 
It is common knowledge and well-established scientifically that fear degrades the immune system. Fear, anxiety and stress can be killers, especially when chronic. As with many other things, the impact looks to be non-linear in that normal levels of stress may be neutral or even good; and, occasional stress, can be a positive motivator, for most people. And, among the personalities traits that differentiates Republicans from Democrats is worrying. Republicans tend to be big-picture, risk-tolerant, analytical and rational. Democrats me-centric, safety-conscious, intuitive and feeling.
 
Survey after survey shows that Democrats worry more about things: the ecosystem, endangered species, poverty, starvation, the Earth, scarce resources, overpopulation, marginalized persons, and now the pandemic. No matter that evidence shows that our air and water qualities are the highest they’ve ever been, the rate of extinctions is very low, global poverty (by a time-invariant definition) is fast being eliminated, starvation is now rare, there is no evidence of accelerating climate change, natural resources are getting cheaper, global population is leveling out, we’ve been protecting the rights of increasingly all persons, and the coronavirus is not much worse than the seasonal flu.
 
The problem with worry is that worriers should worry about the coronavirus, since worry degrades their immune system. It’s a vicious cycle. Typical remedies for worry include aroma therapy, meditation and yoga. However, I must say that I haven’t found any scientifically-valid clinical trials to support these remedies. It’s anecdotal. Speaking of anecdotal,
 
Yea, though I walk in the valley of death, I shall fear no evil. Psalms 23:4
 
Consider the lilies of the field. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27
 
A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar.
 
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
 
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. Rosa Parks
Article Tags
Health Care
Author
Clifford F. Thies is the Eldon R. Lindsay Professor of Economics and Finance at Shenandoah University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Boston College.
cthies@su.edu

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