Dave Portnoy is best known for founding Barstool Sports, which, as you can imagine, isn't exactly thriving in the age of coronavirus (COVID-19). Portnoy had to take to other methods to have his voice heard, because you know, we all needed to hear the opinion of a man who has substituted his sports gambling with day trading during a pandemic.
In his most recent rant about the virus, Portnoy said, "Who says we're going to find a cure? We haven't found a cure to cancer. It took AIDS 20 years or whatever, do we even have a cure? So the economy is just shut down?"
Besides his atrocious and totally unnecessary vulgar language, he's completely out of touch with society if he thinks he can compare a coronavirus cure to a cure for cancer.
First off, let's just get this straight, if someone has a cancer diagnosis and coughs on you, you're not going to get cancer. COVID-19 is highly contagious and spreads primarily through being coughed on or sneezed on. Cancer, of course, doesn't spread through contact.
Cancer is a deadly disease, and we absolutely need to continue working to find cures for the different cancer diagnoses out there, but due to the fact that it cannot be spread through human contact, there's no reason to shut down the economy for cancer.
Comparing the two shows a grave misunderstanding of what COVID-19 is, plain and simple. If Portnoy has even bothered to get his facts straight before starting his rant, he also would have known that this isn't the first time there has been a shutdown due to a rapid-fire virus. When the Spanish Influenza first hit in 1918, it was also declared a pandemic. Oh, and guess what? Schools and businesses shut down for weeks while people were ordered to wear masks out in public.
Yeah, I thought it may sound familiar to you as you're probably sitting on your couch scrolling through your social media feed for the fifth time in the last hour.
See, what Portnoy is being completely ignorant of is the fact that this is a virus that spreads through everyday contact, not through specific highly intimate activities where we can pinpoint the cause, like AIDS, or have no chance of spreading through any ordinary activities, like cancer.
I get it. I understand the frustration that a lot of people are feeling throughout this time.
I know a lot of people are feeling extremely stressed not knowing if they'll have to close the doors on their small business, if they'll have enough money to pay the bills, or put food on the table or even how they're going to find a new job in the midst of all of this. I don't want to dismiss the severity of the hardships people are facing right now because those are real and heartbreaking as well.
But, we have to be sensitive here, sensitive to loss, sensitive to those in high-risk populations, and sensitive to the fact that COVID-19 isn't like cancer.
Experts are working day in and day out to try and find a way to combat this horrible virus, but just like with the 1918 pandemic, it won't happen overnight. We need to be patient, and we need to follow the guidance of our officials to try and fight this the best we possibly can.
Before this happened, most people didn't even remember that there was a time where the flu didn't have an effective treatment. In fact, researchers didn't know what made it so deadly until almost 90 years later!
It's time we sit back, listen to public health officials, and walk through this the best we can. No one has the perfect answers, but comparing this to cancer and wondering why we haven't opened up the economy is the wrong — and selfish — answer.