Hardly anything is more personal than health. Clear for decades to those paying attention, however, is a community stake in individual health, which has become more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It wouldn’t be much of an overreach to argue personal health, aggregated as the country’s health, is a matter of national security. General ill health might be this country’s greatest weakness.

The United States is weaker now than it has been in recent history. The federal budget deficit is projected to reach $4.2 trillion this year, up from about $988 billion in 2018. The country is awash in debt; the highest levels since just after World War II; 40 percent of which is owed to foreign governments.

Millions are unemployed and face losing their homes, through eviction or foreclosure, unless the economy improves dramatically soon.

Civil rights that define the country, and for which we’ve spilled a lot a blood over 244 years, have been curtailed and our democratic institutions and practices threatened.

It’s an open question, for example, whether Americans will be allowed to assemble at polling places on Election Day in November to vote. Let that one cook for a minute — be allowed to vote in person.

Not all of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country had been running deficits and amassing debt at near-unprecedented levels well before the virus arrived. Nor are we in a hole impossible to escape. The vast power of the U.S. economy has pulled us from deeper pits.

Obviously, though, bringing the economy to an abrupt halt in effort to slow the virus’ spread, and throwing the treasury open to buffer the consequences of that, made the situation much worse.

That’s no criticism of the government subsidies. There was no alternative but attempting to stay afloat with public money.

We’re obliged, however, to take a cold, hard look at how we got here.

There’s no doubt the coronavirus causing COVID-19 is dangerous; almost 70,000 Americans had died from it by Monday.

It’s also pretty well established that nearly all the deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 were among people with chronic health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Almost 90 percent of the people hospitalized in New York suffered from more than one of those, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Age, of course, also is among the factors that can make COVID-19 a more serious threat to life, but chronic health conditions might put people even more at risk than age alone.

Almost half, 46 percent, of adult Americans have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

More than 30 million Americans, 9.4 percent of the population, have diabetes; the vast majority of those have Type 2, which develops at least in part because of lifestyle choices, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Another 84.1 million have “prediabetes,” a condition that often leads to Type 2 diabetes.

Almost 40 percent of Americans 20 years and older were obese in 2016, according to the CDC.

Nobody knows these numbers better than health care professionals, who have been warning us about the trends for decades. And knowing that could not but have influenced their recommendations about how the country should respond to COVID-19 to prevent overwhelming hospitals and wholesale death.

It’s also well known that all those health conditions are attributable in part, perhaps mostly, to overeating, generally bad eating and sedentary lifestyles.

We as a nation, and more importantly, we as individuals, must begin to heed the warnings about unhealthy living leading to chronic maladies.

The government, perhaps, should offer tax breaks to people who work at staying healthy. Doing that would be cheaper than managing the consequences of self-inflicted ill health, which are considerable even when there’s no pandemic.

Ultimately, though, it’s up to each of us maintain his own health.

If we can’t manage it for ourselves and our families, perhaps we could do it for the nation; begin to think of it as an act of patriotism.

• Michael A. Smith

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com

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(18) comments

Charles Douglas

There are many things people here can do as acts of patriotism! The problem is they are not getting done, nor are there any decent or diligent efforts made by many Americans toward getting them done. CHINA is doing almost everything to this country that the Soviet Union dreamed of doing in order to disrupt and bring it down! They are conquering America from within! They are utilizing the elements of HATE and GREED in order to accelerate their plan to take the spot of the number one nation militarily and economically away from the United States Of America! They are contantly sending Chinese women inside America to have their babies on the "cool" so that they can carry back to China,...babies who possesses American Citizenship! Why are they doing this? This question should be asked of China's allys who resides here, who are employed in Congress, who holds important positions at Harvard, University of Texas, UCLA, Standford, and, the University of Kansas to name a few! How did China, in record time change from being a big overpopulated, impoverished, starving, and indigent country, who could not feed it's own people, to being one of the most powerful, and wealthiest nations in the world? They spied, lied, stole, deceived, cheated, and bought their way there! They paid for access and now they control what kind of movies Hollywood can make! Don't think so? OK, find out why Tom Cruise could not wear a flight jacked with the flags of Japan and Taiwan on the back in the movie sequel to Top Gun! Has Russia ever had that kind of power here? Why is China not blamed for the Wuhan Pandemic by their Liberal Agents in this country? They have a half a dozen lies out as to why they protected CHINA but helped infected Chinese citizens to fly out of Wuhan to other parts of the world unabated ...infecting others wherever they landed! They bought up as much as the world's supply of masks and testing equipment before the rest of the world knew anything, so they could make big profits selling them back to the world after the rest of the world got infected by the virus! Their agents in Congress and politics here,.. are working hard to make Trump the scapegoat! Joe O'Biden ( he calls himself ) ..says he stated that he wants CHINA healthy and prosperous, and it's good for the world! He said, " I first stated this in 1972, and I feel the same now!" ( China gave his son one a BILLION DOLLARS deal )..Not that he will win, and the way things are now going, we are not sure "HANDS O'BIDEN will even end up as President Trump's opponent in November! However, if he was to win, we might as well apply for Chinese green cards of Citizenship!

Bailey Jones

I see you got the memo, Charles. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/24/gop-memo-anti-china-coronavirus-207244

jimmy winston

Charles, I just want to let you know that I did not read a single word of what you wrote. I am only posting this comment to tell you that I will vote for anyone other than Trump.

Carlos Ponce

Let Jimmy vote for whom Jimmy wants. How many of your selections won in 2016 or 2018? Since only Republicans won in Galveston County and Texas State Wide elections......

Charles Douglas

Winston> Lolololo ...Sorry I hurt your feelings. Out of all the checks which are deposited in my bank accounts every month, NOT one of them reads ..." this one is for THOSE who read your posts in the GDN!"

So you won't be voting for Trump, ..I assumed that already, just as you should have assumed I won't be voting for Biden So what? NO need to get personal or to start acting infantile! If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time I have ever mentioned your name on this forum, that should tell you something.

PD Hyatt

If it is up to us the citizens to maintain our own health, then why was the MSM clamoring for everything to be shut down? Why weren't the sick quarantined and let the healthy continue to live. Locking everyone down in their homes was tantamount to tyranny.... I bet the MSM people did not lose a paycheck while most of the rest of the nation did....

Ron Woody

HEAR, HEAR, Mr. Smith!

Ray Taft

“It’s an open question, for example, whether Americans will be allowed to assemble at polling places on Election Day in November to vote. Let that one cook for a minute — be allowed to vote in person.”

Here’s how you should let that one cook for more than a minute:

The Democrats want America to fail so they can win an election, which they can’t win otherwise. If it’s good for America, it’s bad for Democrats.

So Democrats want mail-in voting so they can cheat after America is back. Democrats can’t win unless they cheat. They plan on not allowing you to vote Republican. That’s what not allowing Americans to assemble at polling places to vote in person really means.

Part of this is the constant drum beat of ‘it’s not safe to come out of your house’ by the Democrats and the MSM, the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party.

Democrats cheat every chance they get, plain and simple. And they want you to allow them to cheat by scaring you into thinking now, that months from now, you can’t come out of your home to vote.

Just say NO to the Democrats and MSM’s voting scam. Citizens voting Republican should have their votes count too.

Carlos Ponce

"be allowed to vote in person" Correct.

A clear majority around 80% of COVID -19 deaths were people 65 years or older. The rest had some some previous problem that compromised their immune system.

https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Death-Counts-by-Sex-Age-and-S/9bhg-hcku

So logic would say allow those 65+ years of age be allowed to vote by mail. We already allow that.

I fall into that age group but plan on voting in person.

Dan Freeman

We all know older people are more likely to die than younger people. About 76% of all deaths are to people 65 and older. For COVID-19 it is 80%, for pneumonia it is 81%, for influenza it is 65%. What is troubling is the ability of COVID-19 to flare up and overwhelm a health system as it did in New York City and in smaller communities such as towns near meatpacking facilities. It is not a question of liberty or death. It is a question of a damaged economy or over 100,000 early deaths. We can recover from a damaged economy. Death is a one way street.

Wayne D Holt

If is a one way street, then we should avoid it in any of its manifestations. Those who quarantined an entire nation of healthy people in the name of flattening the curve for some will have another curve that will take years, maybe a decade or more, to flatten.

That curve is the spike already showing up in alcohol and drug abuse (alcohol consumption is up 75% over this time last year), domestic abuse of spouses and children, suicides (hotlines already flooded with calls), psychiatric afflictions, eating disorders and the list goes on.

Taking credit for flattening the purposely bloated Covid-19 numbers is something the medical martial law types like to proclaim. What you will not see them embracing will be the years of spiking deaths that were avoidable but were thrust on the American people by those who shouldn't be running a hot dog stand let along the United States of America; and that's from the federal government down to City Hall.

Panic driven hardly sums up a reaction that is willing to eviscerate the economy of America based on the failed noodlings of computer model geniuses. Speaking of, in case you missed it: the genius at Imperial College London who was largely responsible for the madcap death projections that lockdown was predicated on in the US and UK was In flagrante delicto with a married woman on two occasions while he was telling the world we had to remain isolated. So solitary confinement for the plebs and community spread of conjugal visits for the patricians. How reassuring.

And Dan, it actually is a question of the threat of death being used to undermine liberty. How is it possible to describe it any other way when a handful of compromised experts facilitate a handful of government officials in unilaterally prohibiting healthy people from being able to work or leave home?

Back at the ranch here in Galveston, it was noted the City revised the definition of "emergency" in the city charter back in 2011. Before that time, a clearly defined set of conditions needed to be met to invoke an emergency authority. After the revision (in reality, mutilation of meaning), they skipped the niceties and just declared emergency authorities could be invoked in an emergency. And in other news, water is wet.

This is exactly why patriotic Americans need to be aware of the erosion of liberty wherever we find it. It is real, it is happening and you will not be notified in bold headlines about it. It requires each of us to think, and to act appropriately to counter it.

Stuart Crouch

Mental illnesses, such as those which are on display here, are completely treatable.

Wayne D Holt

I would say a much better indication of aberrant psychology would be City "leaders" who insist on shuttering every last church on an Easter Sunday while facilitating liquor store purchases in a come-as-you-are bonanza. And we're just as sick to have accepted it.

Charles Douglas

Another thing. I did not like it when they put that lady in jail in Dallas Texas for wanting to feed her kids! I did not like it ah-tall. You talk to a lady, ...and remember she has kids to feed and you DONT go off on a power trip, sending her to jail with a Seven thousand dollar fine! Naw! I did not like it ahh-tall.

Carlos Ponce

The Democrat judge was Judge Eric V. Moyé. He's up for re-election in November.

Charles Douglas

That situation should have and could have been handled so differently than it was. Let this be a lesson to those who are inebriated or intoxicated on power to the point of acting stupidly without even considering all the peripheral facts involved in such decisions! This lady has to feed her kids!

Ted Gillis

Charles, you always say that the Democrats cheat. I’ve seen you write in other posts.

Can you name a time and place in recent history please, not Duval County or Chicago from the 1960’s please, as most of us here are history buffs. You obviously exert a lot of energy and passion in your posts, but they have no substance, just wishful and dramatic hyperbole.

Carlos Ponce

"Al Franken May Have Won His Senate Seat Through Voter Fraud" November 2008

"At least 341 convicted felons voted in Minneapolis's Hennepin County, the state's largest, and another 52 voted illegally in St. Paul's Ramsey County, the state's second largest." Al Franken "won" by 312 votes.

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/peter-roff/2010/07/20/al-franken-may-have-won-his-senate-seat-through-voter-fraud

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