Dear President Trump and Governors of this Great Nation,
Upon seeing the phases of getting America back to work, I could not help but recognize that martial arts schools would seemingly be unable to get back to business until Phase 3 of the President’s team's well thought out plan.
Of course, I recognize the risk of transmission of the Wuhan Coronavirus between individuals who are in such close contact that they share sweat, but I also recognize the essential nature of martial arts therapy for the many friends I’ve made within this sport and I weigh that against the data we have publicly available.
Martial arts help people dealing with loss, addiction, and every range of mental health issues. My fear is that a prolonged shut down would severely impact the entire industry, shutting down critical mental health facilities for these individuals across the nation as the economic impact hits their local gyms.
And make no mistake, these gyms are mental health facilities, I know it to be true for almost everyone involved in this sport, Jiu Jitsu provides a much needed mental boost. Considering the stress people have been dealing with for the last month amid this shut down, I want to get my very extended martial arts family back into their normal routine.
What I recognize with our nation's plan is that Phase One indicates that all vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place, but, as already allowed, members of households with vulnerable residents can work and be prepared to isolate from vulnerable residents.
Martial arts a young person’s sport and, due to the nature of the arts, we aren’t dealing with an at risk group. I know it’s not proper to compare this to the flu, but according to NYC data included in this packet, just 24 of 6589 total NYC deaths, at the time of the counting were of individuals between the ages of 0 and 44 with no underlying conditions. Just 57 were in the next cohort of 45 to 64.
That means 0.004% of deaths are in the 0 to 44-age range and 0.01% in the 0 to 64 range. Considering the massive number of unknown cases of the Wuhan Coronavirus in people who just had the virus pass through them without a trace, this virus seems like it will be found to be about as deadly in healthy individuals as the common flu.
An antibody test in Santa Clara, California has shown a prevalence of antibodies that estimates a range between 48,000 and 81,000 people infected by early April, 50-85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases.
As Justin Hart detailed on Twitter, this means the 66 deaths in the area out of a true infected population of AT LEAST 48,000 would show a fatality rate of 0.14%. If the range is at the upper end and 81,000 people were infected then the fatality rate is not even 0.1%.
A USC and Los Angeles County report estimates there are 221,000 to 442,000 people who have been infected. With about 600 deaths in the county, that means a fatality rate between 0.14% and 0.27%, if those estimates are true.
Considering our age group, plus this data, the Jiu Jitsu community faces very low risk and it’s on us to restrict our engagement with people in risk categories. This is the personal responsibility granted to us by our Constitution and pausing life to stay inside for months on end doesn’t come without consequence.
An under-reported aspect of this shut down, which Nicole Saphier, MD tweeted out, “as unemployment approached 20%, each 1% rise can result in a 3.3% spike in drug overdoses and a 1% increase in suicides per the National Bureau of Economic Research.) If unemployment hits 32%, about 77,000 Americans may die as a result. Will the economic fallout mortality be greater than the virus itself?”
This is before getting into the economic consequence of this shut down. According to the United Nations, nearly 369 million children across 143 countries who normally rely on school meals for a reliable source of daily nutrition have now been forced to look elsewhere.
They also project that an estimated 42 to 66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as a result of the crises, adding to the estimated 386 million children in extreme poverty in 2019, an increase of potentially 17%. As the headline of the Reuters article says, this “could kill hundreds of thousands of children in 2020.”
The United Nations just announced that the coronavirus pandemic response will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation. A CNN headline says, “The world is facing multiple famines of ‘biblical proportions’ in just a matter of months.”
We are putting the future of our states, our nation, and our world at risk with this shut down. It simply cannot go on much longer, especially among a community of people I care about deeply.
As a martial arts community, we have built an army of fighters who love their country and love their fellow man around the world, no matter where he or she may be. If Coronavirus was the threat we’re told it is, we would gladly comply, but the data does not support this hypothesis any longer and the economic consequences now outweigh the risk of the disease for almost everyone, even those in risk categories.
Frankly, we refuse to comply with something that impedes on our freedoms and does not make sense considering the risk/reward math we’re all doing in our heads.
I’ve heard about the concept of herd immunity much more than ever before this last month, so I’m not expert on the concept. But considering that the death rate for young, healthy people is very low, we have to be willing to take the risk of contracting the virus, dealing with it, and getting healthy, so that we become a dead end for the virus in the future when our older and more compromised populations return to normalcy.
Per CNBC on April 22nd, while Sweden has been blasted for not imposing a lockdown, their chief epidemiologist has said herd immunity could be reached within weeks. Sure, deaths are coming and it will be sad, but that’s the reality we all face and whatever decision is made will be sad because economic calamity results in suicides. And with what Sweden has done, they may reach that critical point of immunity faster than anyone else.
As a community, we want to lead our nation past the fear that has been propagated by China and a complicit American media establishment too afraid of getting kicked out of China to report on Chinese misdeeds from any reasonable or trustworthy perspective. A complicit American media led by individuals like New York Times’ owner Carlos Slim who began manufacturing cars with Chinese Communist Party owned JAC Motors in 2017.
The loudest voices in favor of further lockdowns in politics have been swimming in Chinese cash for years. In 1996, the Clinton’s had a controversy over Chinese money in their second campaign for President. While Vice President, Joe Biden took Hunter on an official trip to China and when they came back, he received a $1.5 billion deal with a Chinese bank. Dianne Feinstein had a Chinese spy working on her staff for 20 years.
We simply cannot trust that these individuals have the American people’s best interests at heart. They are simply too compromised to trust and many of them have dreams of a Green New Deal with eco-dreams that, by design, don’t care about economic destruction.
Considering Dana White is on the board helping plan the return to normalcy, I know you will find a knowledgeable, empathetic, and practical voice to discuss this topic with.
We must stay vigilant around vulnerable groups out of respect to our fellow Americans, but we are also granted our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by whatever version of an all powerful and just God that we may believe in.
Having a girlfriend who is involved in social work, I understand the deep importance of keeping our American team healthy physically and mentally. Martial arts are a part of this essentialAmerican infrastructure for millions of Americans.
This issue of what is perceived to be “essential” is, as I’m sure you know, a very slippery slope in our nation, which we’ve already seen certain Governors completely overstep and show their true tyrannical colors on. Many feel that psychology and mental health have taken a back seat in this conversation of essential work, outside of the necessary recommendations to engage in outdoor activities and physical activities if possible.
What we are asking is that you give martial arts schools specific guidelines to help save an industry that could see a lot of great men and women out of work and many more out of their preferred method of therapy.
What we are asking is the freedom to practice what essentially makes us who we are as.
We have abided by the lockdown to “slow the spread” and “flatten the curve,” but we are now being asked to continue to delay our lives. This is not acceptable in the face of the data that exists. Nothing could be more essential to many than martial arts.
What we are asking is that we simply have the okay from the powers that be, rather than doing this in a manner that may look disrespectful to others. We want to abide by and respect your rules, but we also want to take advantage of our rights granted to us as Americans. Rights that were granted by a God, not a man.
These gyms are filled with the kind of grit, determination, and resilience that our nation, and the human race, is built on and we welcome the opportunity to take a leadership position in overcoming the fear that has been pushed on the American people and the people of the world.
I hope your team will make the best decision for the country and the best decision for one of the most critical mental health practices I know of in our great country.
With what we currently know, we do not see the risk of the virus outweighing the risk of personal consequence to our communities that this virus’ reaction is producing.
If you have information and data that says otherwise, we will listen, but as it stands, we will not stand down. We lead from the front, not that back.
In the next few weeks, in safer areas around the country, people within our communities will begin Roll for your Rights training sessions every Saturday at 11 am local time.
It’s time to fight. It’s time to be Americans again.
If this resonates with you, please send it along to your Governor and the President.
Let’s get back to trying to choke each other.
Zack Moore is a blue belt at 10th Planet Austin at Onnit Gym MMA under Curtis Hembroff. He is a certified NFL Agent, a writer for OverTheCap.com and the author of the book “Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions” (available on Amazon).
A second book will be released this fall with Triumph Books titled “Caponomics: How NFL Champions Are Built and Dynasties are Destroyed” coming Fall 2020.
Join his e-mail list Caponomics@gmail.com to stay up to date on his work.