An Advantaged Disease, Indeed

I obey the quarantines and the social distancing measures.

I even recommend them, for now.

I remain distrustful about the media-fueled panic, mainly because I’m confident that the resulting economic devastation is going to be a good deal greater than anything the disease would have done.

The possibility that I am wrong is why I still back the quarantines and the lockdowns. I am not willing to have people die, because the media and the doctors may be hyping everything up.

But if this whole things turns into a dud by the end of April, I will be quite angry. And I will lay the blame for the coming recession/depression on the heads of the medical establishment and the media.

In that case, it will be obvious that the devastation of the coming hard times will kill more people than would the decision of just letting COVID-19 do what it pleases.


As you know, the coronavirus—if you catch it, and get very sick—is a terrible thing to go through and you may even die.  The virus and the fear of it are sorely testing our medical capacity in some places.  And the body count will get much worse this week, right before Easter.  The heroic efforts and sacrifice of many doctors, nurses, and volunteer civilians are all notable and praiseworthy.  Millions of Americans are pulling together.  We all know this.  But do you know the odds of any American getting this virus?  One would think that number is easily known or available.  It’s not. A lot of digging into various municipal data portals reveals, based on the population tested, that rates can vary from, at most, eight-tenths of a percent in New York City to two-one-hundredths of a percent in Phoenix. 

Did you know the chances of recovery from the coronavirus are about 98%—if you catch it?  Did you know there are models showing 50% of the population may have already had it, never knew they had it, and recovered?  Again, one would think this data would be widely available and reported.  It isn’t. What is presented widely are numbers and warnings that scare and frighten us, and we are now being conditioned to a lot of panic and speculation.  But part of the reason we are getting conditioned to a lot of panic is because of the wide range of speculation about other numbers we accept as our new fright-inducing reality, an increasingly confusing and frenzied set of numbers.  And the normalization of our panic is having dire consequences and augurs for even worse.

Our officials and media have warned us of 2 million deaths in the United States. Then 200,000 deaths. Then 100,000 to 240,000. This needs to stop. There have been a total of 68,000 coronavirus deaths worldwide. And we are told we will see, just in America, three to four times that number. Does that even pass the plausibility test?

Is it too much to ask for some perspective with numbers we do know about, numbers which have never shut down our country, much less a church or synagogue, much less entire industries; numbers which have never restricted travel or put this nation into one big frenzy? In any given month in America, we lose about 54,000 Americans to heart disease; 50,000 to cancer; 14,000 to asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema; 12,000 to stroke; 10,000 to Alzheimer’s; 7,000 to diabetes; 5,600 to drug overdoses; and 4,700 to influenza and pneumonia. Since February, in America, coronavirus: 9,500. Where is the sympathy for the victims and families of those other causes of death? The daily mortality count? The blaring headlines? The upending of the country? We hear almost nothing about them. Those deaths give us over 157,000 deaths a month. Given all that is being done about one cause of death, COVID-19, it turns out this is a very advantaged disease, indeed. And we will in time develop a vaccine for it, not to mention more and more good news coming in the short term about treatments from other extant medicines like hydroxychloroquine.

[…]

Yet the elites, from Bill Gates down, tell us we need a nationwide shutdown for 10 weeks or more. Others are pushing in that direction, too, putting pressure on various state and federal officials for even more coercion.  Perhaps such pushing has its merits in saving some lives, but it will likely take more, and will kill the heart and soul of our country, which is dependent on the economic engine of the rest of us. The consequences of what this country is putting itself through simply cannot be understated.  They are affecting the low-skilled and blue-collar workers the hardest.  And the solutions the federal and state governments have ordered for the problems they have created—from stimulus checks to loans to abatements and reprieves—are already causing bureaucratic confusion, claims of unfairness, delays, and pitting Americans against each other.  And now there is no end in sight for even more massive and unprecedented spending.

The president’s instincts to re-open this country as soon as possible are right. This country is not prepared for a worsening of all the other social harms and deaths brought on by an incredibly overwrought, self-induced, hysteria and panic that doesn’t parse.  It better be.  But remember with all the nonprofits, volunteer, and self-help communities organized to address these problems being shuttered and harmed, direly and financially, be prepared for massive social failure and more death.  This is what happens when sanity is at discount and hysteria reigns supreme.  This is what happens when societies get used to pandemonium.  As bad as the coronavirus is, and it is bad, unless we arrest the frenzy and panic mongering, we should be prepared for things worse than the virus.

An Advantaged Disease, Indeed by William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn

Some good news, though:

  • the economic devastation is smashing all the lower rungs of the media establishment right now;
  • in a year, it will tear apart the liberal bastion of academia, as parents simply will not be able to afford to pay for college (a.k.a. the political indoctrination of their children.)
    • Better plan on an online college, if you want something you can afford!
  • in a decade – maybe less – the busted budget will, indeed, bring in the Great Default and shatter the might and power of our only Established Lord and Master, the State.
  • homeschooling is going to do very well off of this disaster.

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