The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Sooner, Rather than Later

In late February and early March of this year, just as the first extreme governmental actions associated with COVID-19 virus began to be undertaken , no doubt influenced by the fear-mongering imposed by the mainstream media and the crazy high death projections of "scientific models", I wrote a number of blog posts (e.g., here, here, and here) where I had the temerity to suggest that COVID-19 was similar to but bit more deadly than the common flu and that other viral outbreaks (e.g., H1N1 in 2009-2010) that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and tens of millions of "cases" were addressed not by shutting down the economy, but by allowing herd immunity to inoculate the population. It's worth noting that the catastrophists among the epidemiological community suggested that without extreme measures, as many as 2.2 million people would die. The result was a stampede to close down entire states based on inexact models that were driven by sparse and inexact information.

James Freeman comments:
Based on the latest analysis from America’s leading public health experts, politicians can stop comparing Covid-19 to World War II. But can their war on the U.S. economy be halted in time to prevent irreparable damage?

The good news on lower expected virus mortality arrived at Wednesday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing. Here’s an excerpt from the official transcript:
Q Last week, your top experts were saying that we should expect 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in this country. You’ve been talking about how it looks like maybe things are plateauing. Are these numbers now being revised downward? I know you don’t want people to stop social distancing and that sort of thing, but what can you tell us about the numbers? Are they being revised down?
President Donald Trump responded that his impression was that current expectations were for lower mortality numbers and then he deferred to others on the stage. Dr. Deborah Birx said:
We believe that our healthcare delivery system in the United States is quite extraordinary. I know many of you are watching the Act Now model and the IHME model from — and they have consistently decreased the number, the mortality from over almost 90,000 or 86,000, down to 81,000 and now down to 61,000. That is modeled on what America is doing. That’s what’s happening.
It just so happens that 61,000 is exactly the number of deaths that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributes to the 2017-2018 flu season. As much time as media folk spend on the differences between coronavirus and the flu, perhaps they should also spend some time discussing similarities.
All of this is, of course, very good news. But it's also an object lesson that worst case scenarios and the loud voices of catastrophists, not to mention the irresponsible actions of the main stream media, should not be the only or even the dominant input when major political decisions that have a profound affect on the lives of tens of millions of citizens are made.

And when we hear the hysterical claims (from Democrats, from the media, and from some within the health care community) that are absolutely sure to evolve when federal and state officials begin to back away from the extreme measures that are now in place, remember just how wrong the initial projections of deaths and health care system collapse were. Did social distances help? Undoubtedly. Did it flatten the cure. Sure. But how much? We simply don't know.

Freeman summarizes nicely:
Now government needs to get out of the way and let the American people protect those vulnerable to the virus—as well as the surging population of people who are vulnerable to government-created poverty.
Indeed, it does ... sooner, rather than later.