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

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Kiddie Table

Today, catastrophists among Senate Democrats will participate in hearings in which they will try to achieve at least two objectives: (1) place the blame for COVID-19 squarely on the Trump administration, making the counterfactual claim that the administration's response was somehow lacking or late and (2) that any attempt to re-open the country is dangerous and will lead to more deaths.

The Dems' objective #1 is pure politics and they should be forced to offer specifics on the approach that they would have taken that differed from the approach that was taken. Objective #2 will be bolstered by, I suspect, the testimony of Dr. Anthony Fauci, an honorary member of Team Apocalypse who the Dems and their trained hamsters in the media have imbued with otherworldly medical knowledge and godlike infallibility. Fauci will imply that cases and deaths are the only considerations and will avoid any mention of risks associated with continuing closure or the mid- and long-term benefits of additional cases and their impact on herd immunity—the ONLY historically proven approach [other than an effective vaccine (still many months away)] for attenuating the spread on any SARS virus.

Senators should ask Dr. Fauci about a recent paper in the respected medical journal The Lancet. The author, Johan Giesecke, discusses the approach taken in Sweden, where only a very modest shutdown occurred, schools stayed in session, and today, the country is out shutdown:
... more than half a million people in Stockholm county, Sweden, which is about 20–25% of the population, have been infected (Hansson D, Swedish Public Health Agency, personal communication). 98–99% of these people are probably unaware or uncertain of having had the infection; they either had symptoms that were severe, but not severe enough for them to go to a hospital and get tested, or no symptoms at all. Serology testing is now supporting these assumptions.

These facts have led me to the following conclusions. Everyone will be exposed to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and most people will become infected. COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in all countries, but we do not see it—it almost always spreads from younger people with no or weak symptoms to other people who will also have mild symptoms. 

This is the real pandemic, but it goes on beneath the surface, and is probably at its peak now in many European countries. There is very little we can do to prevent this spread: a lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear. I expect that when we count the number of deaths from COVID-19 in each country in 1 year from now, the figures will be similar, regardless of measures taken.

Measures to flatten the curve might have an effect, but a lockdown only pushes the severe cases into the future —it will not prevent them. Admittedly, countries have managed to slow down spread so as not to overburden health-care systems, and, yes, effective drugs that save lives might soon be developed, but this pandemic is swift, and those drugs have to be developed, tested, and marketed quickly. Much hope is put in vaccines, but they will take time, and with the unclear protective immunological response to infection, it is not certain that vaccines will be very effective.
Giesecke writes about the harsh scientific reality of COVID-19. It is the height of hubris to think that sheltering-in-place or keeping "non-essential" businesses shut down will be effective in reducing the overall number of cases and deaths. COVID-19 may recede for a while, but it will reappear and reinfect in relatively large numbers until we achieve herd immunity and/or an effective vaccine.

The Dems' trained hamsters in the media will gleefully use sound bites taken from the senate hearings to criticize the hated Donald Trump and lobby for continuing closure of our economy. As Democrat politicians parade in from of the cameras and tell us that they, and only they, care about lives and criticize those who suggest that re-opening our country is a good and necessary strategy, it might be useful to consider the advice of Greg Gutfeld, a FoxNews personality. 
The [Dem politicians] will look at people who offer advice on returning to work as callous monsters who want to see people die.

These [Dem politicians] belong to what’s known as “the kiddie table.” If a person cannot comprehend that every decision carries a risk, not simply a benefit – then they must not be allowed at the adult’s table.

They must be quarantined, because not only are they hindering the adults who must make such brave but routine decisions, they are cowardly too. They don’t want any skin in the game, but they want to punish you for having the guts to do what they can’t: which is, to share the risk.

When S.E. Cupp castigated Chris Christie for his sober reflection that people will die when we return to work – she was merely mimicking the infantile response of so many sheep that comprise her pathetic industry [the media].

None of her shrill, mindless peers could say when a civilization must return to life, but they could certainly condemn you as evil, for taking the adult stand and offering a suggestion based on the facts of future suffering.

I have taken a look at all these shameless hacks who’ve called people “callous” or “grandma killers” – and I can’t find a single one who had the guts to suggest what to do next. Instead, they sit in their home studios and wag their fingers at people – especially at those who desperately want to get back to work ...

... you can’t leave the kid’s table, until you tell us what you’re willing to risk.
There are significant and potentially greater risks (e.g., broader health risks, economic risks, familial risks, societal risks, crime-oriented risks, governmental risks) associated with keeping the country closed than there are with the risks associated with re-opening. When the Democrats are ready to address the risks associated with a glacial re-opening plan, and provide a rational and specific  plan for mitigating each of them, I'm willing to listen. Until then, stay at the kiddie table and let the adults run the country.

COVID-19 antibody surveys are being conducted throughout the country and the results clearly indicate that the virus has been in the population since at least January, 2020; that millions were infected and were completely asymptomatic; that as a consequence, the resultant morbidity percentage is far lower than the catastrophists want to admit, and that we were nearing herd immunity before we shut down, thereby slowing the beneficial herd immunity results (yes, there would also have been additional deaths, but that's the sad price that epidemiological history indicates must be paid to achieve victory over the virus).

In New York City, an antibody survey found that 21% of the city’s population had been infected with the coronavirus. This indicates that over one and a half million of New York City’s 7.2 million residents under the age of 65 had been infected. Furthermore, approximately 78% of them had no underlying medical condition that puts them at risk from coronavirus. Around the time of the antibody survey, New York City had recorded only 58 deaths of people under 65 with no underlying condition.

In the U.S., 79% of coronavirus deaths are people 65 and older. In the 23 states releasing long-term care facilities data, 27% of deaths have occurred in such places. The Washington Post reports the share of fatalities in nursing homes may be 50%. In Colorado, the share is 50%.

Yet our reaction isn’t to protect the elderly and those with underlying conditions. No, instead we decide to force over 214 million people under 65 with no underlying condition who are under virtually no threat from coronavirus to restrict their activities, socially distance from each other, and go into lockdown.

Instead of targeting the vulnerable population for assistance and infection avoidance, we shut down our economy. Many of the vulnerable are elderly and out of the workforce, yet we target the workforce and push 33 million people out of their jobs. We destroy countless small businesses, risk food shortages due to the supply disruption, drive oil prices so low that it could devastate thousands of Coloradans and cause political instability and international conflicts to rise, scare people who need medical attention away from emergency room visits, and cause domestic violence to rise.

What we’re doing is unsustainable.
Yep. The irony is that Team Apocalypse is populated predominantly by the "sustainability" crowd, yet that crowd often adopts policies that are wholly unsustainable.