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

Friday, May 01, 2020

New Rules

As Team Apocalypse works tireless to keep our country shut down, maximizing economic damage and all but guaranteeing widespread fear and public discontent (possibly the Team's secondary goal), there are numerous locales that are taking the first steps toward opening up. The leadership in those locales recognize that we as a nation can work to keep people safe AND restart the economy at the same time. It appears that the catastrophists of Team Apocalypse can't hold those two thoughts in their heads without hyperventilating.

Far too many members of the Team are gripped by fear and hysteria. Here's a snippet from an oped by Leonard Pitts, typical of literally hundreds of opinion pieces that fight to keep the country closed:
This, I grudgingly accept. I have no idea how it’s going to happen. Maybe I will die of having a tree fall on me, of eating tainted shellfish or of being struck by lightning. But this much I guarantee: I will not die of having wagered my life that TV carnival barkers, political halfwits and goobers in MAGA hats know more than experts with R.N.s, M.D.s, and Ph.D.s after their names.

In other words, I will not die of stupid.
Pitts may not die of stupid, but whether he realizes it or not, that is his current state. As a youngish columnist, his chance of dying from COVID-19 is very, very small, less that 1/10th of 1 percent, actually. Does he not realize that hundreds of MDs and PhDs (e.g., here) suggest a more rational approach to COVID-19, offering safety for the most vulnerable but allowing the country to re-open, saving the economic lives and health of tens of millions of workers? Probably not. To pick up on his meme, for Pitts, stupid is as stupid does.

But try as they might, Team Apocalypse is losing their fight to wreak even more havoc on the economy. Victoria Taft summarizes the re-opening rules that were crafted by the Supervisors of Orange County, CA. While the Democrat Governor of California, an avid Team Apocalypse member, works to keep all beaches and parks closed to punish the thousands of Californians who visited them this pasdt weekend. the Supervisors have had enough. Here is Taft's summary of their common sense rules:
  • The rules apply to every business, school, church, entertainment or sports venues.
  • If you’re sick stay home and if you’re in high risk categories, wear a mask when going to doctors and dentists.
  • Work six feet apart from each other. If you can’t, wear a mask. Telecommute if you can.
  • Employers should provide masks. Wear them.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer every 30 minutes at work or wear disposable gloves.
  • Take employees temperatures. If it’s over 100.4º go home.
  • Sterilize surfaces in workplaces, workstations that come into contact with public.
  • If you deal with customers you need to wear a mask and gloves. Customers should wear masks, too.
  • If you can build a physical barrier between employee and customer great, but it’s not required. If you can’t sanitize your hands before every interaction with customers.
  • Parks, beaches, trails are open. Stay socially distanced and use a face covering if the state requires it.
  • If you screw this up, we’ll modify these rules.
Implicit in the rules are these:
  • If you're a member of a vulnerable population (e.g., the elderly) isolate yourself as much as possible, limiting contact with those who might be virus vectors.
  • if you have an underlying health condition or are immuno-suppressed, isolate yourself as much as possible, limiting contact with those who might be virus vectors.
  • If you're generally fearful, don't travel or participate in any activity that puts you into large, crowded venues.
  • If you prefer, continue to shelter in place—no one is forcing you as an individual to do anything you don't want to do.
Early in the COVID-19 crisis, real-world data was sparse and catastrophist models (all now proven grossly inaccurate) ruled policy making. Now, there is clear and growing evidence that the draconian shutdown rules that were applied early led to no better public health outcomes than more moderate approaches that protect vulnerable populations but allow others to work and live their lives with only moderately intrusive restrictions.

Spend a moment and re-read the bulleted list. Unless you're gripped by media-driven hysteria or have an ulterior motive, the re-opening rules proposed by Orange County seem both sensible and effective. Sure, COVID-19 cases will still arise and will likely grow in number as more tests are administered, but that's actually something that leads to herd immunity—our best short term way of combatting COVID-19. And yes, as tragic as it might be, deaths will still occur, but that's happening right now under the draconian shutdown rules. And no, there is no clear evidence, despite fear-mongering by Team Apocalypse, that there will be an appreciable increase in deaths with less restrictive rules. After all, we've already flattened the curve, have we not?