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

Wednesday, September 02, 2020


Those of us who in March warned that the lockdown of the U.S. economy was a VERY bad idea (e.g., herehereherehere, and here), did so based on a common sense, critical thinking and a limited data set that was being collected from places where COVID-19 was then rampant—China (data unreliable) and Italy (data much more reliable). What we saw was a virus that was not statistically dangerous for anyone under the age of 50, had statistically limited potential to harm people between 50 and 70, and was dangerous for those over 70 with other health conditions. Those who were statistically threatened by the virus could have been protected in a variety of ways, but a national lockdown wasn't one of them, Political leaders were given very bad advise by public health "experts" (think: Dr. Anthony Fauci among many), never even considered risk analysis, and decided that CYA was the most prudent path.

Now we are beginning to learn just how bad their decisions were: Donald Luskin reports:

The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections.

Considering that lockdowns are economically costly and create well-documented long-term public-health consequences beyond Covid, imposing them appears to have been a large policy error. At the beginning, when little was known, officials acted in ways they thought prudent. But now evidence proves that lockdowns were an expensive treatment with serious side effects and no benefit to society.

TrendMacro, my analytics firm, tallied the cumulative number of reported cases of Covid-19 in each state and the District of Columbia as a percentage of population, based on data from state and local health departments aggregated by the Covid Tracking Project. We then compared that with the timing and intensity of the lockdown in each jurisdiction. That is measured not by the mandates put in place by government officials, but rather by observing what people in each jurisdiction actually did, along with their baseline behavior before the lockdowns. This is captured in highly detailed anonymized cellphone tracking data provided by Google and others and tabulated by the University of Maryland’s Transportation Institute into a “Social Distancing Index.”

Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown—which range from April 5 to April 18—it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger Covid outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns—the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts—had the heaviest caseloads.

Of course, members of Team Apocalypse like Joe Biden (actually Joe is probably is clueless, but his handlers are not) and Nancy Pelosi (she of the comical hair salon scandal) insist that lockdowns are still on the table and that they're "listening to the science." Nancy and Joe wouldn't know science or statistics if those subjects kicked them in the keister (as Joe B. might say in one of his few lucid moments).

Of course, modern politicians NEVER admit their mistakes, so it's important to watch their actions. At least GOP governors along with Donald Trump have stated that there will be no lockdowns gong forward. That's a clear indication that they recognize that what they did was a mistake. Dem governors and mayors, along with national leaders seem to look forward to continuing lockdowns. There are only two possibilities: (1) they are innumerate and scientifically illiterate, or (2) they want the lockdowns to continue because the anger those lockdowns generate might lead to votes against Donald Trump. The former can be forgiven—stupidity is something we've seem in spades throughout the COVID crisis. The latter, however, is unforgivable. Playing with people's lives and livelihoods, ruining thens of thousands of businesses, keeping schools closed and the country in a dark mood, all to gain power, is reprehensible.