A proposal for "unlocking" New Hampshire (which had better be done pretty dang fast). - Granite Grok

A proposal for “unlocking” New Hampshire (which had better be done pretty dang fast).

NH COVID-19 incidence case-map FI

What’s in our faces: 1) death by pandemic or 2) economic death by Government fiat in trying to deal with the first?

I’ve been staring at the Chinese Flu map of NH for days now and watch how slowly most of NH is getting shaded from white to something else close to it except for two counties: Hillsborough and Rockingham. Pretty much the bulk of our epidemic is the southeast counties of the State (and perhaps Lebanon and Hanover in the Northwest). The rest of the State has fairly low incidence on a per capita basis in comparison. While I think that the IMHE model that Ed has been banging on has been absolutely crap for most of its time, IF IT IS TO BE BELIEVED going forward (yet to be seen), that low level “of needs / deaths” it is reporting for NH will most likely continue at that level. So if the health crisis is subsiding, why shouldn’t the economic one fade as well?

Sidenote: BTW, how many overdose deaths have we had during this extent of time? That crisis seems to have faded completely away from the news cycle. Which has higher death rates?

Sidenote: How ARE NH COVID-19 deaths being counted? The lax way (oh, there was a presence there) or the strict way (it WAS COVID-19 regardless of other comorbilities being present)?

So, Gov. Sununu: which is NOW more dangerous to the State – more China Flu deaths or zippo activity for small businesses that have gone revenueless for 6, 8, or more weeks? Leading to their deaths (and those jobs with them).  Are you, single handedly,  going to Cloward-Piven the backbone of NH’s economic engine by keeping them shuttered?  Or in keeping everything continued to be corked up, Cloward-Pivening the State’s welfare and unemployment systems? After all, what’s the run rate for either given the State’s bankrolls before they go broke?

Chose wrong and you might get a two-fer and screw up and get both.

Things are starting to look OK for one but the other one should be hooked up to one of the ventilators that is said to no longer needed by the IMHE model. Just as with the “health race”, the virus the body’s immune system is running to heal and the virus is racing to destroy, we’ve got the economic race going: revenue and employment vs no-revenues and hoping for MORE Federal bailouts (er, the latter is not something you ought to be depending on). If you don’t start lifting this Government imposed lockdown and soon, how well will NH handle a man-created economic Depression once you do lift it? And I do mean “man” made.

I dryly note that NH can’t even get its Department of Employment Security to work right – my neighbors are aghast and full of angst at how bad this part of Government is operating (or more truthfully, NOT working) as they spend hour after hour after MORE hours on the phone in trying to get enrolled into the system and getting HIGHLY agitated when mistakes by Government keeps sending them to the back of the line to start over. It’s a complete disaster. A man-made disaster.

And so you get to pick their form of Destructor.

So, my Suggestion?

Time to cast off the shackles now and depend on the good folks of NH to act well. After all, this IS the Live Free or Die State – and Freedom does connote Responsibility (even as there will be a few knuckleheads around). There are a lot of folks that have just about had it with being bossed around in the tiniest things of life and given the number, not exactly embracing the loss of their Rights. While they are good citizens, they are viewing this encroachment with eyes getting very narrowed and self-righteously saying “Constitution? What happened to what used to be “inviolate and to “not be infringed”. Patience is wearing thin.

Beware the Preference Cascade…

I don’t know exactly what the percentage is here in NH but nationally, stats are saying that people are observing social distancing (about 90+%). Trust that. The State’s fatality rate is 23 in a population of 1.35 million with 10 of those in three nursing homes leaving 13 across the general population.  While each is a tragedy for families and friends, the context is 22 out of 1.35 million – that’s not even a rounding error. Even the total number on “the map“, a total caseload of 929 as I write this, is 0.07% – still a rounding error.  FAR MORE people are going to be hurt economically (leading to a spike of economic deaths via bankruptcies) if you keep the lockdown in place.

Don’t be Michigan. Or Vermont. Both seem to have tin-pot despotic authoritarians that have no problem in micro-managing their people and economies. We have a name for that of society.

So open what businesses?

EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  Instead of basing it on geography, base your “Open the doors!” based on where the pandemic isn’t (see your own incidence map again). We aren’t going to overload the healthcare system (at least as known right now).

No need to discriminate on the size of a business or type type of business. People can continue to practice safe habits. BUT!

  • Do it based on level of COVID-19 incidence rates by area
  • Those areas that are free (or almost) of active cases, let them go back to “almost normal”. There is no need, if we are passed the apex (IMHE model, again) to keep the screws locked down without a reason.  You had the Pause.  All good things must come to an end and this should before all good economic things end as well.
  • Those are are at lightly to medium incidence (1-9), unlock those businesses that can avoid a lot of contact. If there is more contact associated with a business, lessen the lockdown to incorporate social distance within those establishments (e.g. restaurants limiting inside clientele numbers and tables – and plenty of napkins with which to wipe masks (heh!)). But get them going to save peoples’ economic lives.

Sidenote: PLEASE get barbers and hairdressers going!  While I am not one to pay much attention to my coiffeur, and my hair length has not yet reached that shown in either my high school grad or wedding pictures, it won’t take too much longer. Longer hair at my age isn’t a pretty sight – not even my GraniteGrok hat can cover it up for much longer.

  • Virtually continue to cordon off that those two high incidence counties and/or cities as currently done – there’s a need for it. If and when those areas incidents subside, lighten up on them as above.

Institute a plan or process that reacts to the need and not the one-size-fits-all that has been employed thus far. Open them up. Let them solve the problems in ways that are best for them. Get Government OUT OF THE WAY and just let them work again (well, if they still have a job to go back to.  That’s on you – you completely own this).  Do not treat a “no one infected” area the same as the areas that are the hardest hit. There’s no good reason to treate the Great North Woods the same as Manchester or Portsmouth. Just stop that treating everyone the same when there are many that AREN’T the same.

But I digress. Look downward from the State level to the County and Town entities – get more granular. Local decisions are better than higher levels. Set them free to heal themselves. They know their issues far better than Concord does.