According to Andrew Cuomo, the Lord High Governor of New York, history will judge us on how we dealt with the Wuhan flu. He wanted to do everything that he could. Then he played the “ultimate” card: Save one life, and it will all be worth it.
Related: Have we really counted the costs?
Sorry to go to my usual well, but this was the battle cry for the gun ban efforts of the 1970s. “If it saves one life” is a completely irrational rationale. Not only does it imply that it’s a binary choice, but it also ignores the other side of the question: how many lives were saved via firearm use?
Unfortunately, there seem to be far more questions than answers regarding the infection rate, death count, number of cases, and the recovery rate of COVID-19. Let’s posit that the medical experts are doing their best. Let’s also posit that their models lean towards presenting a “worse case” scenario to encourage efforts to minimize the toll. It is now clear with our 20/20 hindsight that there was much that they didn’t know.
In one example, first, we were told that masks are useless. Then we were told that masks must be reserved for medical providers. (Why, if they’re useless?) Then we were told that masks don’t protect the wearer from others, they protect others from you. Now we’re told that masks can protect you, the wearer. To borrow from the movie “Meatballs”: C’mon, Morty, make up your mind.
We’re discovering that many people had mild or no symptoms so they didn’t seek treatment and thus weren’t counted in the denominator. We’re also discovering that different countries, as well as different states, are counting COVID-19 deaths differently. Deaths where the virus was present but not a clear factor are still counted as COVID deaths. Deaths, where the infection status is unknown, aren’t. That muddles the numerator. So, we may never know the actual numbers and the actual lethality.
“Social distancing” logically has some effect in reducing the spread. Taken to an extreme, if you were sick and lived without any contact with anyone else, you wouldn’t infect anyone else. However, the stated purpose of social distancing was NOT to reduce the overall number of infections or the number of deaths. The actual purpose was to “flatten the curve” to avoid overwhelming the hospital systems with a huge rush of patients. Well, as we can observe, even NYC’s hospitals have not been overrun. In fact, many hospitals have furloughed large portions of their staff.
We were told that this stay-at-home period would just be a couple of weeks. No wait, it’s 4 weeks. No wait, it’ll be 3 months. As soon as a vaccine is developed, so maybe 12 – 18 months more. Hmm, what sort of country would be left after another 18 months of shut-down? I shudder to think of it. Staying away from groups of people also diminishes the ability of “herd immunity” to reduce the virus’s available hosts (See: Sweden).
The loose definition of “essential business” is providing an opportunity for petty tyrants in local and state governments to get some playtime. The City of San Clemente, CA used tons of sand to fill in a skate park. The governor of Michigan has forbidden stores from selling garden seeds. The mayor of Los Angeles has threatened to shut off the power and water of people who don’t stay at home. (Wouldn’t it be quite difficult to live in a home without power and water?) Several governors have demanded that gun stores close while allowing liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries to remain open. NYC’s mayor has established a tip line where you can snitch on your neighbors. What country does that remind you of?
Sadly, with rare exceptions, State power only ratchets in one direction: towards more power. We’re still paying the “temporary” tax on telephone calls that started in 1898. Yay!
The Constitution has no provisions for suspension of Rights during a pandemic. While that doesn’t mean that some measures can’t be taken that temporarily (keyword) impinge on our Natural Rights, they can’t just be tossed aside. We still have the right to assemble, to worship, to petition the government, and to keep and bear arms. The people who create a binary choice here (keep the lockdown or get ready for many deaths) seem unable to look at the big picture. The number of lost jobs have dragged us from record low unemployment to a near-record high. An increased number of suicides and drug overdoses has been correlated with increased unemployment. What number of deaths is “acceptable” to support the restrictions?
I think that it is time to get our wonderful country back on track if we can. Printing money without backing is not the answer unless the goals are to increase the State’s power and to accustom citizens’ dependency on the State. That is simply unacceptable.