I have been saying this for two weeks now. Take it for what you think it’s worth.
The way the mortality/comorbidity data on COVID-19 is being presented and extrapolated is totally flawed.
We don’t currently have reliable, statistical samples, since most cases of the COVID-19 virus are mild, and mild cases don’t report. Randomized testing isn’t being done either, mainly because the tests were botched in manufacturing and new testing from Roche just came out. Without more random testing, we don’t have enough data from which to draw these very dire conclusions that some important people in media and local governments are making, yet state and local politicians are basing their decision on this flawed data. Because the data is scarce and often flawed, comorbidity reports and mortality rates, regardless of the source, are highly specious. It’s like a bad CNN or NY Times poll, with manipulated sample groups and sizes, being repeated over and over again in the 24 hour news cycle circus.
Here is something to think about. The way we calculate the death rate of the Coronavirus is by looking at deaths/confirmed cases. The way we count the death rate from influenza (regular annual flu) is deaths/estimated cases. Why?
So far, in the 2019/20 Flu season, the CDC says the US has done 1,073,976 tests for influenza and found 222,552 positive. Deaths due to the flu are estimated at 22,000 to 55,000. If we take the low-end of 22,000 and divide that by confirmed cases, it’s a 9.9% death rate.
But, that’s not the way we report it. The CDC uses estimated cases of 36 million to 51 million and gets a death rate in the tenths of a percent for the annual flu. Why?
The point is, we are using very uncertain data to calculate death rates from COVID-19. There are certainly many cases that haven’t been reported. In other words, if we used the same method of reporting the death rate for the regular Flu, the world would panic and global economies and businesses would shut down every year.
On that note, think about what is happening to the economy. Local and state governments are rapidly shutting down major parts of the economy and the impact is already causing a large drop in activity and loss of jobs.
The longer the shutdown lasts, the worse it will get. Not just businesses large and small will be hurt, but so will workers and their families.
It’s a race to the bottom driven by governors and mayors feeling peer pressure to shut down and basing decisions on flawed data. I get that space is needed and lowers infection, etc. but a severe depression such as what these shutdowns can cause will kill far more people than this virus.
And if you think the pain stops there, guess again. Wait until it spreads to State and Municipal finances.
Pensions will be in trouble even more than they already are. Even the Federal Government won’t have enough money to “bridge loan” everyone out.
And if you think it stops there, how about student loans and auto loans? There’s already a budding economic crisis in these two areas if payments delay or stop for just one month.
Some are suggesting a “lockdown” for 30 days, sweetly calling it a “Spring Break.”
This is a really dumb idea.
Every day the economy is shut down, the losses build massively and geometrically, which compounds the blow, weakens the economy and increases danger for other people with other severe health problems.
More importantly, even a 30-day lockdown won’t make the virus go away. In fact, going to the grocery store potentially exposes you. So any solution other than complete martial law and military food delivery to each home shows a willingness of leaders to risk some lives. It won’t work because it’s untenable.
We need other smart solutions.
The US should:
A)Test as many as we can.
B)Build up hospital capacity.
C)Protect the vulnerable and possibly quarantine them from contact, which is far easier and cheaper than quarantining everyone in lockdown.
D)Announce that we will extend the shutdowns for only 10 more days.
E)Let businesses start opening, with common sense safety practices
F)Quarantine or hospitalize the sick, the compromised and high risk.
Not holding these government-imposed lockdowns to a very short time frame risks the entire free market system.
Killing the free market to kill a virus is literally throwing a healthy baby out because the bath water has been tainted. And now, all the big government expansions and solution begin: Government ownership of airlines?Sure! Hotels? Why not? Small business? They’ll all go bankrupt anyway. Your house? Maybe or maybe not, depending if you’re a good boy or girl and agree to stay home, or not. Maybe in that case, the rich folks will be forced to give up their property to pay your bills and your mortgage. How perfectly Bolshevik! Where’s Bernie when we need him?
We just all need to get back to work very, very soon or this will end badly.
Yes, this virus kills, but they all do. And there will be more.
And, according to much research, recessions and unemployment and depression and lack of activity kills too. If we don’t follow these common sense guidelines, in my opinion the government will permanently expand, and the risks to national health, national security, and our economic growth will increase.
Has the Chinese-created chimera been overshadowed by a new government chimera?
Is the “cure” worse than the disease?
Let’s hope not. It’s very hard to put the monster—either virus or sweeping government control of our lives—back in the cave after it’s been unleashed. We need to quickly roll back the curfews and shutdowns and get back to work in two weeks, or the economy and our national health both physical and mental, will suffer. Along with goes some of our freedom and liberty.
If any stimulus is to be done, it should be done to stimulate the supply side, not the demand side.
Yet politicians are proposing dropping money on citizens who cannot even spend it now. You can’t stimulate demand by dropping money on people and then force them to stay home so they can’t go to work to make money or even go out and spend that money.
That’s the most foolish thing I’ve ever heard. Aren’t there any smart economists left in government anymore?
And who does such a plan benefit? Amazon and Netflix? Certainly not the economy.
Any credible form of economic stimulus should get businesses working immediately to create product to fill supply chains, not pay people to sit home. You can’t stimulate demand by dropping money on people and then shut all the businesses and factories so they can’t go to work to create supply or go out and spend the money on goods and service that aren’t there—primarily because of the mandated shutdowns. It’s stupid. We need a better plan. And fast.
One last Rhetorical Question: COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, isn’t the first threatening disease that’s surged around the world — nor will it be the last, the most contagious or the most deadly.
So are we going to shut everything down and crash the world economy, destroy capital formation, and ruin so many more lives than will ever be infected by these terrible diseases every single time one of them hits our shores?
If not, why are we doing that now?
These are my opinions. I’m sure you all have your own, but I hope this makes people think seriously about just what we are doing, before it’s too late.