Imagine a small kingdom that is faced with a disease outbreak of unknown origin and unknown severity. The king, upon being briefed by his staff, gives a speech to his people informing them of what is known and what efforts are being made to determine the severity of the disease. He asks his people to take reasonable precautions, as they would during the cold and flu season. As more information is gathered, he will inform the public so they can act accordingly.
As it becomes clear that the disease is hard on the very old and very sick, but not much of a threat to everyone else, efforts are made to insulate the very old and those in nursing homes. The public is informed of this and told to be extra cautious around the very old and very sick. Resources are made available to those charged with caring for the very old and sick. Otherwise, the public is asked to go about their business as they would in the cold and flu season.
This probably sounds completely insane to most people, but it used to be the way rulers handled public health matters. In the Asian Flu and Hong Kong flu outbreaks last century, the public was informed and reasonable precautions were taken by local government to limit the impact. Schools might be closed for a few weeks until the wave passed through a community, for example. The flu came and went, as they always do, with a varying degrees of impact on communities.
Of course, this was not the case with the Covid pandemic. Instead of doing what has always been done, our rulers rushed to the nearest television camera and told everyone they are going to die. Hairy old men in sundresses were sent out to scare the public and not just over the idea of mentally disturbed men in sundresses being put in charge of public health. No, their job was to convince the public that this is the end times and that everyone must lock themselves at home.
Not only was it not the end times, but it is looking like what skeptics have been saying all along, a tougher than normal flu season. The CDC has updated their kill data, adjusting the death toll down a modest 94%. Just six percent of deaths can actually be attributed to Covid. That’s about ten thousand people. The rest were afflicted with other diseases that were likely to kill them. Covid may have hastened their demise, but that is speculation. William Briggs has a good summary of the new data.
The long and short of it for those looking for the condensed version is that Covid by itself is not much of a threat to most people. Even old healthy people are not particularly vulnerable to this virus. It is the very old and the very sick, especially the very sick, who are at risk of this disease. In fact, the man-made panic may very well have killed more people than the disease itself. Think about all of the health care not being done due to closing hospitals and doctor’s offices.
Now, the obvious push-back will be that we did not know six months ago that this disease would not live up to the promise. The panic was a necessary precaution against the possibility of a much more lethal disease. The implication here is that we must assume the worst-case scenario in every instance and react accordingly. The fact that the worst case is also the rarest case, means we have to operate as if the natural world is nothing but exceptions, a world of miracles.
Even if one wants to turn the precautionary principle on its head this way, we had enough data early on to know it was not going to be the Black Death. Data from Italy and China showed that Covid was a killer of the very old and the very sick. The early models used to justify the panic were invalidated from the start. as far back as April, the justifications for the panic were undermined by what we knew. There was never a good reason to do what has been done in response to Covid.
The bottom line in all of this is the man-made panic has done more damage to American society than the virus. There are the unnecessary deaths and suicides that were caused by the panic. There is the massive transfer of wealth from small business to corporate giants. This will accelerate the decline in social capital, accelerating the decline in local community. The Covid Panic is not the Xhosa Cattle Killing cult, at least not yet, but the comparison is too obvious to ignore.
Perhaps the most important take-away from this man-made disaster is that none of the people responsible for it will be held accountable. In a sane world, there would at least be a truth and reconciliation commission, where the people responsible would explain themselves and ask for mercy. Instead, these people peddling panic will face no consequences and no doubt profit from their crimes. They won’t even have the decency to admit they were wrong about the severity of the disease.
Finally, this is example six million that the people in charge of America are too corrupt and incompetent to perform the basic duties of rule. In order to live something close to a normal life, Americans have to navigate around a thicket of pirates, bandits and incompetent bureaucrats all looking to rob the public. Slathered onto that is a ruling class ham-handedly addressing problems of their own creation. American are being strangled by an anaconda of incompetence from above.
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