Taking Stock

I’ve said from the start that I wanted to go where the facts led me, even if that meant converting me from a skeptic to a true believer. It’s really easy for people on all sides of this issue to take a public stance and then ignore any information that might make them reconsider it (just ask Minnesota’s Governor Walz, who stubbornly keeps moving the goalposts). So it is with that in mind that I need to acknowledge an important and incontrovertible FACT: the Wuhan Virus is very dangerous to those above 60 years old or with pre-existing conditions. It is no flu, not by a long shot. Yes, it’s basically harmless to those under 40 and actually less harmful than the flu, but for those vulnerable to it, it is very lethal.

“But what about the overcounting that hospitals are doing? The confirmation bias coding of deaths that is being reported? Do we really know the true danger of the virus?”

No, we don’t know the exact mortality rate of the virus and won’t probably ever know precisely how many it killed. But there are also credible reports of undercounting, particularly early on when states were still in the infancy stages of the pandemic. And yes, the mortality rate being reported (2-4%) is ridiculously high as we have no idea how many actually are infected but asymptomatic. But this is what we do know: in New York last week, they reported 4,700 COVID-related deaths. In a bad flu week, New York reports about 2,000 deaths from all causes.  Let that sink in. The Wuhan Virus caused more than double the total deaths that New York would normally experience. No matter how you look at it, that’s not the flu. Right now, COVID-19 is the leading cause of death in America. Heart disease has been surpassed. Yes, it appears it will likely burn out within the next few weeks, while heart disease never takes a break, but that spike is considerable and currently about double the peak of the 2017-2018 flu virus, which is considered the worst recent flu season.

“Does any of that mean you now think the heavy-handed, unconstitutional power grabs around the country were worth it or ultimately helpful?”

No, I still believe that those onerous Stay-at-Home orders have not served the public good. Lest we forget, what we don’t see on those graphs (and never will) are the lives lost due to the quarantine, or the livelihoods ruined. And like I say in my other post today, we don’t even know that it helped. Many think it did, but we don’t know. But we need to realize or remind ourselves that this isn’t just some common cold. Certain steps do need to be taken to protect the vulnerable. My goal is to promote such steps that cause the least amount of harm possible, on all sides. There is no solution here, unfortunately. As Thomas Sowell says, there are usually only trade-offs.

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