Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Have We Overreacted?

Up to now people worldwide and here at home have largely cooperated with government shutdowns, but things are changing. The economic cost has been unprecedented. More people have lost their jobs than did in the Great Depression. Small businesses people spent their lifetimes building have been severely hurt and some have been destroyed. Trillions in stock values have gone “Poof.” Almost every American life has been disrupted in some way. Backlash has begun around the country with demonstrations at various statehouses where Democrat governors ordered the strictest, most-extended shutdowns.

As we’re learning more about this virus, some are beginning to question whether it was all necessary. Sweden, for example, has allowed businesses and most schools to remain open and left it up to individual citizens how to respond. They’ve come under criticism from across Europe including from neighboring Norway, a very similar country in nearly every way, which shut down much as America has. Sweden wagered that most citizens would eventually get the virus anyway and it would achieve herd immunity more quickly while other countries extended their vulnerability.

By some calculations, Sweden has had more deaths than Norway per capita, but Covid-19 mortality statistics are worked out differently across the globe. Here in America, for example, deaths of people who never tested positive for Covid-19 are nonetheless counted as victims of the virus. Those who did test positive but who may have died of more serious co-morbidities are still counted as victims of Covid-19. As I wrote in last week’s column, our shutdown was largely prompted by a virus model by Neil Ferguson out of Oxford University that has since proven way overblown.

Neil Ferguson caused panic
We don’t yet know if Sweden’s bet will pay off. While its death rate is twice Denmark’s, it’s only half of France’s according to Vanity Fair last Friday. An Israeli study published last week indicates that the virus goes through all human populations in eight weeks regardless of whether a country shuts down or not. President Trump’s Covid-19 Task Force pats itself on the back for saving thousands of lives with its shutdown policies, but are they correct? If the Israeli model proves true, what’s the likelihood that Trump would ever admit he was wrong? In an election year?

Even less likely to admit it would be mainstream media. All through March and April, they’ve done little but spread fear and criticize Trump for not shutting down early enough or strictly enough. Some Libertarians have suggested that neither federal nor state governments have legitimate authority to shut down the country and lawsuits have been filed to challenge them. We have so far used computer models and algorithms to predict the path Covid-19 would take, but now we’re seeing evidence that many models were flawed.

No major media figure nor political leader has dared question whether this has all been necessary. Did total shutdown increase the likelihood of a second viral wave in the fall? We don’t know. Will Sweden’s milder approach decrease that likelihood? We don’t know that either. Political leaders with their medical advisors have been forced to make decisions based on incomplete data. To what degree will they be held responsible if subsequent data prove them wrong? We don’t know, but it’s a safe bet that political partisans will point fingers if they believe it will help them electorally.

As testing for both the virus and antibodies to it are administered more widely, we’re learning unexpected things. So far — and we still have a long way to go — we’re learning that many more of us have been exposed to Covid-19 than expected. It looks like upwards of 30% of Americans may have antibodies but few if any symptoms. Would this be good news or bad news?

Usually I watch Fox’s Bret Baier deliver the news at 6:00 PM weeknights, but he’s often preempted of late by President Trump and his virus team. Trump hogs the podium and repeats things so much that I’ve been switching over to CBS, ABC, and NBC. What strikes me most about network anchors there is their melodrama, especially when reporting on the virus, and wonder if it’s genuine or affected. I suspect the latter.

Swedish leaders and their medical advisors have withstood withering criticism for their outlier policies both from within Sweden and from across the globe. Whatever the outcome, they won’t avoid repercussions. It might be continued condemnation, but it might ultimately be praise. We don’t know yet. How much criticism will this smalltime columnist receive for even suggesting that American politicians and media may have overreacted at enormous cost to our economy and our day-to-day lives? We don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll find out very soon.


Malcolm said...

Why lockdowns are the wrong policy - Swedish expert Prof. Johan Giesecke


Brian said...

Lots to think about...good column.

Steve said...

Asking the question, did we overreact doesn’t seem productive to me. It’s a subjective question. The people who lost loved ones will likely say we didn’t overreact. Some who lost employment, permanently or temporarily, will say we did overreact. This is a brand new virus, and we had no idea what we were dealing with. We had no idea how this virus function or mutate. We assumed a low rate of transmissibility, but that’s only because its coolest relatives, SARS and MERS, had low rates of transmissibility. But alarmingly odd symptoms occur. In addition to death and lasting decreased lung capacity, people are losing their senses of smell and taste. They develop blood clots and something called covid toe in kids that are blisters resembling frost bite.
Instead of asking, did we overreact, we need to take a brutally objective look at this and ask, where did we fail and where did we get caught flat-footed? Where were we too reliant on other countries for necessities? What mitigation efforts worked and which ones did not? Because this is going to happen again? Every ecosystem – micro and macro – reaches a homeostasis where every species is kept in check, and no one species proliferates and overruns the environment. The exception to that is going to be the human species. Nothing keeps our numbers in check. We started out with Adam and Eve, and now we’re up to 7.5 billion. The earth has limited space with limited resources and can’t support a limitless human population. The US population is about 325 million and the global population is about 7.5 billion. What happens when the US population begins to approach 7 billion and the global population begins to approach 30 or 40 billion? Something is going to limit our population growth. It could be war. It could be a lack of food or water. It could also be another virus, one more transmissible than covid and far deadlier, one where the death toll is measured not in a number of people but rather a percentage of the population. We need to learn from this example and use that to prepare for the next time it occurs. It may not be in the lifetimes of anyone on this board, but it’s going to happen.
Mr. McLaughlin, can you link something that shows the death stats are over inflated?

Kafir said...

I disagree, Tom, that Trump hogs the podium and is excessively redundant. He has had a myriad number of “players” featured on his Team. The major networks don’t even carry the live feed. CNN does so but not every evening. To open or close the economy when and how is partisan. Brian, Steve and others can debate whether the cure is worst than the disease in this and every subsequent column you post on the subject.

I watched a webinar today by the Center for Security Policy featuring Brian Kennedy and Steve Mosher as guests. (Not interested in claims the CSP is a far-right fringe group) These folks have decades of experience with communist China.

Several things:
1. The coronavirus did not originate in the Wuhan wet markets; it was in a bio lab in Wuhan which has isolated 2,000 viruses.
2. The CCP was more interested in protecting its power and prestige above all else.
3. This virus was part of a “gain of function” research program to make it more lethal.
4. Xi Jinping with his new title of Peoples’ Leader was the main driver behind its spread outside of China.
5. This was a test of their bio weapon technology as the “Bully of Asia” and their determination to be the dominant country globally.

I encourage everyone to watch the video in its entirety since what I mentioned was only a fraction of the information.

Brian said...

Kafir, the only one debating whether the cure is worse than the disease here is Tom. I didn't get into it, I only said Tom had some food for thought. And Steve said it wasn't worth debating but we should concern ourselves with what we can do better next time. I'm not sure what purpose your fringe, unproven conspiracy theories do to help anything.


Did you see Big Foot while out walking on Earth Day today?

Kafir said...

Did you know that the first Earth Day, April 22,1970, was chosen to coincide with Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin’s Centennial? See: Discover the Networks-EDN.

You didn’t watch the CSP video, did you?

Brian said...

groan.....I'm surprised you didn't try tying in the "Unicorn Killer" into it as well. Do you believe EVERY conspiracy theory you hear?

samantha joy said...


Kafir said...

Billions of dollars lost, thousands of jobs lost, suicides up along with an increase in drug and alcolol abuse not to mention an uptic in domestic violence. The governor of Maine loves round-table discussions and say-nothing press conferences while claiming science will be the determining factor for re-opening the state.

Maine is now one of a dozen states to enrolled in a program developed by Navigo, Inc. known as “Restart Now”. There isn’t a single county that is in a high risk category, 5 are in a medium and 11 in low categories. 11 of 16 counties have had NO deaths. These are hard stats, but will the governor or media use them? Very doubtful.

Partisan politics is driving this insanity. Fmi, see: https://restartnow.io/us/maine

Brian said...

I'm hoping by now Kafir has realized his mistake in stating something as fact, like:

"Did you know that the first Earth Day, April 22,1970, was chosen to coincide with Russian dictator Vladimir Lenin’s Centennial?"

Because that is just a theory thought up one day with no evidence by some random comptroller from Georgia. More truthful would have been, "Did you know that some people believe that....blah blah blah.....check out my link to see why"

As to the April 22 date being the same as Lenin's birthday, here's an idea for you. Look into who Julius Sterling Morton was. Hint: he founded Arbor Day in 1872. Guess what is birthday is? Bingo! April 22. What a weird coincidence. But I guess not as interesting as the Lenin thing.

So you see why people may be reluctant to take what you say without a lot of grains of salt.

Anyway, I worry for your health. I hope you are not listening to your genius leader and injecting disinfectant. Not trying to get some Tide Pods into your bloodstream....conspiracy theorists would be the first to go along this sort of thing. Not too much different than suggesting people should drink poison Kool-Aid.

Kafir said...

I think Brian attended The Rockwood Leadership Institute as did Andrew Gillam, Van Jones, Linda Sarsour and many other hard-Left revoultionaries. His training thinks it made him a world class social justice warrior. It didn’t. If he had read Discover the Networks article on Earth Day and the Earth Day Network, he might actually learn something. He won’t.

Brian said...

I think the disinfectant has been getting to your brain, Kafir.

That "coincidental" birthday of the founder of Arbor Day is weird though, huh?

Kafir said...

You must know by now that I don’t read your posts. At best I skim them. Keep trying though.

Brian said...

You must know that I know that you actually do read them and have to pretend you don't to protect your pride.

I still can't get over that gosh darn coincidence with Earth Day and the founder of Arbor Day...

Kafir said...


Steve said...

Correct, Trump didn’t recommend people inject themselves with anything. He did earnestly look to Dr. Birx and expect her to study the effects of a disinfectant injection on Covid in the human body. Her reaction was priceless. She couldn’t embarrass him so she had to take him seriously, but she artfully down played the feasibility while not pointing out the obvious fatal side effect of such a treatment. It was like watching a kindly grandmother explain to her grandchild why they can’t get a pet polar bear.

Unknown said...

This is an interesting article. My German friend commented that if any country has a Trump like president, you should not be surprised the country goes down quickly. This article seems supporting that theory.


Unknown said...

A stunning GOP playbook! It is a road map of guaranteed “Winning”.


Kafir said...

That’s rich. Did your German friend ever hear of Hitler? Now, the communist activist raised in East Germany, Angela Merkel, is flooding her country with Middle Eastern and African Muslim welfare slugs. What could possibly go wrong?

Brian said...

It was "like watching a kindly grandmother explain to her grandchild why they can’t get a pet polar bear."

LOL...hard to better sum up watching the Trump "presidency".

The article "The President is Not Well" was spot on.

And I still marvel over that coincidence with Earth Day and the birthday of the founder of Arbor Day. I would think that they were connected If I wasn't informed by Kafir so matter-of-factly that it was about Lenin....

Kafir said...

Can you read, Brian? Did you visit “Discover the Networks” and search for Earth Day? Of course, not. You’d rather pontificate drivel.

As far as Germany and Comrade Merkel, see:

Brian said...

Oh, I read it. And I saw absolutely ZERO proof of Lenin's birthday being a factor in choosing the date, just some speculation by Brian Sussman.

That "coincidence" of Arbor Day must really stick in your craw. Do you just ignore such things that don't jive with your made-up mind?

Emergency hotlines are receiving hundreds of calls about disinfectant because of the orange clown's stupid and dangerous comments. He now pretends he was just being "sarcastic", but we all saw the tape.

Brian said...

If you are brave enough to step out of your "safe place", this is hilarious!


Hungry? said...


Kafir said...

Amazing briefing tonight with the CEOs of companies in the public-private partnership that Trump and Pence have set up. What are the despicable Cryin’ Chuck, Shiftie Schiff and Antoinette Pelosi doing? Trying to investigate Trump once again.

Trump promised an in depth investigation into the origins of the virus. I see it as the CCP, but it will be better to have a thorough high level investigation.

There was mention of a Maine company, Puritan, which will be producing many swabs for tests.

The children in the fake media mostly refrained from stupid, redundant questions. NBC and ABC did not cover it live but CBS and CNN surprisingly did and, of course as always, Fox did also.

Just waiting for the lugnuts to report how Trump is deranged and incompetent which is sickingly laughable.

Brian said...

Oooh, maybe Trump will also start an investigation into the origins of the Flu while he's at it!

This orange clown may be responsible for more deaths than Pennywise....

Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA." -Trump

Feb.26: "within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” - Trump

March 6: “Anybody that wants a test can get a test. That’s what the bottom line is.” -Trump lies

March 25: "Nobody could have ever seen something like this coming" -Trump lies

April 23: "And I then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute, and is there a way you can do something like that by
injection inside"

Kafir said...


Brian said...

lol...perfect! It shows exactly what Trumpies do when presented with any facts that go against their worshipped idol.

One has to be awake to realize true reality!

Reality Check said...

U.S. intelligence agencies issued warnings about the coronavirus in more than a dozen classified briefings prepared for President Trump in January and February, months during which he continued to play down the threat, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The repeated warnings were conveyed in issues of the President’s Daily Brief, a sensitive report that is produced before dawn each day and designed to call the president’s attention to the most significant global developments and security threats.

Jared James Bristol said...

I won't get into this pissing contest with the likes of Bri-Bri and Steve. Just one comment: Trump ASKED if treating patients with a disinfectant (even internally) might be possible? He never mentioned Lysol. He is not lacking in self-confidence and is not afraid to show it when he doesn't know everything... like the two fellows above. He wears his heart and his thoughts on his sleeve. The fact is that we do inject people with the equivalent of "disinfectants" in the form of antibiotics, chemo and the like. So get off your mighty leftist high horses and see a man (a mortal unlike yourselves) doing all he can, albeit with mistakes, to bring us through China's horrid plague upon the country and the world, while people like you find fault with every move he makes. I'm sure Obama's red line would have been a brilliant alternative?

Kafir said...

“One has to be awake to realize true reality.” Do you mean like “Sleepy Joe” when the Hildabeast endorsed him?

Jared, Aytu Bioscience signed an agreement to TEST UV-A phototherapy with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on April 20th, four days before Trump made his remarks. We also all know that he only said he was PRESENTING the idea of using disinfectants internally and NEVER said to use them as every Leftist media outlet has claimed. Don’t tell Brian or Steve though. It may trigger the poor souls.

Good news for Maine. Paul LePage will run against Mills in 2022. 👍

Jared James Bristol said...

Kafir, Good Lord thank you! Paul come on back! Of course the Governess has blown the entire treasury you established already, but should you win, we'll get back on a sane track in a hurry. There is hope.

petercmurray26@gmail.com said...

While I agree with Hyperbole Tom, that the mask issue has become political, it was not the Democrats who made this political. In fact, your man in White house has made it political from the beginning. Wearing a mask is not infringing on anyone’s first amendment rights. It is called common sense. I will leave it for others to decide whether you have common sense. Here are some facts. All on tape by the way.
Your MAGA friend in the White House has acted slow, poorly and basically told the states they were on their own. The simple fact that he is not wearing a mask is a message to MAGA supporters to resist. That is political. When Rand Paul had the virus, he went swimming in the congressional pool without caring who he infected, I found that political and he is a former Doctor.
Your issue is that wearing a mask fogs up your glasses. Oh, poor baby. I find wearing my mask with glasses a small inconvenience in order to stop the spread of this virus. My 89-year-old Father is in the at-risk category. Every time we go for a walk, he wears a mask, to protect himself and anyone else that he comes into contact with. He protects those people like yourself who refuse to wear a mask. Here’s a suggestion for you Hyperbole. Perhaps there is a scientist who has come up with an electronic windshield wiper. You could put them on your glasses. There would be a button you could turn on and viola instantly it wipes off the fog on your glasses.

Peter C. Murray.