There are certain things we have to rely on the government to handle. Epidemics are near the top of the list. We place our trust that it will act in our best interest. Across the world, with few exceptions, this trust is misplaced. The government claims to be led by exceptional leaders backed up by elite experts. Together they will do the things individuals are unable to do for themselves. We provide the money they tell us they need, and they use it to protect us. Like with the military, we expect those involved with potential epidemics to have plans and the where-with-all to assess the situation in a timely fashion. Starting with its beginning in China and traveling across the globe, Covid-19 exposed much of the world’s leaders as moribund.
It started with President Xi’s Chinese Communist Party’s failure to follow international norms, allowing the disease to circle the globe. Ignoring the disease’s unique characteristics, a large number of nations adopted crushing lockdowns. To be sure, the epidemic was going to cause economic damage in certain areas, such as travel, hospitality, and live entertainment. These would remain hobbled until they could adjust. However, many Governments went much, much further. Economies came to a screeching halt. Like a car on a freeway that suddenly jams on the brakes, the pileups ensued.
Good generals look at each situation as unique. In the movies the “Desert Fox” and “Patton,” we see Rommel and Patton out front with their binoculars evaluating the actual situation. They made their plans on what they saw—no relying on preconceived ideas or past procedures. There was no waiting for subordinates’ reports. They realized every battle is singular.
Right from the beginning, some people looked at the actual Covid-19 data and drew up plans based on what was there. From Asia, through Italy and even New York, the data always said the same thing. This disease affected the elderly and those with underlying conditions. For healthy people under 60, it was no more dangerous than seasonal flu.
Unlike his European neighbors, Anders Tegnell, in Sweden, helped steer his nation away from an extreme lockdown. Unfortunately, Sweden didn’t take the age data as seriously as it should’ve. Almost half of its deaths took place in eldercare. On the other hand, the country avoided the immense damage to its young children by keeping its grade schools open. The Swedes realized there was nothing in the data indicating young children stay at home. While still suffering an economic loss with all its trading partners in lockdown recessions, the Swedes avoided finding how to restart a frozen economy. With less shut down, they spent less to replace economic activity. By allowing full spread, Sweden is probably closer to herd immunity. Even with its poor eldercare results, Sweden’s death rate is in line with other European Countries.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis locked down later and opened up quicker than many states. Yet his home state has a lower number of deaths compared to similar size New York. 29,141 in New York to 2,277 in Florida. The difference is DeSantis made a strong effort to protect the elderly. After all, the data showed the aged were the ones most likely to be affected. Remember, Florida has a higher proportion of elderly than New York.
In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo took the opposite tack. Fearing New York Hospitals would be overwhelmed like those in Italy; he marshaled all his resources in their direction. No way Cuomo was going to have the bad optics of dying patients in overcrowded hospital hallways. Fearing he wouldn’t have enough of everything, he demanded tens of thousands of ventilators, a hospital ship, and field hospitals from the Federal Government. All of which he received. Much of it went unused. What he didn’t do was make any effort towards protecting the elderly. Not satisfied with failing to prioritize help for eldercare, he directed the transfer of infected Covid-19 patients from hospitals to nursing homes. This policy might explain why NY leads the nation in nursing home deaths. Only New Jersey with a similar hospital to the nursing home policy comes anywhere close. Cuomo sums up his attitude towards the elderly this way, “Older people, vulnerable people are going to die from this virus. That is going to happen, despite whatever you do. Because with all our progress as a society, we can’t keep everyone alive.” That’s how you get nine times the eldercare deaths as Florida.
Listen to the “experts” and follow the science they say. Unfortunately, too much of our political establishment and media this has meant the CDC, FDA, and the face of this type of expertise, Dr. Andrew Fauci. We are told this despite their chain of failures. Their botched testing efforts, in the beginning, has left our nation playing catch up since. Their failing to stockpile needed resources, meant having to allocate them to protect the healthcare system from a feared collapse. These actions kept assets from the endangered elderly. Even today, many nursing homes do not have adequate testing and resources.
One thing you couldn’t help but notice about the first pictures coming out of East Asia at the beginning of the epidemic. Most everyone was wearing a mask. Most of these countries have done much better controlling the pandemic than the US. Could widespread mask-wearing contribute to our coronavirus efforts? Not according to Dr.Fauci and the CDC. Initially, these “experts” discouraged general mask-wearing. Only later did they reverse themselves. Of course, obtaining masks then becomes a quest equaling the pursuit of toilet paper. Remember, Dr. Fauchi also downplayed the epidemic early on.
Amazingly, lionizing Dr. Fauci and Gov. Cuomo in still pervades much our media. Recently Froma Harrop, a nationally syndicated columnist, even suggested Joe Biden dump his female VP pledge in favor of the New York Governor. “Under Cuomo’s leadership, the curve of sickness and death turned way down to the levels of March,” she exclaimed. USA Today headlined, “Straight-talking Anthony Fauci has been the nation’s voice on the coronavirus.”
Strangely, hammering Anders Tegnell’s Sweden and Gov. DeSantis by much of the press over any perceived failings is common. Even though they did a better job of following the data and science in not maintaining extreme lockdown mantra, they have them pictured as bloodthirsty madmen. This criticism is in the face of their better results.
So where do we go from here? If there is a second wave, it’s unlikely the US would impose another lockdown. President Trump has flatly said he would be against it. Other than those in epidemiology, experts in different fields are totaling up the damage from the lockdown. Many are coming to the conclusion it was worse than the disease. In its May 21st edition, the Economist acknowledged what many people said right from the beginning, ” The risk of severe COVID-19 is not uniform. That calls for a fine-tuning of measures to stop the disease spreading.” I expect much of Media, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, to adopt this tack. We now have data supporting a targeted approach. Of course, this was true from the beginning. By forcing more media to acknowledge the correct path, we will finally be able to take the right measures. We can get our children back in school, and those who still have jobs can go to work—centering our resources on those in mortal danger. As I have pointed out, this isn’t easy, but it is far better than keeping us in a deliberate depression.
Maybe the media will turn away from failures like the CDC, FDA, Dr. Fauchi and Gov. Cuomo, and listen to those on the right track from the beginning. Will we see some positive press for Sweden or Gov. DeSantis? Will Dr. Scott Atlas and Dr. John Ionnidis be acknowledged as right when Dr. Fauchi was wrong? As the facts eventually come out, there will be no other way.
This exposure will affect our politics going forward. Democrats, by and large, have supported the crushing lockdown and have been reluctant to end it. Many of its supporters haven’t experienced the pain visited on small business owners and the less affluent. However, the longer the lockdown goes on, and even after, the suffering will spread. Now, University Professors and staff experience job loss. Media types are entering the unemployment lines. Many corporations will have no choice but to cut payrolls.
With his panic support of the lockdown, Trump was vulnerable to an outsider attack. That danger passed when Justin Amash failed to identify a golden opportunity to hit both ruling parties. He could’ve “been a contender.” He couldn’t muster the needed intestinal fortitude and dropped out of the race for the Libertarian Party nod. He turned out to be a Jeff Flake clone. A man who spouts his beliefs but won’t fight for them. This action leaves Trump with a leg up. He at least recognized the disastrous lockdown couldn’t continue. He still doesn’t fully understand the situation, but he is still ahead of the Democrats. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.