By now, we know that it is likely that this virus had its origins in the Level IV Biohazard Lab in Wuhan.
— Gordon G. Chang (@GordonGChang) April 13, 2020
We know that the Chinese Communist Party lied to the world about the danger the virus posed and the extent of local infection. We know that China permitted five million people to travel from Wuhan, with many of them infected, before locking Wuhan down. This spread the epidemic world-wide.
We know that the World “Health” Organization echoed Chinese propaganda that said the infection was contained and could not spread from person to person. This led to a substantial delay in mitigation worldwide, and ultimately led to the new Great Depression. And I’m not talking about how people feel.
We know that Doctors Fauci and Birx, echoed by other Quixotic Quislings of Quarantine, claim that the lockdown has successfully “flattened the curve” of COVID19 infections.
We have to ask how the Q3s know that they were successful. The answer is simple. They don’t. This is a “Scientific” Wild-Assed Guess. They claim to be scientists, so that accounts for the “S” in their SWAG technique. The models they trumpeted prove the point. As Dr. Fauci famously stated, “All models are wrong. Some models are useful.”
Fauci’s favored IMHE models initially said that we’d have between one and two and a half million fatalities from this scourge. Note that from the beginning, IMHE assumed mass social distancing and lockdowns. Such a scary number led us to destroy twenty times that many lives by eliminating their jobs. With each passing day, the model has been revised downward to sixty thousand, a number on par with the 2018 seasonal flu mortality (CDC reports 61,000 for 2018). It is also just 2.4% of the upper number at the beginning. Any model that missed the mark by 97.6% has not been useful and should be rejected out of hand.
But Fauci and Birx maintain that the lockdown has been successful. Really? A group from Stanford has reviewed what we know from current data, not made-up guesses. If you are under age 65 and don’t have any bad underlying medical conditions, your risk of dying from Wuhan Flu even in the New York hotbed is the same as dying after driving your car for 414 miles. Yup. It approaches zero.
If we compare the US to Taiwan and South Korea, the picture becomes even more clear. As of April 15, Taiwan had six – count ’em – six total COVID19 deaths. They did not lock down. They kept working normally. “Maybe that’s because they’re an island and cut off travel.” Maybe. So let’s move to South Korea, where we know that they had a lot more cases.
The data show that South Korea, which also kept working without a stay at home order, has had 244 COVID19 deaths. That’s 5.6% of the US rate. The US has eighteen times as many deaths per million people as South Korea. So much for the idea that putting twenty million people out of work was a good idea. President Trump has been played for a fool… by fools.
What did South Korea, with its incredibly dense Seoul population do to prevent the spread of Wuhan Flu? They did basic epidemiology, something Drs Fauci and Birx supposedly understand. People at high risk are isolated as much as they can. That means the elderly and all with bad medical conditions stay away other people as much as they can. Sick people are tested, and positive results lead to quarantine and contact tracing. This keeps sick people, who are more likely to spread the disease than stealth carriers, away from the public. Assembling people in tight spaces such as schools has also been restricted. Ordinary work has continued.
Note that all of these measures are designed to do two things. First, they keep high risk people away from possible infection. Second, they keep sick people away from healthy people. That’s it. Since COVID19 infects a very small portion of the population at any moment, you must target your efforts around that tiny group. Massive restrictions on people who are low risk cannot help, and will most definitely hurt, as recent economic data make clear.
There are some things that the general public can do to reduce their risk of getting Wuhan Flu, and they’re the same ordinary things you do to avoid getting seasonal flu or a cold. You don’t shake hands with or get too close to someone who is sick. You wash your hands and use hand sanitizer. That’s pretty much all. Masks are not useful. Let me say that again.
Masks are not useful for the general public. COVID19 health care workers use them because they are very close to people with active infections. And they use N95 masks that are designed, if properly fitted, to filter out 95% of all particles in the air. Unless you are in a very unusual circumstance or are an absolute idiot, you won’t need one.
I spent 36 years wearing a surgical mask nearly all day. It wasn’t to prevent me from getting sick. It was to keep me from infecting the patient’s wound with the bacteria in my mouth. All that mask wearing in public is worthless, unless you are already sick. Then it reduces the chance of you infecting someone else. Funny, that’s what it does in the operating room.
Of course, you shouldn’t be out when you’re sick, anyway. If you aren’t sick, your chance of getting something from someone else at Costco approaches zero as long as you aren’t constantly crowding them in the aisles. So what do reasonable precautions look like, and how should we re-open the economy?
First, we want to protect the most vulnerable. The elderly and infirm need to stay away from anything resembling crowds (like lines at the door of Costco) unless there is no other option. If they must be there, then N95 masks make sense, because they are most susceptible to infection and complications. By the way, gloves are a bad joke, because most people simply are not trained in their proper doffing and disposal. Hand sanitizer is more effective for the untrained.
First responders and health care workers need adequate personal protective equipment. They are in a high-exposure environment, so protection is meaningful. They are also trained in its proper use.
The general public doesn’t need anything other than basic precautions that anyone should take to avoid a cold. Don’t crowd or touch anyone who is ill. Wash your hands or use sanitizer when you think they are soiled in any way. That’s it. Full stop.
As long as basic steps are taken to keep ill persons out of crowded public spaces, we should stop worrying. Yes, the occasional cluster of cases will pop up because there’s no way to fully contain a virus in the wild. When that happens, track and trace will limit the spread. And yes, we will have the occasional healthy young person die from the virus. An outlier like that will lead to cries for more lockdowns. Those should be resisted, because, as we’ve shown, lockdowns are worse than useless. The virus doesn’t obey “stay at home” orders because it’s in the wild.
Finally, when the inevitable bump in the number of cases comes, we must stand strong. Because we do not yet have herd immunity, either from recovered illness or vaccination, the epidemic will spread until herd immunity reaches a level that is meaningful. Lockdowns won’t change that.
It’s time to recognize what we can and, more importantly, can’t do. We can track and trace. We can’t stop the virus in the wild. We can be near people without getting the virus, but in crowds, if no basic screening (e.g. temperature) is done, that may include some risk. But ordinary restaurants aren’t going to spread the virus unless the tables are right on top of each other.
And it’s time to ask the proper question. We shouldn’t ask what businesses are essential, because every business and every job is essential. We should ask which businesses can operate without excess risk. Grocery stores aren’t spreading disease, and they tend to be more packed than the PGA Superstore or Best Buy. If people are crowding the Apple store, they can keep some outside with electronic invites when the place clears. Wait… They do that already!
Restaurants might need to examine how tight their tables and bar stools are, but even that’s a stretch. The only real concern is large crowds, such as athletic events, concerts, and church services. And even those should be safe if basic screening is done. If they want to use that famous “excess of caution,” then they may install UV-C lights that will sterilize all surfaces in the off hours. But as long as servers are not ill and they wash their hands, I have nothing to fear from my Ultimate Omelet at my favorite diner.
We should open every business yesterday unless there is a specific, identifiable health risk in doing so. Not one of those imaginary concerns, but a real, material risk. Life has risks. They cannot be completely eliminated. But the futile attempt to do so has created many new, larger problems.
All businesses and jobs are essential. Politicians have been asking the wrong question. They need to consider which businesses and jobs are manifestly unsafe. Those are the only ones that have a reason to stay closed for now.