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The Shutdown Failure

The shutdown of the American economy has proven to be both unnecessary and harmful to the American people. It was undertaken to “flatten the curve” such that hospitals would not be overrun. It must certainly have been apparent within the first two weeks, by the beginning of April that hospitals were not going to be overrun. Yet, the shutdown has continued. All of this to ward off a disease related to the common cold that causes death (typically through secondary infection like pneumonia, sepsis, or by thrombosis) at a rate twice that of the common flu. The Wuhan Virus has also proven to be a regional epidemic, which in the US, has centered largely upon New York City, wherein nearly 1/3rd of deaths have been recorded. The “experts” may not have known at the beginning that the shutdown would be unnecessary, but there is no justification for it today.

Early computer models predicted that as many as 2.2 million Americans could die from this virus. This was not at all in keeping with data coming from China before the virus reached American shores. We already knew that, for the most part, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases were the most vulnerable and that younger healthier people rarely die from the virus. This computer model prediction was terribly, disastrously, stupidly inaccurate. Like the computer models that predict the climate change apocalypse, none of these models has been remotely near the truth. We have no cause to believe such computer models ever again in the future. With this outrageous model in hand, a concern was raised that those hospitalized from the illness might overwhelm the healthcare system. For that reason alone, the shelter-in-place recommendation was made. Businesses shuttered, workers went home, schools were closed, and America ground to a screeching halt. Note that the goal was only to slow the spread, since it is impossible to prevent the spread of an airborne virus once introduced into a population. Everyone is going to be exposed anyway and the vast and overwhelming majority will become immune without ever falling seriously ill. Somehow, the lie has gone out that social distancing can prevent the spread.

The Deadly Shutdown

The shutdown has had a number of terrible side effects that the media is eager to ignore. The social isolation has led to a spike in suicide attempts and drug overdoses. In some places, suicide attempts alone have increased by 80%. With hospitals closed otherwise preventative and lifesaving surgeries will have to wait. In fact, many hospitals are nearing bankruptcy due to the lack of these surgeries. The delay of critical surgeries for those with serious illnesses will claim many lives. In the end, we will probably find out that more Americans died as a result of the shutdown than from the virus. What justification can be made for the shutdown? Because our leaders did not know that our hospitals would not be overwhelmed. In the 2017-18 flu season some 800,000 people were hospitalized at one time or another due to the flu. Only late in the epidemic did news articles began to appear expressing concern about the hospitals being overwhelmed. Nothing more was reported.

In this crisis, emergency hospitals and hospital ships ultimately went unused. This is not due at all to the social distancing or the shutdown, but the nature of the virus itself. The shutdown has caused a great deal of harm without offering any benefit. As a precaution, the first two weeks could be justified, perhaps two more weeks to be prudent. As soon as it was clear (as it certainly was by mid-April) that the hospitals were not being overrun, the shutdown should have been ended completely. Those vulnerable to the virus should have continued to remain in isolation, as they should even today, but healthy young working age people and children could have gone back to their lives. Our economy should have been reopened after no more than 4 weeks of shutdown at the latest. Why continue the circumstances that are costing us lives in greater numbers than the illness? Nevertheless, President Trump has defended the shutdown as necessary to protect the lives of our fellow Americans and to accomplish that end most of us complied. But the shutdown was only ever voluntary since the US, state, and local governments lack the constitutional authority to enforce it.

The Death Toll in Context

In 2017, the last year for which numbers are available, 2.8 million Americans died, up slightly from about 2.75 million in 2016. They died from natural causes, heart disease, liver failure, cancer, car accidents, crime, and an assortment of other causes. Each year we see this average number of deaths, in some years it grows more quickly than in others, but on average slightly less than 1% of Americans die. Likewise, 3.86 million children were born in the United States in 2017, over a million more than those who died; about 1.2% of the population. The reality is, a certain number of Americans die every year and a certain number are born. As of the time of the publishing of this article about 100,000 Americans have died from the Wuhan Virus (Coronavirus) by the official tally (which according to experts like Dr. Deborah Birx, may be inflated). It seems, everyone who is infected with the virus is counted among its victims regardless of their actual cause of death, for example. The total Wuhan Virus deaths thus far make up only about 3.5% of the 2.8 million number of annual deaths; deaths we would expect to have this year.

There are many absent facts and statistics about these numbers. When the media reports new “cases,” that is people who test positive for infection, we are never told how many are elderly or young. When the death toll is published we do not hear of the average age of the virus’ victims or how many suffered from severe preexisting conditions. Of those who had died, how many would likely have died this year of other causes? It is somewhat cold to ask, as we decry every death. It is nevertheless, a critical point: a disease that kills those living their last year is less dangerous than one that kills many people living their first year (as the flu does). A disease that has a nearly 99% survival rate is not as dangerous; although we are still right to be alarmed. The death rate, so far as it is understood today, is about twice that of the flu, but this still represents a tiny percentage.

So far as anyone can ascertain, since accurate statistical data can be difficult to come by, many people become infected, only very few ever manifest symptoms, and a tiny number become seriously ill. Those who die are only a microscopic fraction of the total number infected (which number we can only guess since it is not possible to test everyone daily). Studies have also suggested that living in a nursing home, possessing a severe respiratory illness, and vitamin D deficiency, or living in the greater New York City Area have a high correlation to death. For those knowledgeable of statistics, we know that correlation does not mean causation, but these are fascinating points of fact nonetheless. Of the 100,000 deaths nationally, some approximately 40,000 were residents of nursing homes. Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move infected patients to nursing homes may have contributed as many as 10,000 or 11,000 deaths, nearly 25% of nursing home deaths nationally, and nearly 1/3rd of New York’s death toll. Democrat Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Phil Murphy of New Jersey took similar decisions further raising the death toll. The incompetence of blue state governors may be responsible for 10-15% of the national death toll.

If the media is to be believed, everyone who contracts the virus is in jeopardy of dying. They have reported on deaths as if they are growing geometrically or could in the future if controls do not remain in place. When Americans came out to protest the severe lockdowns in blue states like Michigan where tyrannical Democrat governor Gretchen Whitmer attempted to enforce the lockdown strictly. Business owners were persecuted for reopening, religious groups were prevented from holding services, and those seeking outdoor activities were arrested. Strangely, a homosexual swinger’s club was permitted to remain open. Either the governor was less concerned for the lives of homosexual residents or her motives for closing churches and synagogues were not related to health. The media claimed Florida would be the “next New York” because Governor Ron DeSantis refused to call for a more stringent shutdown. The massive number of deaths never materialized. Then, as Georgia, Florida and many other states began to reopen, the media claimed this would lead to another wave of deaths. Again, this fear never materialized. The fearmongering media has been the main culprit in exacerbating this crisis.

Following the inexcusable death of George Floyd, the media and blue state governors suddenly lost their concerns about protesting or gathering in large groups. Suddenly, social distancing was as low a priority as protecting lives and property in largely black neighborhoods. As black homes and businesses burned, as black business owners were beaten and killed trying to defend their stores, there was no action from most blue state governors and mayors. No concern about looting and violence and even less concern about the virus.

President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Expert Failure

Then there are the supposed experts who had heralded the shutdown. These “experts” who are supposedly so much smarter than we are and their advice must be followed precisely. Yet, they also suffered humiliating failures. Consider the vitamin D issue: they must have known that vitamin D deficiency has long been linked to immune deficiency and depression. The winter is a time when most people are indoors much of the time and they have the least exposure to sunlight; the skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. This is among the many reasons that we are more likely to become ill in the winter. When the time arrived that people would normally be out enjoying the improving weather, the experts then recommend that people remain at home and indoors for “social distancing.” The reduced vitamin D exposure means Americans were made more vulnerable to the virus by the recommendation to stay at home. It seems, the shutdown has aided the illness. The vitamin D deficiency also aided the terrible increase in suicide attempts and reckless self-destructive behavior (like drug use leading to overdose).

Hope Renewed

With nearly 40 million people unemployed, millions of business owners facing the end of their lifelong dreams, and general sense of despair presented by the media, it is not surprising that the rate of suicide attempts has risen. Again, we will know in a few years, though it will never be publicized, that more people will have died from the shutdown than from the virus. We need to trumpet this reality to be certain that no shutdown or lockdown is ever attempted in the future.

Nevertheless, hope abounds. When the recent jobs report was released, “experts” anticipating more bad news were in for a shock: in May, in spite of the fact that much of the country was still in lockdown (including the larger economies of California and New York), the economy added nearly 3 million jobs. The unemployment rate dropped by 2.5% to 13.5% even as experts expressed concern that we might reach 20%. The markets are up as well. The economic recovery is afoot and the American people are rising again. The riots will end soon and the states and cities that continue to be locked down will reopen whether their incompetent Democrat leaders want them to or not. America will be back to work with a vibrant economy by this fall.

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