Everybody's talking about Corona virus, otherwise known as COVID-19.
First, is the disease real? I think it probably is. It's far short of being able to sit in a courtroom, put my hand on a bible, and swear under oath that I see enough evidence that Corona virus exists, but let's assume there's a virus that isn't just another bad flu. (2020 May 15, I have a change in that status. Several doctors and other health care professionals I know have not seen any cases, but my own pulmonologist (lung doctor) says she has seen five or six cases in her hospital work. So the absolute, yes-or-no existance of COVID-19 now passes my burden-of-proof test. There are 300 thousand traffic lights in the United States and something like three million claimed Corona virus cases, I see a lot more traffic lights then Corona cases, so I'm not concluding anything about the absolute number of cases, only that I now believe, with some confidence, that the disease exists.)
Second, what are its consequences? Big numbers and bigger numbers appear in news coverage along with images of endless lines to wait for crowded emergency rooms. People I know have seen those same emergency rooms empty with medical personnel being furloughed for lack of patients to treat. I'll point out while three people in my own office have had flu during this Corona outbreak, nobody I know has had Corona virus. I know a woman in England who had a bad cough and I know a friend in Philadelphia who knows somebody in New Jersey he thinks had it. Nobody else I know well enough to trust about it seems to know anybody. A medical-professional friend looked for a case in Arizona, calling professional friends of friends, no luck. The same news medium that lied to us about crowded hospitals reports all kinds of famous people catching and dying from Corona.
Third, how many people has Corona virus killed? Here in the United States, they're saying 60K, a bad flu year. Hospitals are under tremendous pressure to report Corona deaths, so heart attacks, cancer, strokes, car crashes, and household accidents are all reported as Corona virus deaths. If you go out the back door of the hospital, then it's Corona virus on the death certificate. Even so, even with highly-inflated numbers, even with huge exaggeration, the numbers are barely a bad flu year. More realistically, Corona virus probably is on a par with Zika, swine flu, SARS, bird flu, or West Nile. just as it appeared to be when it emerged on the scene.
(Remember "Star Trek," first season, thirteenth episode, "The Conscience of the King.")
Fourth, how many has the lock-down response hurt or killed? Here in the United States, 25 million people in the services sector are jobless by government decree enforced by police with guns, soon to be homeless. They're going without medical and dental care, sleeping on friends' couches (as long as those friends have couches), hoping each day for a chance to work again, and longing to start paying the bills that have piled up. The number-guess I saw is 25 thousand per month of those will be deaths by suicide, drug addiction, medical issues, et cetera and I find that credible. So that's 50 thousand deaths so far, not tentative, not maybe, real deaths, in addition to untold human misery.
Fifth, the loss to the arts is staggering. I realize it's a bit snooty to complain about lack of concerts as 25 million people are really hurting, but singers, dancers, musicians, actors, ushers, theater operators, and so on bring so much joy into our lives and now they're being pushed aside. (I buy tickets for about seventy live-concert events per year.)
Sixth, how many has the lock-down response helped? Staying home, washing hands, using disinfectant wipes, how many of those would die if those outside were not locked down? We have the answer as those places that locked down had, I'm told by people I trust, similar curves to those who did not lock down. So, in the United States, we sacrificed 25 million livelihoods and 50 thousand lives to save maybe a few hundred victims of maybe Corona virus.
The political part starts now, so I'll recommend those easily offended stop here.
Seventh, for my liberal, progressive, left-wing, Democrat friends, I'll point out this has been a giant victory for bigger government taking away our right to assemble and our right to work. You and I have disagreed on the value of liberty and how important it is. The governments your political side supported and my political side opposed in the past century have killed about 100 million of their own citizens. (I've talked to people from progressive households in the 1930s and read Pete Seeger's biographies to conclude what American progressives supported at that time and I remember what they supported during my lifetime.) That's two percent of all human deaths! Big government scares me, loss of liberty scares me. Again, it's not just nice versus nasty, these were real human lives lost in the purges, genocides, holocausts, and mass killings caused simply by governments getting too invasive. Forced lock-downs bring us terrifyingly closer to the kind of government responsible for these tragedies. We Americans fought a terrible and difficult war for the right to assemble and another terrible and bloody war for the right of all people to work freely. This disease comes nowhere near enough threat to be worth losing those rights. I would love to say it's all the fault of the Democrats, no question an anti-Trump election year has a lot to do with it, but I didn't see Republicans jumping up and down to protect our Bill-of-Rights rights in all this Corona frenzy.
Eighth, there may be threats worth the price we paid for Corona. There have been world wars and terrorists and maybe there are horrible diseases like Ebola, Hanta, or Spanish flu worth this terrible disruption. This isn't it, this never was it, we knew it all along, and it's a horrible shame.
Ninth, it's not about China, it's not about Donald Trump, it's not about Anthony Fauci, it's not about Joe Biden, it's not about Bill Nye, it's not about Greta Thunberg, and it's not about scientists making overblown predictions. It's not about how afraid we got or how misplaced our fear was. It's not even about how badly we covered our mistakes by telling our critics that our lock-down reaction saved us from a horrible outcome. It's simply about public support for a wrong and horrible reaction by government as wrong and horrible as big-government reactions have been all over the world for the past century. We screwed up, we let our government screw up, we allowed our government to do things we promised would never happen, a lot of people got hurt, and America's future is in great peril. That's what it's all about.
Here is some early stuff I wrote and some other stuff on Corona virus.