In late 2019, rumors were beginning to spread about a new pandemic, the "Wuhan virus," also known as the coronavirus and COVID-19. The American press and most American politicos proclaimed that there was no serious danger and encouraged people to go about their lives. President Trump had responded to the initial reports with travel restrictions and launching a task force, but his efforts and comments were dismissed as “racist” panic mongering.
By December of 2019 the impeachment proceedings (not hearings) wrapped up. Trump was aquitted in a Senate trail by early February 2020. So his opposure were looking for other ways to take the President down. In early March suddenly the Narrative® was about how Trump had failed to protect the country from an unforseen and amazingly dangerous virus.
I do not support Trump. I don't like him and don't particularly trust him. But outside a world war I've never seen more negative press directed at anyone. There is no rhyme or reason, it's just the constant search for the Next Big Thing that will take Trump down Really Soon Now. The Great Hunkerdown and the coronavirus panic is just the latest example.
The initial coronavirus models were exaggerated and massive deaths were predicted. Panic set in. American government (mostly state) chose the exact wrong thing to do. People were encouraged to socially distance themselves. Some states shut down all but “essential” businesses. In certain cases, big box stores were not allowed to sell certain products like gardening supplies. Federal politicos started talking about aid to all those unemployed as a result of government edicts.
The decisions about what and who are essential are purely arbitrary. Gun stores are not necessary, but marijuana dispensaries are. Liquor stores are okay, but nail salons are not. Casinos and airlines get bailouts, but not the locally owned grocery stores.
As the response in Sweden has shown, “flatening the curve” is not working. Most are asymptomatic. Some people, particularly the elderly or those in unsanitary conditions are at a greater risk. Those people should be isolated. But if herd immunity is to take effect, more people should be exposed so they can develop the antibodies and resistance. The important number is deaths per million, not total (and rising) deaths. I can not remember any previous pandemic that didn't cite deaths per million.
There's also been deliberate confusion between “cases” and those testing positive for the virus. Most people do not show symptoms. Standard treatment usually doesn't include viral screening. Medical professionals treat the symptoms and test for the virus only if the disease is virulent or persistant.
The panic is unprecedented. Measures have been far more drastic than those taken during 1918, 1968, 2009, and the AIDS pandemic. Before 2020 there were no state-wide quarantines, no state-wide business closures, no state-wide lockdowns, no National Guard, and no massive unrelenting fear mongering. The 2009 pandemic is especially relevent, since deaths were on the same scale and presumably just as infectious. But that is a problem, the current data is fudged.
Experts will claim that the drastic measures saved lives. But we don't know how many in the general population would have had a higher risk. All we have is unreliable death numbers and the projections. There's no real baseline. We don't have the actuality.
In early May 2020 as I write this, there is no accurate count of American pandemic deaths. Some states have blamed all deaths on COVID-19. Others aren't distingushing between deaths with the virus and deaths fromthe virus. As of mid_may, the CDC put the "official" mortaility rate at one percent. Some studies sugges that the actual rate is between .1% and .5% with .3% preferred. If true, COVID-19 is deadlier than the flu but roughly the same magnitude.
It's nearly impossible to estimate the economic impact. The U.S. was already in a series of nesting and inconnecting bubbles with grossly inflated values. Over a couple of months, somewhere between a third and half of the American economy vanished. This happened because of state government decrees, NOT because widespread illness prevnted people from working. Other nations will be even harder hit, especially those who have more imported trade than exported. And then there is China and it's economic games, that's far beyond the scope of this definition.
I do not think this reaction was about saving lives or public health. I think this was about panicking people. I think this was about making people dependent on government. I think this was an attack on a sitting President.
What we do know is that the government diktats have cost billions and panicked millions. Many smaller and marginal businesses will not survive. Scads of Americans (except most of the wealthy) are unemployed, furloughed, or laid off. Since politicos control the “bailout,” a disproportionate amount goes to companies and groups that the politicos favor. The pandemic crisis become the justification for massive changes in the law and policy. How much was necessary is anyone's guess.
We know that the models haven't been accurate so far and yet have been the basis for policy. We know that the same media and poltiios who accused the President of racism and overreacting in January and February of 2020 were demanding massive government intervention by April. We know that most of the “solutions” have very little to do with public health or flattening the curve. We know that government at all levels screeches for more power and more money. We know that the actual economy is taking a hit that it may take decades to fix. We know that all the little Federal Reserve tricks from QE to inflation management are failing catastrophically.
All due to government Meddling For Your Own Good. Because government and government experts didn't know what they were doing even as they proclaimed loudly that SOMETHING Must Be Done NOW.
According to politicos, government intervention is necessary because of the effects of government intervention.
I never expected the panic to last more than a week or two. The economic disruption will last for years. And it is all because some politicos used an exagerated and deliberately triggered panic to take down the President. Government is not your friend. There has been no better proof then the Great Hunkerdown.☞ the Great Hunkerdown from my lexicon