I'm not looking for certainty, I'm questioning blind faith in government experts who can't even agree among themselves. There are reports that the CDC figures may be inflated by as much as 25%. Some recent studies indicate that the mortality rate is about .1% instead of the 2-5% in the original models. We do know that five states account for more than 50% of American cases. We do know that factoring out people over 65 reduces the projected "death rate" quite a bit.
One tenth of one percent makes the corona virus slightly more deadly than the flu but still in the ballpark. So the question is why are we panicking over this when we didn't before for previous pandemics?
What is different this time around?
We don't know that it is more virulent than the flu, nor do we know if it's more deadly. We just know what happened in the opening stages of the pandemic.
Life is about tradeoffs. Without a decent economy, we won't be able to feed ourselves, much less find a way of dealing with this virus.
Please don't be insulted by this quick explanation. I don't know how much you know so I am going to make things simpler. Economics studies the flow of value which is not the same as currency or unemployment stats or GNP or tax rates. Government does not produce value, it can only direct or restrict value. Which means that just printing up more currency or expanding the Federal bailout is not nearly enough. Without people voluntarily producing goods and services to exchange, there is no value to redirect. With fewer people working, there is less value. This is really an oversimplification, but it covers the basic points.
What it boils down to is that you can't be compassionate unless you have value somewhere to be compassionate with. It may be time, it may be effort, it may be money or gifts. But the value has to be somewhere.
It's still anecdotal.
We don't have a long enough baseline to tell what the mortality rate is. We don't know enough to say why New York has a higher death rate than Boston. We don't know enough about who is at risk or not We do know that even though the U.S. has a higher number of deaths in absolute terms, the mortality rate is lower than most other countries.
We can make some pretty good guesses, but that's it at this point.
I've seen reported death rates from .1% to 12%. The latest CDC says 1%, but there are reasons to doubt those claims.
And if the mortality rate is less than 1%, what makes this pandemic worse?
I am not saying ignore it.
I am saying that the panic reaction is unjustified based on what we currently know.
The scale of what is happening is not unprecedented. People die. People get infected. This has happened throughout history. What makes this one so much worse? Why are we shutting down the country?
This total panic is having huge consequences. Social distance was never intended to protect us from the virus, it was meant to "flatten the curve" so the hospitals could cope. We do know that social distancing suppresses herd immunity.
I just do not understand why this time is significantly different. And I don't understand the drive to discredit anyone who asks.
Notice what I am not doing. I'm not citing economics. I'm not invoking some right wing conspiracy. I'm not talking about who does and does not deserve to die. I'm not doing a cost/benefit analysis. I've been around long enough to know that "Thou shalt not dissent" is a flashing red light with a siren.
So why is this pandemic different?
Look, I'm not trying to create trouble. I asked a question. It seems the natural reaction is to discredit the questioner rather than address the question.
The CDC estimates that the 2018-2019 flu season lasted 21 weeks. 42 million people got sick, 647,000 were hospitalized, and 61,200 died. In the 2017-2018 season, there were 48 million cases, 959,000 hospitalizations, and an estimated 79,000 deaths.
All those dead people knew someone.
As of May 16th, there are 1.45 million "officially" confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., and 87,000 deaths. I dispute that last number, but this isn't the time or place.
The only way we can deal with this is by looking at the broader picture. We're sacrificing out liberty and our economy by panicking over a pandemic whose scope we've lived through annually for decades.
What makes this one different?
If it wasn't for your losses, would you think this was justified?
Pardon, but I'd like to make it clear. It's not "Public Health Measures," it's wildly unprecedented "Public Health Measures" that seem to have more to do with political connections than public health.
Are the measures common sense? Good question. I saw a meme the other day that showed a supermarket check-out aisle marked with six foot increments and the caption read "Thank God the virus can't move sideways."
Are the measures working? We don't know, we may just be moving past the initial infection period.
My problem is that we don't have informed science making decisions. We have politicos, none of whom I would trust to give me a straight answer that didn't give them votes. I want to see informed science, but I want to see scientists and statisticians making their best cases. I don't want to see justifications for decisions that have already been made so we can all mutter approvingly about how government has saved us from our own folly.