I live in Minnesota. Our Governor has just succumbed to coronavirus panic syndrome and ordered a complete economic lockdown. He claims that if he doesn’t do this, up to 74,000 lives could be lost. That is absurd. I have repeatedly given the real-world experiment conducted on the Diamond Princess cruise ship as the best guide, and a worst case example, of the consequences of widespread exposure to the virus. I will do it again. There were 3711 people on board. There is no question that they all had constant, heavy exposure to the virus. The population skewed far older than the general population. You can see the skewing and the results in analysis on any number of websites. NOW GET THIS–ONLY 20% OF PEOPLE EVEN GOT INFECTED. We have the American population, according to polls, believing that 100% of people are going to get infected. Out of the 20% who got infected, only half had any symptoms. A very small percent were seriously ill. 8 or 10 people, depending on the analysis you read, died. The uncertainty is due to the fact that some of these people would have died anyway and attributing the cause to coronavirus is uncertain. Let’s assume it is 10. The math is straightforward. Only .27% of the population of the ship died. In a worst case scenario. In the real world, the rate will be far lower. And this is consistent with real world experience to date. In the city of Wuhan, the virus ran unchecked for weeks in a dense urban environment, with a population of well over 10 million people. The actual infection rate and the death rate were very low, even if you don’t completely trust Chinese reporting.
People are being panicked by completely unfounded “models” claiming infection rates which simply can’t and won’t occur. Our Governor said up to 50% of people could be infected. That is not supported by any available data. Dr. Birx, the national coronavirus coordinator, specifically said in the daily briefing yesterday that these kinds of numbers are not accurate and are unduly scaring people. (Birx Comments) On the other hand, his orders shutting down the economy have already led to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the state. The toll of economic depressions, which is what we are creating, is almost unfathomable. Suicides, health problems, homelessness, food insecurity, domestic and child abuse, divorce, all increase. No stimulus program is going to reverse the lasting effects of the job loss and financial ruin being imposed on the population. I want to see the Governor stop taking credit for saving lives and specifically come out and own the job loss and economic harm he is causing. I want him to go speak to every Minnesotan who is damaged by his actions and explain how he is being so heroic.
We have to stand up and push back. Write your legislators, write your governors, write to your newspapers, call talk shows. Express your opinions. Demand that legislatures, not governors, make these decisions, after hearing evidence and testimony. And insist that the harms of the lockdown be fully taken into account.