Is It Just Me?

 

There seem to be two basic kinds of people out there today:

Those that are positive and hopeful in the face of this COVID-19 stuff. I am one of these. I am pretty well convinced we are overreacting a bit to all of this, but I still think that good will come of it in the long run. I’m hopeful about the drug that might cure the disease. I am hopeful that the spread will slow. I am hopeful that the long-term effects will be minimal.

Those that are negative, filled with doom and gloom. These people believe the worst is going to happen. That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lockdown. That we must stockpile food, ammo, and potable water.

It feels to me, and I may be wrong, that the people in the first camp are generally conservative, while the people in the second camp are mostly progressives.

Am I wrong?

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 87 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Those that are negative, and filled with doom and gloom. 

    I have a few acquaintances who are in this category.  From what I’m seeing in their comments on various sites, it seems their hate for the President is such that they welcome thousands of deaths and a destroyed economy just so they can get rid of him.

    • #1
  2. D12 Coolidge
    D12
    @D12

    Spin:

    It feels to me, and I may be wrong, that the people in the first camp are generally conservative, while the people in the second camp are mostly progressives.

    I think as a generality, that seems to be true. However, I have noticed a sharper contrast along the lines of religion: those who have a serious faith (as in, regular church/synagogue attendance, a life noted for religious participation, and values derived therefrom) seem to me to be the least prone to hysteria. There are many in that camp with whom I sharply differ on forecasted outcomes of this current “pandemic” but fewer are truly hysterical, despairing hoarders clamoring for despotic government clampdowns. Those types tend to be secular, humanistic atheists, from what I’ve seen. 

    • #2
  3. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Spin: Those that are positive and hopeful in the face of this COVID-19 stuff.

    As far as COVID is concerned, I’m positive.

    When it comes to how some policies in several areas have forcefully harmed businesses by forcing one response instead of allowing for creative adaptation, I’m concerned about lost wages, jobs, shuttered businesses, and lost livelihoods.

    I’m not concerned for the economy long term, though. The main thing that could cause serious issues is a lost harvest or planting season. That could have consequences for the entire year.

    • #3
  4. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    If anything, impressions tend to derive from news sources. To that extent, there is a Left-Right divide about every subject. 

    But estimations of the situation seem to vary a lot within each ideological group. There is a wishful element regarding how greatly the quarantines and shortages impact one’s own life. 

    • #4
  5. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    I’d say that there is a third type.  People who are absolutely raging that they are inconvenienced in any way.  People in my social media feeds who feel that way seem to be toning it down a bit, but there are lots of folks who seem to think the whole thing is some bizarre Soros/Bilderberg conspiracy.  

     Working in emergency services it’s mostly just inconvenience; we have temporary protocols in place and if we have something like a vehicle passenger extrication with any suspicion of infection it will put equipment out of service until we can decontaminate it.  We had to set aside one ambulance strictly for transporting suspected COVID cases. You can see how those problems generate second order problems down the line.  And endless conference calls and coordination meetings.

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Stina (View Comment):
    When it comes to how some policies in several areas have forcefully harmed businesses by forcing one response instead of allowing for creative adaptation, I’m concerned about lost wages, jobs, shuttered businesses, and lost livelihoods.

    I’m concerned about the blatant disregard for our freedoms during this epidemic.  I still maintain the actions of many governors were questionable (even unconstituional in spite of the emergency), and sets the stage for future “self-quarantine” orders in the future for any event or issue deemed “dangerous to the general public”.  See “France: Committee of Public Safety” for more info . . .

    • #6
  7. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I was talking with a neighbor yesterday. Her husband just had breast cancer surgery. He is one out of a hundred males to have breast cancer.  All she could talk about was how Trump was a racist for calling COVID-19 the Chinese flu. She was a union school teacher that moved here from Massachusetts.

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Spin: That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lock down.

    The cure will be worse than the disease.  But the cure that is worse than the disease is the lockdown.

    • #8
  9. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Spin: That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lock down.

    The cure will be worse than the disease. But the cure that is worse than the disease is the lockdown.

    I wonder what the ratio of estimated lives saved to economic losses will be?  Ten million dollars per life?  A hundred million?  It sounds cruel because it could be your Aunt Mabel we’re talking about.  Still, risk/benefit analyses will have to be perfomed once this blows over, and hopefully the results used to find a better way to save lives and preserve the economy . . .

    • #9
  10. Cal Lawton Member
    Cal Lawton
    @CalLawton

    The doom-and-gloomers are watching boobtube news and won’t step away from their iPad.

    • #10
  11. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    I get the impression we’re doing OK, the disease is serious and virulent but the outbreak is being slowed. We’re in no danger of services collapsing – you can tell things are mostly all right by what needs and shortages we’re paying attention to. Masks and ventilators are in short supply but food and fuel aren’t endangered. It could be a lot worse – think if this was one of those diseases that really leveraged the immune response and laid out the young and strong first.

    We might look back and say we were glad we learned some preparedness lessons from the Sitzplague of 2020.

    I might think differently after I go to the grocery store later, of course.

    • #11
  12. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Stad (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Spin: That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lock down.

    The cure will be worse than the disease. But the cure that is worse than the disease is the lockdown.

    I wonder what the ratio of estimated lives saved to economic losses will be? Ten million dollars per life? A hundred million? It sounds cruel because it could be your Aunt Mabel we’re talking about. Still, risk/benefit analyses will have to be perfomed once this blows over, and hopefully the results used to find a better way to save lives and preserve the economy . . .

    My wife and I were discussing this last night.  I said I’d gladly be one of the casualties to prevent trillions of dollars in damages to the economy.  I think I finally settled on willingly as opposed to gladly.

    • #12
  13. KentForrester Moderator
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Spin, I’m with you all the way.  

    I go about my business. I take a few precautions, but not many.  I know that this thing will blow over and there’s no sense in getting one’s knickers in a twist in the meantime.  We’re not living in end times. 

    In fact, there are some upsides.  People seem to be more friendly these days.  I was in the grocery store this morning, and I’ve never seen so many people smile at me, as if we’re all in these dreadful times together and we might as well be nice to one another  before the apocalypse.

    The grocery was out of Gatorade O, and the Fage yogurt was overpriced.  I guess I’ll just have to suffer by drinking water and eating Lucerne yogurt. Oh the deprivation!

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    People seem to be more friendly these days.

    People have always been friendly and helpful.  I had an ankle fused a while back, was in a wheelchair for a while, and used a boot and a walker again for another month or so.  I never had to open a door.  Even when I was just wearing the boot and was clearly mobile.

    • #14
  15. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    People seem to be more friendly these days.

    People have always been friendly and helpful. I had an ankle fused a while back, was in a wheelchair for a while, and used a boot and a walker again for another month or so. I never had to open a door. Even when I was just wearing the boot and was clearly mobile.

    America is great because it is good. 

    • #15
  16. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Stad (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Spin: That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lock down.

    The cure will be worse than the disease. But the cure that is worse than the disease is the lockdown.

    I wonder what the ratio of estimated lives saved to economic losses will be? Ten million dollars per life? A hundred million? It sounds cruel because it could be your Aunt Mabel we’re talking about. Still, risk/benefit analyses will have to be perfomed once this blows over, and hopefully the results used to find a better way to save lives and preserve the economy . . .

    The indirect economic effects include the future economic effects of the permanent transfer of economic power from the voluntary sector to the central government. The new organs of government power recede into the background after the emergency, like the Fed and the central planning bureaus of WWI, but they continue to work, and at the next emergency, which they will help to create, their power will become visible again, growing this time from a higher level of power.

    We know from the economists that the less free a single country is, the more poor.

    Naturally it is pointless to try to estimate these effects. We have a very broad view of the economic effects of the transition from history.  Many countries took it much farther than we will have done, for example N. Korea, the USSR, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and China during the Cultural Revolution and the Great Step Forward.

    • #16
  17. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Stina (View Comment):

    Spin: Those that are positive and hopeful in the face of this COVID-19 stuff.

    As far as COVID is concerned, I’m positive.

    When it comes to how some policies in several areas have forcefully harmed businesses by forcing one response instead of allowing for creative adaptation, I’m concerned about lost wages, jobs, shuttered businesses, and lost livelihoods.

    I’m not concerned for the economy long term, though. The main thing that could cause serious issues is a lost harvest or planting season. That could have consequences for the entire year.

    Shutting down the State of California gives me pause when it comes to our food supply. I do not think Newsom has thought it through very well. What exactly is non-essential? It’s ok to go to the grocery store or to the Doctor or to the bank, but just who is working in those places and how are they being supplied? And, yes, what about the nation’s “breadbasket” in central CA? If they don’t work, we have trouble finding some important food.

    • #17
  18. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Stad (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Spin: That the cure will be worse than the disease. That we must put everyone on complete lock down.

    The cure will be worse than the disease. But the cure that is worse than the disease is the lockdown.

    I wonder what the ratio of estimated lives saved to economic losses will be? Ten million dollars per life? A hundred million? It sounds cruel because it could be your Aunt Mabel we’re talking about. Still, risk/benefit analyses will have to be perfomed once this blows over, and hopefully the results used to find a better way to save lives and preserve the economy . . .

    I just had that very same conversation with my wife 5 minutes ago. I do not believe this shutting down of our economy can last for more than 30 days or we risk not being able to come back for a very long time. Risk/reward is the exact term I used. I believe phase two will be focused on the most vulnerable. Everyone else, go back to work.

    • #18
  19. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    The new organs of government power recede into the background after the emergency, like the Fed and the central planning bureaus of WWI, but they continue to work, and at the next emergency, which they will help to create, their power will become visible again, growing this time from a higher level of power.

    There is a tendency for this to happen. Possibly, the quarantine measures are necessary for the moment but we need to push back against government power after the crisis has passed.

    • #19
  20. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    The new organs of government power recede into the background after the emergency, like the Fed and the central planning bureaus of WWI, but they continue to work, and at the next emergency, which they will help to create, their power will become visible again, growing this time from a higher level of power.

    There is a tendency for this to happen. Possibly, the quarantine measures are necessary for the moment but we need to push back against government power after the crisis has passed.

    Because the accretion of power is cumulative, we need to push back against not just the new powers but against the entrenched ones from the past. 

    We will also need to push back against the secular (==long-term endogenous) tendency to attack our democratic institutions and fill the power vacuum with the concentrated power of the political class. In 1900 the political class consumed 5% of our production.  Now they consume 40%, just counting visible taxes.  It’s still rising with each emergency. We don’t just need to address the problem, but the recurring root cause of the problem.  The declining sense that we are morally and pragmatically taking care of ourselves.

    We are pleading with the central, coercive planners to control more of our production; our own distributed-knowledge, distributed ownership, voluntary planners can’t even figure out how many surgical masks to order for their own use. Their sale reps can’t be bothered to take their orders.  The production managers can’t figure out just exactly how their facilities produce products, in order to produce more.  We need our politicians and Washington bureaucrats to direct production.  They alone understand how simple the productive structure of the world is.

    It reminds me of a comment of Lenin about central planning before the Bolshevik revolution.  He said that planning had been reduced by the successes of capitalism to a trivial case of accounting and clerical details. The Communists would simply assume all of these planning functions and do them for free (without taking an unfair cut from the laboring class in the form of dividends and interest.)

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    In 1900 the political class consumed 5% of our production. Now they consume 40%, just counting visible taxes.

    I like the way you put that: “Now they consume 40%.”

    • #21
  22. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    It’s great you are hopeful.

    Hope isn’t a plan.

    I’m a trained professional pessimist.  ER docs are trained to think “whats the worst thing this could be”.

    I don’t see anything that doesn’t put us on the trajectory of Italy, Spain and France at this point.

    I’m just super frustrated because it didn’t have to be this way.  We identified the first case on the same day as South Korea.  They pretty much did everything right, we did pretty much the opposite except for the presidents much criticized decision to shut down travel from China.

    That bought us 6 weeks that the CDC preceded to squander.

      In addition the ” flu is worse just wash your damn hands”, and ” masks don’t work”  memes are now coming back to bite us hard.

     

    • #22
  23. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Stina (View Comment):
    As far as COVID is concerned, I’m positive.

    You should consider getting re-tested. I hear there are a lot of false positives.

    • #23
  24. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Kozak (View Comment):
    I don’t see anything that doesn’t put us on the trajectory of Italy, Spain and France at this point.

    What trajectory is that? I honestly don’t know what trajectory they are on, relative to other years.

    Secondly, given the other trajectories that we speculate are within the power of our central government to choose, is there a better trajectory, and on the basis of what human values–their own, or those of the authorities?

    In America there is now a widespread folly, the idea that if X prevents just one death, it is worth it, whatever the economic and political cost of X is.

    Death is sad.  But everyone dies eventually.  One time when my dad was taking me on rounds–his patients were mostly old people–and we were discussing someone who had just died of pneumonia, probably brought on by a seasonal respiratory virus like a corona virus on top of the effects of all his other illnesses and the side effects of all his medications, he taught me this bit of medical wisdom: “pneumonia is the Old Man’s Friend”.

    If postponing  70,000 seasonal respiratory virus deaths a year, some for only a few weeks, were worth the economic and political losses we the people have already incurred, we should have done it long ago.  We’d be a very poor country, and a much less healthy one.

    • #24
  25. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Kozak (View Comment):

    I don’t see anything that doesn’t put us on the trajectory of Italy, Spain and France at this point.

    @kozak  I would be fascinated to hear how your first hand experiences in the ER have changed with the corona virus situation. Maybe you have posted this somewhere and I missed it.

     

     

    • #25
  26. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I still don’t have a strong opinion on the virus one way or another. It seems to me that only time will tell how far along the bell curve we are. Treatment options and distribution, economic repercussions, and social responses are still unfolding. 

    There is reason for both caution and optimism. But nobody knows how this will play out.

    • #26
  27. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    I am confident we will survive the virus.   Having the Gym shut down,  not being able to go to work, not being able to go to Church all have me increasingly grumpy.

    • #27
  28. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Mark Camp (View Comment):
    What trajectory is that? I honestly don’t know what trajectory they are on, relative to other years.

     

    • #28
  29. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I’m not really in either of Spin’s categories.  I’m optimistic about the disease, but pessimistic about the economic impact.

    I’m not wildly optimistic about the disease, I just don’t think that the death toll is going to be in the catastrophic range that we’ve seen in some predictions, which have been in the range of 500,000 to 2 million fatalities.  I think that it is going to be much less significant than that, more in the 100,000 range.  I don’t think that there are any feasible measures that will prevent this, whether the number is high or low.

    I think that the economic impact is going to be very serious, if we stay on our current path.  Perhaps depression-level serious, and probably worse than the 2008 great recession.

    The cause of the economic impact is the efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.  I do not think that these efforts will help.  They may postpone the inevitable, but not affect the ultimate outcome.  We will have caused massive economic harm, while obtaining little or no health benefit.

    I’m not principally worried about money, except that money translates into human well-being in myriad ways.  A severe economic downturn causes enormous human suffering.

    I am very frustrated at the medical profession at the moment.  Not those in the trenches, but those doing the analyses.  I’ll elaborate.

    [Cont’d]

     

     

    • #29
  30. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Apparently, the severe measures taken over the past week were spurred by an analysis out of the Imperial College in London.  As I understand the report (here), the medical systems will be overwhelmed no matter what we do, unless we essentially shut down the economy.  Even a 5-month shutdown does little except postpone the day of reckoning.  They actually propose something like an 18-month lockdown, in the hope that a vaccine will become available.

    This strikes me as wildly unrealistic.  Do you think that most people could handle being out of work for 5 months, let alone 18?  In all seriousness, I don’t know how people would be able to pay the rent or the mortgage, buy food, or keep the lights on.  Here are what I find to be the key quotes from the report:

    We find that that optimal mitigation policies (combining home isolation of suspect cases, home quarantine of those living in the same household as suspect cases, and social distancing of the elderly and others at most risk of severe disease) might reduce peak healthcare demand by 2/3 and deaths by half. However, the resulting mitigated epidemic would still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over.

    Take-away: Minor measures may reduce the death toll by half — but they are predicting 510,000 deaths in the UK and 2.2 million in the US.

    The major challenge of suppression is that this type of intensive intervention package – or something equivalently effective at reducing transmission – will need to be maintained until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more) – given that we predict that transmission will quickly rebound if interventions are relaxed. We show that intermittent social distancing – triggered by trends in disease surveillance – may allow interventions to be relaxed temporarily in relative short time windows, but measures will need to be reintroduced if or when case numbers rebound.

    Take-away: To stop the predicted deaths, we would need to shut down the bulk of the economy for 18 months.  Even if we shut down only half of the economy, the cost will be — ready? — about $15 trillion.  I have no idea how people could continue to keep themselves housed and fed in such a situation.  The stock market would drop to near zero, I imagine.

    That cost is not counting the future economic decline, because it’s not as if the economy could immediately rebound from a 50% decline that persisted for 18 months.

    Even just using the $15 trillion figure, the cost per life saved would be about $13.6 million.  Most of the lives saved will be the elderly.

    I guess that’s forbidden death-panel talk.  But seriously, imagine that you had a 75-year-old WuFlu patient, and had a treatment that would give him a 50-50 chance of survival.  The treatment costs $7.8 million.  Would you do it?

    [Cont’d]

    • #30