People Will Die

 

As the country starts to breathe a sigh of relief and emerges from the lockdown that is devastating our economy, people will use this opportunity to attack those who have supported the country’s efforts to re-open. They will cry out that people are dying. And they are right.

Whether the country began to re-open this month, or next month or in September, in other words, no matter when we strive to return to normal lives, people will die. Some will die from heart attacks, or pneumonia, or simply old age. And some will have contacted COVID-19. We will probably never know how the virus actually contributed to their deaths, but even now it has been implicated as the source of many deaths. And people who supported opening up will be called out for conspiring with those who are greedy, those who lack compassion and concern for other human beings.

In all fairness, some of those who are determined to assign blame will not necessarily be politically motivated; their fear, grief, and a desire to make meaning of the last few months will distort their ability to think clearly. They will feel compelled to incriminate anyone remotely connected to the disease because otherwise the thousands of deaths will have no meaning. Or so they think.

Others who find fault with the decision to open up the country will be politically motivated. Deaths that happen over the next several months will lie at the feet of anyone who is even remotely connected to the Trump administration, according to his enemies. A version of, “Bush lied, people died,” will be shouted from the rooftops. The drumbeats of outrage will resonate across the country, even the world. And you can be certain that it will be a prime 2020 election issue.

We need to anticipate these reactions and consider ways to deal with them as constructively as possible. For those who are not political, but are suffering painful grief for the lives lost and that will continue to be lost, rational arguments will likely be unsuccessful. A way to let those people know we can relate to their pain and also know that life is unpredictable, as was the virus, will be key. You will not be able to talk people out of their misery and sense of loss. But you can be a compassionate ear, a consoling voice. And plan with them ways that you both can move on.

I find discussing death with people who are determined to make them a political cause even more difficult. Maybe asking them open-ended questions: “How long would you have waited?” “What do we do if the economy collapses?” I suggest you ask these, not as rhetorical questions, but as curious inquiries about their answers. You would need to ask them sincerely, not sarcastically. If they try to dodge the questions, gently draw them back. And try to keep in mind that although they may have the worst motivations for criticizing the decision-makers, they are probably frightened, too. And that is where we all have something in common.

The last suggestion is that for those people who are religious, you can try to relate to them through their faith. This response might be the most challenging because trite, heartless comments are often made out of our discomfort regarding the topic of death. I’d be open to your thoughts regarding spiritual and religious support for those who are in pain.

We are all grieving. And we are all, to some degree, afraid.

Those reactions can be our unifying cause. We are not alone.

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  1. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Know man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

    We’re all going to die.

    The question is, how do we want to live?

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Know man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

    We’re all going to die.

    The question is, how do we want to live?

    Excellent, Mama Toad! Yes! Do we want to live in a way that feeds fear, causes regret, or live fully!

    • #2
  3. Marythefifth Inactive
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    Agreed. Thank you. But you typed ‘incriminate’ and my brain read a new word: lacriminate, meaning if you make me cry, then you’re a criminal.

    • #3
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Marythefifth (View Comment):

    Agreed. Thank you. But you typed ‘incriminate’ and my brain read a new word: lacriminate, meaning if you make me cry, then you’re a criminal.

    Well, I’m sure some will accuse us of that crime, too, @marythefifth! They will throw whatever they can at us. Be ready to duck. Or engage.

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You might wonder why I care about the people who will rail against Trump, and how I think we can modify their behavior. I don’t. But I think people’s beliefs are on a spectrum, with some who will only blame Trump, and others who are trapped in their grief; I believe most people are between those extremes, who need comfort, who realize we are all interconnected in this disaster, and that we can all help each other to move forward. Those are the people I want to reach.

    • #5
  6. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Susan Quinn:

     

    A last suggestion is that for those people who are religious, you can try to relate to them through their faith. This response might be the most challenging, because trite, heartless comments are often made out of our discomfort regarding the topic of death. I’d be open to your thoughts regarding spiritual and religious support for those who are in pain.

    It seems to me in our current circumstances that religious people are much less likely to be overly fearful of the virus or supportive of most of the lockdown measures.

     

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    tigerlily (View Comment):
    It seems to me in our current circumstances that religious people are much less likely to be overly fearful of the virus or supportive of most of the lockdown measures.

    I’m not sure about that, @tigerlily. Remember, there are many Lefties in the churches with Progressive agendas. Although you may be right: those people may not be open to “religious arguments.”

    • #7
  8. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    • #8
  9. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Know man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

    We’re all going to die.

    The question is, how do we want to live?

    Excellent question. If we could live indefinitely (or at least to an age much older than we currently do) but only by isolating ourselves from other people, never touching or being touched, never hugging, never caring for others or being cared for by others (i.e., never loving or being loved in practical ways), would we choose that? 

    If we could be spared all risk of harm in exchange for never completing any meaningful accomplishment, would we choose that?

    If we had all our material needs met but never contributed anything to anyone else’s well being, would we choose that?

    • #9
  10. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    St. Francis lived in fear of lepers.

    When he faced his fear and hugged a man with rotting flesh he felt true freedom and love, not revulsion and fear.

    May we all be so blessed.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Know man that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

    We’re all going to die.

    The question is, how do we want to live?

    Excellent question. If we could live indefinitely (or at least to an age much older than we currently do) but only by isolating ourselves from other people, never touching or being touched, never hugging, never caring for others or being cared for by others (i.e., never loving or being loved in practical ways), would we choose that?

    If we could be spared all risk of harm in exchange for never completing any meaningful accomplishment, would we choose that?

    If we had all our material needs met but never contributed anything to anyone else’s well being, would we choose that?

    To me, that would not be living, @fullsizetabby. Profound questions. 

    • #11
  12. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    We are experiencing rule by the left in a “temporary” practice run.  We defer to government officials guided by credentialed experts whose advice is patently useless. If we question the directives on the grounds of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties they cite whatever the experts are currently spewing, if we question the experts we are ignorant rubes and should not be allowed to express our ignorant opinions, if we object to that, we have evupil motives (racism etc) and we are immoral for wanting to kill those the government and the experts are protecting.

    Substitute climate, environment , inequality etc for COVID and the same playbook will be run at us. 

    • #12
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    We are experiencing rule by the left in a “temporary” practice run. We defer to government officials guided by credentialed experts whose advice is patently useless. If we question the directives on the grounds of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties they cite whatever the experts are currently spewing, if we question the experts we are ignorant rubes and should not be allowed to express our ignorant opinions, if we object to that, we have evupil motives (racism etc) and we are immoral for wanting to kill those the government and the experts are protecting.

    Substitute climate, environment , inequality etc for COVID and the same playbook will be run at us.

    And it is frightening every time I think about it, in any of those situations. I don’t know how we stop it. When will those who are not political begin to realize they’ve been duped? Thanks, @oldbathos.

    • #13
  14. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    I fear we are seeing the result of a culture of entitlement.  We are told we are all entitled to free health care.  Of course, that translates in many peoples mind to freedom from illness, freedom from threat, and mostly, freedom from death.

    Human history is full of pandemics, full of plagues and mass death.  It is as much a part of life as war and sin.  But we have told ourselves that it doesn’t have to be, and if it is so, there is someone to blame.  It could, and should, have been prevented if only those we put in charge had done enough, soon enough.

    It is all part and parcel of the spoiled and entitled world we are in today.

    When your personal and political philosophy is ‘One life lost is one life too many’, you have lost contact with reality.  We all die.  We all are at risk of incurable and fatal illness every day of our lives.   And there is not, and will never be, a treatment or cure for everything that threatens us.  Call it nature, g-d’s will, fate, whatever. Eventually, something is going to get us all.

    Taking sensible measures to prevent them is common sense.  Shutting down the world to try to stop a virus is not among those sensible measures.  The world depends upon each of us doing our part to make all of it work together. “I Pencil” tells the tale better than I.  But when you start forbidding various parts of the chain that creates the pencil to produce, you run out of pencils rather quickly.  We are about to run out of most everything. The world shut down the chain.

    I have a deep fear that the worst is just about to begin. Not COVID infections, but starvation, depravation, shortages and inflation.  We threw a wrench in the works, and will soon have to pay the cost of not doing business.

    • #14
  15. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    We are experiencing rule by the left in a “temporary” practice run.

    That. And there’s a lot right in this, summarized and cleaned up for the CoC, with comments:

    1. To say that America introduced the virus to China can be dismissed as laughable. However, if you say that the US, through Dr. Fauci and the CDC funded and essentially outsourced the production of this virus to China…it’s not as easy to dismiss. With the Wuhan Flu-just like with everything else, America doesn’t really make anything anymore, we just outsource it.
    2. China may indeed be [expletive,] but that’s not a tangible policy of what we’re going to do and why. So why beat on China anyway? Because the US Elites just printed trillions out of thin air to bail out their Lolita Express buddies on Wall Street. Again. When debt bubbles collapse, the bankers create wars between nations to cover themselves.
    3. Antibody tests, rising case numbers, and declining CFR numbers all point to an outcome that is not a significant incremental increase in the overall death rate. We’re all exhaling in relief that this is no more deadly than a bad flu season. Is the uproar over China proportional to this incremental increase in the death rate? Good question, though the premise is wrong: this was a bad flu year in a couple of months, there will be another wave or two this year, and opening the country up will make that worse. Which isn’t saying we don’t need to do it.
    4. This pandemic has exhausted a ton of PPE and medical supplies demonstrating how woefully unprepared the US was for such an event here at home. After 20 years of “nation building” in Afghanistan with zero success, how do you think our military is doing in terms of material condition, readiness, morale, training, etc.? And don’t get me started on our Navy.
    5. If I’m China and the US actually came to make war on us, then all I’d need to do is deliberately release some sort of biological agent in the US-maybe in the food supply chain and then wait for the logistics to dry up both to their own populace and their troops in the field. Deliberate or accidental release, SARS-CoV-2 was or became a beta test.
    6. [N]ursing homes represent about half of the WuhanFlu fatalities in the US and that this crisis was terribly mismanaged at their level by not locking in immediately. Is that China’s fault? Or is it the management malpractice on the part of nursing home administrators? 

    [continued in next comment]

     

    • #15
  16. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Continued from above:

     

    7: The lockdown of the country and the economic consequences we have suffered and will continue to suffer weren’t caused by China. The lockdown was decreed by leaders who acted out of an abundance of caution, panic, or gross incompetence/unpreparedness…. the people most responsible for the economic consequences of this lockdown will be people clamoring the loudest for Chinese accountability so that their own accountability will be ignored.

    8. When the crisis hit, people looked to those leaders to actually lead and in a crisis. So for those leaders, it was a pucker factor 11 unpleasant surprise that they were completely unprepared for. Yes and no. The power grab by the left suggests if not a detailed plan, a large group of leaders prepared to seize more power than they are granted by the Constitution.

    9.How many government bodies in the US that declared a state of emergency and seized emergency powers explicitly declared their exit plan for that state of emergency or limited the duration for a certain number of days? It can’t be many. Those in power care only about covering their liability, not coming up with a solution. Most of them are looking to use this crisis to maximize the gain to their own team. See above. And as the linked post asks now that they have tasted blood, what do we do with them?

    10. Don’t get me wrong, China started this mess and they own it. They deserve to get punished. To me, bringing manufacturing back from China en masse is sufficient because it would give us an independence from China. It would put Americans back to work. It would also crush the Chinese economically. Personally, I’m willing to pay more for made in the USA because of what it would mean to our country and theirs. But we shouldn’t forget guys like Dr. Fauci and others. So many of these guys were unprepared, inept, meddlers, fear mongers, or outright tyrants who spouted one line of thought in mid-March and another one two weeks later. They need to be held accountable first. If we intend to get independence from China, then we first need to get independence from the elites and the experts.

     

     

    • #16
  17. Chris Gregerson Member
    Chris Gregerson
    @ChrisGregerson

    I’ve been asking my shut in friends “what happens next winter if we don’t plant, sow, reap, process, distribute, and vend food”? I live in Kansas, 3rd largest producer of wheat and beef in the nation. So this is a very local question, with national impact. They even acknowledge that we need food, they just don’t seem to understand the size of the operation to get it done.

    A major concern are processing plants finding ways to produce with CV disabling the workers. We’ll probably see lots of recapitalization as the plants strive for high, but worker safe, output. 

    These are just my meandering thoughts.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    PHenry (View Comment):
    I have a deep fear that the worst is just about to begin. Not COVID infections, but starvation, depravation, shortages and inflation. We threw a wrench in the works, and will soon have to pay the cost of @phenry. I think this country will come through with mild versions of “the worst,” but the rest of the world will suffer terribly.

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Chris Gregerson (View Comment):

    I’ve been asking my shut in friends “what happens next winter if we don’t plant, sow, reap, process, distribute, and vend food”? I live in Kansas, 3rd largest producer of wheat and beef in the nation. So this is a very local question, with national impact. They even acknowledge that we need food, they just don’t seem to understand the size of the operation to get it done.

    A major concern are processing plants finding ways to produce with CV disabling the workers. We’ll probably see lots of recapitalization as the plants strive for high, but worker safe, output.

    These are just my meandering thoughts.

    Not so meandering at all, @chrisgregerson. The amount of flailing and people’s efforts to hide their incompetence is mind-boggling. Does anyone really know what they’re doing or where they’re going?                        

    • #19
  20. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    PHenry (View Comment):
    I have a deep fear that the worst is just about to begin. Not COVID infections, but starvation, depravation, shortages and inflation. We threw a wrench in the works, and will soon have to pay the cost of @phenry. I think this country will come through with mild versions of “the worst,” but the rest of the world will suffer terribly.

    It may well be a long hot summer. 

    By releasing so many thousands of criminals from jails and prisons, in the name of slowing the coronavirus infection rate, the authorities are simply increasing the pressure of crime on the street.  Those released have no jobs to which to return – most employers are still shut down – and little prospect of getting any money in the short term from overloaded bureaucratic social assistance departments and networks.  How do you think they’re going to get money for their needs?  You guessed it.  They’ll go back to what they do best – crime.

    And this:

    High-profile crimefighters past and present also foresee a long, hot, criminal summer.

    “It’s going to be every man for himself again,” said Curtis Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels in the infamous summer of 1977, when Son of Sam was on the loose.

    “The wealthy see the plywood going up on the Madison Avenue shops and think riots,” he said. “But even if the criminals come to Park Avenue, rich people will buy themselves protection. It’s Park Avenue in Brooklyn we should worry about.

    “The thugs feel the fear out there. They see cops aren’t getting out of their squad cars. That’s when bad stuff happens.”

    NYC crime has fallen in the few weeks since coronavirus stay-at-home orders, with a surge in commercial burglaries and auto theft being the notable exceptions, according to the NYPD.

    Bernie Kerik, the police boss during 9/11, remembered how crime also dropped for three weeks after the attacks — then it returned and spiked.

    “This is different and could be worse,” Kerik said. “If this shutdown continues through May, it’ll drive people into poverty. Many won’t qualify for government programs or unemployment. These people have to feed their families. Meanwhile, the criminals are emboldened.”

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Does anyone really know what they’re doing or where they’re going?

    Not I. 😉

    • #21
  22. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    #12 Old Bathos

    #13 Susan Quinn (and OP)

    Assuming that the above diagram is sufficiently legible, and that you therefore have the necessary minimum clarity as to what my stance is, permit me to differ.

    (Actually, one other item for the sake of necessary minimum clarity:  I am a yuge supporter of the POTUS, and despise with unrelentingly white-hot fury all those active in the political realm to the left of [for reference purposes] Ace of Spades.)

    First, we owe it to ourselves to be honest about where the agitation for curtailing/circumscribing business activity has been coming from.  To be sure, what I’m referring to has not been uniform across every state — but if you’ll spot me just one sweeping generalization, I’m going to reiterate with considerable confidence something I’ve attempted to point out in other, previous threads:  Easily 50 percent or more of the pressure for “lockdown” declarations is from enterprises on governors (and, I would conjecture, on the Federal government via multiple avenues).  Of such enterprises exerting this pressure, I would wager that a majority would tend to operate at scales just a bit too big to qualify for PPP assistance, and above — even if not publicly traded, the kinds of businesses that carefully follow what happens in the capital markets because they tap the markets for financing above a certain minimum frequency.

    Apropos of this characterization I’m proffering, just today it’s reported that economists from The Ohio State University and Indiana University are suggesting in a new, jointly-authored analysis (under the aegis of the NBER/National Bureau of Economic Research) that UI claims filings have been pretty uniform across all states.  (If I understand correctly, uniform as in, as percentages of the states’ participating labor forces.)  The implication seen in this is that state-by-state differences in lockdown strictures may well have been a wash as far as many major enterprises’ own layoff decisions have been concerned.

    Bottom line I suspect is that enterprises above a certain scale marker have pushed for regulatory air cover from state governments (lockdown declarations of varying severity/extent) while they figure out how to minimize their Wuhan Virus exposure liabilities (litigation from employees and to a lesser extent from consumers), as well as how to re-set their supply chains.

    Second, we also owe it to ourselves to entertain the prospect that this virus is indeed — as I’ve asserted ad nauseam in these “pages” — a pathogen that the CCP regime in China had earlier on explicitly selected, from among a couple of thousand other naturally occurring bat coronavirus strains its researchers had collected/catalogued/analyzed in recent years, for near-future deployment in PRC-internal ethnic cleansing operations.  In other words, we do ourselves a borderline-terrifying disservice if we treat the corollary of “Life is unpredictable” as “All negative phenomena in life are equivalent in severity and/or impact.”

     

    • #22
  23. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):
    Assuming that the above diagram is sufficiently legible

     Coronavirus, Economics, and Saving Lives - The Money Manifesto

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    #12 Old Bathos

    #13 Susan Quinn (and OP)

    Assuming that the above diagram is sufficiently legible, and that you therefore have the necessary minimum clarity as to what my stance is, permit me to differ.

    (Actually, one other item for the sake of necessary minimum clarity: I am a yuge supporter of the POTUS, and despise with unrelentingly white-hot fury all those active in the political realm to the left of [for reference purposes] Ace of Spades.)

    First, we owe it to ourselves to be honest about where the agitation for curtailing/circumscribing business activity has been coming from. To be sure, what I’m referring to has not been uniform across every state — but if you’ll spot me just one sweeping generalization, I’m going to reiterate with considerable confidence something I’ve attempted to point out in other, previous threads: Easily 50 percent or more of the pressure for “lockdown” declarations is from enterprises on governors (and, I would conjecture, on the Federal government via multiple avenues). Of such enterprises exerting this pressure, I would wager that a majority would tend to operate at scales just a bit too big to qualify for PPP assistance, and above — even if not publicly traded, the kinds of businesses that carefully follow what happens in the capital markets because they tap the markets for financing above a certain minimum frequency.

    Apropos of this characterization I’m proffering, just today it’s reported that economists from The Ohio State University and Indiana University are suggesting in a new, jointly-authored analysis (under the aegis of the NBER/National Bureau of Economic Research) that UI claims filings have been pretty uniform across all states. (If I understand correctly, uniform as in, as percentages of the states’ participating labor forces.) The implication seen in this is that state-by-state differences in lockdown strictures may well have been a wash as far as many major enterprises’ own layoff decisions have been concerned.

    Bottom line I suspect is that enterprises above a certain scale marker have pushed for regulatory air cover from state governments (lockdown declarations of varying severity/extent) while they figure out how to minimize their Wuhan Virus exposure liabilities (litigation from employees and to a lesser extent from consumers), as well as how to re-set their supply chains.

    Second, we also owe it to ourselves to entertain the prospect that this virus is indeed — as I’ve asserted ad nauseam in these “pages” — a pathogen that the CCP regime in China had earlier on explicitly selected, from among a couple of thousand other naturally occurring bat coronavirus strains its researchers had collected/catalogued/analyzed in recent years, for near-future deployment in PRC-internal ethnic cleansing operations. In other words, we do ourselves a borderline-terrifying disservice if we treat the corollary of “Life is unpredictable” as “All negative phenomena in life are equivalent in severity and/or impact.”

     

    @dannyalexander, I always appreciate your comments, but you’ve lost me on this one. I am not able to connect your “dots.” I personally would not draw the conclusion of your corollary shift–“all negative phenomena in life are not equivalent in severity and/or impact”; it would be a foolish conclusion to reach. But I don’t understand your points about the businesses. Is there a way you could connect your points The sentence I bolded is clear, although I don’t know for certain if it’s true.

    • #24
  25. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    #24 Susan Quinn

    What I contend is that the Wuhan Virus, while not the result of human-conducted “engineering,” is nevertheless very much the end-product of a “China’s Horseshoe Bats Have Got Coronavirus Talent” search process that methodically worked its way through a couple thousand candidate strains.

    In my estimation, the guiding criteria included efficacy against targets (especially within certain settings), as well as plausible deniability due to being a naturally occurring strain.

    ”Certain settings” likely aimed at enclosed spaces, with considerable numbers of the same group of people in extensive, semi-sedentary social contact with one another over a sustained period of time — maybe even optimally in comparatively low-humidity and low-temperature climes.  Maybe not a total fit with nursing homes in Washington state in February/March, but a very strong fit with nursing homes up the Eastern seaboard in the February-through-now timeframe.  And also with re-education facilities for Uyghurs in Xinjiang province during approximately two-thirds of the year.

    So what I’m driving at here is that the “Life is unpredictable” statement in my reading carries an assumption of randomness of events, which in turn carries with it an assumption of randomness of the severity level of any given event.  And I’m arguing that, while the lab accident that exposed this pathogen in Wuhan was probably a random event (in the larger scheme of things — setting aside concerns and probabilities specifically related to lab biosafety), the severity level was practically guaranteed to be a non-random nightmare due to research objectives and deployment goals/criteria.

    Meaning, in turn, that not only will people die concomitant with an easing of restrictions — it’s eminently possible that *a lot* of people will die.  And the hospitalization/mortality data obtained thus far might not necessarily guide us all that much in the onset of another wave (a la mutual funds’ disclaimers about past performance etc.).

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/10/coronavirus-attacks-body-symptoms/?arc404=true

    We can’t keep the economy in perpetual lockdown, and without question we must not make liberty-deprivation the default policy — but we have to be humble about our predictions regarding many states’ restriction-easing processes.

    Everything is in God’s hands except the fear of God.

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    #24 Susan Quinn

    What I contend is that the Wuhan Virus, while not the result of human-conducted “engineering,” is nevertheless very much the end-product of a “China’s Horseshoe Bats Have Got Coronavirus Talent” search process that methodically worked its way through a couple thousand candidate strains.

    In my estimation, the guiding criteria included efficacy against targets (especially within certain settings), as well as plausible deniability due to being a naturally occurring strain.

    ”Certain settings” likely aimed at enclosed spaces, with considerable numbers of the same group of people in extensive, semi-sedentary social contact with one another over a sustained period of time — maybe even optimally in comparatively low-humidity and low-temperature climes. Maybe not a total fit with nursing homes in Washington state in February/March, but a very strong fit with nursing homes up the Eastern seaboard in the February-through-now timeframe. And also with re-education facilities for Uyghurs in Xinjiang province during approximately two-thirds of the year.

    So what I’m driving at here is that the “Life is unpredictable” statement in my reading carries an assumption of randomness of events, which in turn carries with it an assumption of randomness of the severity level of any given event. And I’m arguing that, while the lab accident that exposed this pathogen in Wuhan was probably a random event (in the larger scheme of things — setting aside concerns and probabilities specifically related to lab biosafety), the severity level was practically guaranteed to be a non-random nightmare due to research objectives and deployment goals/criteria.

    Meaning, in turn, that not only will people die concomitant with an easing of restrictions — it’s eminently possible that *a lot* of people will die. And the hospitalization/mortality data obtained thus far might not necessarily guide us all that much in the onset of another wave (a la mutual funds’ disclaimers about past performance etc.).

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/10/coronavirus-attacks-body-symptoms/?arc404=true

    We can’t keep the economy in perpetual lockdown, and without question we must not make liberty-deprivation the default policy — but we have to be humble about our predictions regarding many states’ restriction-easing processes.

    Everything is in God’s hands except the fear of God.

    Thanks so much, @dannyalexander. I do understand what you are saying, although grasping all the implications is nearly impossible–particularly because the WP article tells us how little we know about the virus. And I highlighted points that seem key for me. Trying to take the uncertainty in stride is very hard to do. Still, I want to know as much as I can.

    • #26
  27. Roderic Reagan
    Roderic
    @rhfabian

    We all accept a certain amount of risk in life.  The risk of dying of a traffic accident, a sports related accident, death as a consequence of a medication side effect or a medical error, and so on.  Such things kill thousands every year.  Some of us reduce the risk as much as is practical, but some risk always remains.  

    The risk of dying of COVID-19 is currently greater than all of those risks put together, especially for some of us.   Nevertheless, we have to find a balance between avoiding COVID-19 death and living our lives.  Some increased risk has got to be generally accepted.  It’s not possible to reduce the risk to zero at this time, but that is what some politicians are trying to do.  We’ve seen where a policy that any price must be paid as long as a single life is saved leads.  It causes everything to grind to a halt.

    I never expected that a shutdown would result in the permanent loss of jobs and businesses, but that is beginning to happen.  I dismissed claims that a shutdown would cause permanent damage to the economy, but that is what it is doing.  

    Now that we are seeing that states can reopen without excessive risk that’s what more states should be doing.

    • #27
  28. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Roderic (View Comment):
    Now that we are seeing that states can reopen without excessive risk that’s what more states should be doing.

    And those of us with any wisdom, @rhfabian, know that those actions will lead to more questions and more uncertainty. Because that is what life offers us at those times. My hope is that with re-opening, the sense of freedom that goes with that action will somehow mitigate the illness and even death that results. Otherwise, life will go on without us. Thanks.

    • #28
  29. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    I continue to assert that the best and only effective response to fear of death by the virus is a clear assertion of death from lock down. 

    “Remember all the suicides and drug overdose deaths from people thrown out of work and kept out of work? How do we stop that happening again this time?”

    “We all know we are supposed to get regular check ups so we stop cancer, heart disease and stroke risks before they get out of control and kill us. What do you think is happening to people who should have had life-saving checkups or doctor office treatments since the government shut down all those appointments?”

    • #29
  30. Danny Alexander Member
    Danny Alexander
    @DannyAlexander

    #29 Clifford A. Brown

    Enthusiastically if sadly, I agree with what you assert.

    Humbly, I would suggest that this is a “both…  and” situation — if only because I classify the Wuhan Virus as a microbial apex predator.

    • #30
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