COVID-19: Some Much Needed Perspective

 

Craig Medred, an independent journalist from Alaska, has written periodically about the COVID-19 pandemic. Oftentimes his starting point is an Alaskan perspective, but he is always making larger points about the pandemic and reaction to it by, variously, scientists, public health professionals, government leaders, media, and the public. His latest piece, Pushing Fear, brings some much needed perspective.

Public health policy needs to reflect trade-offs in society. Had the virus truly been an existential threat to all of humanity, then the draconian response might have been the right response to preserve the germ of humanity from the scourge. But the virus is and was not such a threat. It was not likely to have been such a threat coming from the same biosphere in which humanity itself arose. An alien virus from a different galaxy? Well that might be a different matter.

Given that it was understood earlier (see the cruise ship examples) not to be an existential threat, why were all the trade-offs not on the table to begin with? Why has everyone who has suggested trade-offs and accepting some level of adverse outcomes been derided or silenced? Because it served the Progressive agenda of putting government decision-making above individual liberty.

How do we recapture liberty and bring our government and “woke” corporations back under control? By providing perspective on the pandemic and asking the simple question: What are we willing to do about lifestyles, DNA, and liberty to eliminate death from all other causes? The answer is: Very little. Life ends in death, so death avoidance cannot be the societal goal. Making our societies work for most people, providing succor to the losers in life’s lottery, that has to be the goal. Mandating face diapers and forbidding productive work is not the answer. And certainly not substituting mandates for information and persuasion to live and act in ways that are the best chance (not the guaranteed outcome) of minimizing debilitating disease and death in our world.

[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]

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  1. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Your views are too rational for our radical ruling class.

    Reason will not persuade them.

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

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Your views are too rational for our radical ruling class.

    Reason will not persuade them.

    Drew, I think the people we need to persuade are not the ruling class, but those of us who are living through this disaster. We have to accept that life has risks, that we can never fully eliminate them, that we can celebrate each day and accept that we are mortal. Then we will be able to move forward.

    • #2
  3. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Your views are too rational for our radical ruling class.

    Reason will not persuade them.

    Drew, I think the people we need to persuade are not the ruling class, but those of us who are living through this disaster. We have to accept that life has risks, that we can never fully eliminate them, that we can celebrate each day and accept that we are mortal. Then we will be able to move forward.

    I think the normies are already persuaded. Feels like everyone around me is moving forward as best they can. Yet, the ruling class still tries to enforce a lock on everyone.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take for the Faucis of the world to finally shut up and go away, but I think it involves a lot of civil disobedience.

    But I noticed this morning when I stopped for my daily caffeine that everyone else in the store (meaning three or four others) was maskless except for me. I hadn’t ever seen that before. Makes sense, though, if what they say is true about needing at least ten minutes exposure to someone. Well, two minutes in and out of the convenience store isn’t going to do that.

    I might have to rebel a bit.

    • #3
  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    There is a statistic in a comment to the linked article that, if true, lends much credence to the argument that we have been in the throes of a wide-ranging effort for more government control of our daily lives for the last year.

    “A renowned doctor stated a week ago that whilst 500k deaths from COVID are reported and mourned, guess what…..Deaths from cancer, heart disease and natural causes have declined rapidly over the past year. Have we found cures for these? Absolutely not but he argued that around 50% of deaths attributed to COVID are undoubtably from other causes.”

    This says Covid effects are only half what is being reported.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think we need to separate the federal government’s response from that of the cities and states.

    I think the federal government’s response under a rational and reasonable president was appropriate for the most part. Our knowledge of how upper respiratory viruses spread within communities was woefully lacking when this ordeal began. I think Donald Trump handled it brilliantly, given the variables in play.

    Our federal-level initiatives to slow infectious diseases are admirable and worthy of our respect.

    What the CDC recommended for handling this virus was standard advice for all such threats since the Spanish flu a hundred years ago. In fact, the purpose of the World Health Organization, the reason we supported it so optimistically and substantively was to monitor infectious diseases around the world so we could contain them where they started. This is a mission we sent them on.

    And it’s not a bad idea. Nor is quarantining sick people. Nor trying to find the source of an outbreak such as cholera. We need to understand the dynamics of infectious diseases if we are to have global trade and travel.

    We’ve learned a lot over the past year. And we are frankly lucky to be able to learn it with a disease that made a lot of people sick but killed mostly old people. The next time it might be kids, and we don’t want that.

    • #5
  6. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    MarciN (View Comment):

    I think we need to separate the federal government’s response from that of the cities and states.

    I think the federal government’s response under a rational and reasonable president was appropriate for the most part. Our knowledge of how upper respiratory viruses spread within communities was woefully lacking when this ordeal began. I think Donald Trump handled it brilliantly, given the variables in play.

    Our federal-level initiatives to slow infectious diseases are admirable and worthy of our respect.

    What the CDC recommended for handling this virus was standard advice for all such threats since the Spanish flu a hundred years ago. In fact, the purpose of the World Health Organization, the reason we supported it so optimistically and substantively was to monitor infectious diseases around the world so we could contain them where they started. This is a mission we sent them on.

    And it’s not a bad idea. Nor is quarantining sick people. Nor trying to find the source of an outbreak such as cholera. We need to understand the dynamics of infectious diseases if we are to have global trade and travel.

    We’ve learned a lot over the past year. And we are frankly lucky to be able to learn it with a disease that made a lot of people sick but killed mostly old people. The next time it might be kids, and we don’t want that.

    Agree, most of the uncalled for fear has been generated at the state and city levels and by the national teacher organizations.

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

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):
    I think the normies are already persuaded. Feels like everyone around me is moving forward as best they can. Yet, the ruling class still tries to enforce a lock on everyone.

    I don’t know–who are the normies? I think there is a group who will always think for themselves, but there are many who may begin to realize they’ve been greatly misled–and will look to their neighbors to speak up and support them.

    • #7
  8. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    I know it has varied from place to place, but as I recall these trade-offs were recognized and discussed right from the start. I don’t know if anyone being silenced for raising that issue. People have had different opinions on what trade-offs to make, where the line should be drawn, but I’ve never heard anyone advocate for complete lockdowns forever, nor have I heard anyone advocate for doing absolutely nothing. 

    You can see the trade offs in the resulting policies. In Ohio, for example, the relatively strict rules expired after a couple of months, and were not heavily enforced. Schools were allowed to reopen if the local boards decided to do that. 

    Even from the start, the lists of “essential businesses” was very long.

    Congress has spent vast amounts of our money to mitigate the economic harm. 

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    We haven’t reacted as though this was an extinction level event. If people thought that was the case, things would have been much different.

    In fact, I would say the reactions would have been much harsher well short of an existential threat. If, for example, 500k asthmatic children had died, you would have seen a much more extreme reaction. 

    • #8
  9. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):
    I think the normies are already persuaded. Feels like everyone around me is moving forward as best they can. Yet, the ruling class still tries to enforce a lock on everyone.

    I don’t know–who are the normies?

    You and me? ; )

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I think “perspective” violates Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and CDC guidelines.

    • #10
  11. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description. 

     

    • #11
  12. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description.

    I don’t believe they were considered at all.

     

    • #12
  13. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description.

    I don’t believe they were considered at all.

     

    It appears to me as if there was a predetermined menu of steps already in place for Leftists in power to implement given the right set of conditions. Covid-19 saw that happen. Understand, I don’t mean the specific actions but any actions yielding the desirable outcomes are suitable.

    • #13
  14. Ron Selander Member
    Ron Selander
    @RonSelander

    “face diapers”   Excellent description.  BYW, mine are made in China!

    • #14
  15. DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone Coolidge
    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    BYW, mine are made in China!

    They came pre-soaked with virus.

    • #15
  16. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    The only thing that was considered by politicians and our “betters” was How can I remain in office or get re-elected.  If they were voted out, they would have to get a real job.  We can’t have that!!

    • #16
  17. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description.

    I don’t believe they were considered at all.

     

    I think this all depends of where you are sitting. In some places (Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota) I think the trade offs were considered. To the extent that things shut down it was for a limited, and almost rational, time period and then they started opening again. Schools that went remote from March to May opened to in person learning in August after the summer break.  Restaurants are open so are movie theaters. As we learned and experienced more, we opened more.  At the same time in other states things are still significantly shut down.

    How well trade-offs were considered in not a universal. Some one in New York might be able to say things weren’t considered, while some one in South Dakota might say trade-offs were considered. 

    • #17
  18. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Ron Selander (View Comment):

    BYW, mine are made in China!

    They came pre-soaked with virus.

    How do we know that they’re not?

    Does anyone test materials imported from China for stowaway viruses?

    • #18
  19. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description.

     

    Agree. Fairly early on voices that questioned the data and the more draconian responses were labeled in the media as “deniers”. 

    • #19
  20. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I know it has varied from place to place, but as I recall these trade-offs were recognized and discussed right from the start. I don’t know if anyone being silenced for raising that issue. People have had different opinions on what trade-offs to make, where the line should be drawn, but I’ve never heard anyone advocate for complete lockdowns forever, nor have I heard anyone advocate for doing absolutely nothing.

    You can see the trade offs in the resulting policies. In Ohio, for example, the relatively strict rules expired after a couple of months, and were not heavily enforced. Schools were allowed to reopen if the local boards decided to do that.

    Even from the start, the lists of “essential businesses” was very long.

    Congress has spent vast amounts of our money to mitigate the economic harm.

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    We haven’t reacted as though this was an extinction level event. If people thought that was the case, things would have been much different.

    In fact, I would say the reactions would have been much harsher well short of an existential threat. If, for example, 500k asthmatic children had died, you would have seen a much more extreme reaction.

    The left never considers trade-offs… they can’t spell “trade offs”

     

    • #20
  21. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Jager (View Comment):

    DrewInEastHillAutonomousZone (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I’m not saying any particular policy was wise or effective. My only point is that the trade-offs were considered all along.

    Considered might be too strong a description.

    I don’t believe they were considered at all.

     

    I think this all depends of where you are sitting. In some places (Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota) I think the trade offs were considered. To the extent that things shut down it was for a limited, and almost rational, time period and then they started opening again. Schools that went remote from March to May opened to in person learning in August after the summer break. Restaurants are open so are movie theaters. As we learned and experienced more, we opened more. At the same time in other states things are still significantly shut down.

    How well trade-offs were considered in not a universal. Some one in New York might be able to say things weren’t considered, while some one in South Dakota might say trade-offs were considered.

    I agree with your view. But I also believe in some states and cities dominated mostly by Democrats it was judged immediately as a political opportunity in an election year and was approached with that in mind. This meant that some actions were not considered politically advantageous so they were discarded. A major one is public in-person education and it is a big fight now between families with children and Democrat politicians being influenced by teachers’ unions. 

    • #21
  22. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    There’s one lesson in the covid crisis.  Governments should stay out of personal matters.  The Federal government’s job is to provide information and control foreign trade and immigration.  That alone would have been significant in the case of this disease.   An additional step would have been to close most trade with China and to insist that we investigate the origin of the disease until they answered our questions.  All the rest has been an abuse of power and harmful to the economy and individuals.  Had we done so the Democrats would have have been unable to win the election, however they pulled it off,  and continue to destroy the economy and our freedom.   We play along with these totalitarians and it’s destroying the economy, the constitution, and millions of lives.

    • #22
  23. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    There is a statistic in a comment to the linked article that, if true, lends much credence to the argument that we have been in the throes of a wide-ranging effort for more government control of our daily lives for the last year.

    “A renowned doctor stated a week ago that whilst 500k deaths from COVID are reported and mourned, guess what…..Deaths from cancer, heart disease and natural causes have declined rapidly over the past year. Have we found cures for these? Absolutely not but he argued that around 50% of deaths attributed to COVID are undoubtably from other causes.”

    This says Covid effects are only half what is being reported.

    During the early phases of a pandemic one would expect the deaths from many diseases to decline- partly due to the delay in treatment for them. The truth is many therapies ACUTELY increase the death rate (iatrogenic deaths and deaths s/t side effects) even though overall the therapy is efficacious. As an example-bone marrow transplants for cancer have a significant early death rate-even tho the therapy is lifesaving, death is sooner in those in whom the treatment fails compared to the untreated. So during a pandemic less people get chemotherapy and surgery so the death rate drops-but later there is a more than offsetting INCREASE in deaths d/t delayed therapy. This is also seen during “doctors strikes”- the death rate drops during the strike but rises above baseline afterwards. 

    • #23
  24. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    There is a statistic in a comment to the linked article that, if true, lends much credence to the argument that we have been in the throes of a wide-ranging effort for more government control of our daily lives for the last year.

    “A renowned doctor stated a week ago that whilst 500k deaths from COVID are reported and mourned, guess what…..Deaths from cancer, heart disease and natural causes have declined rapidly over the past year. Have we found cures for these? Absolutely not but he argued that around 50% of deaths attributed to COVID are undoubtably from other causes.”

    This says Covid effects are only half what is being reported.

    During the early phases of a pandemic one would expect the deaths from many diseases to decline- partly due to the delay in treatment for them. The truth is many therapies ACUTELY increase the death rate (iatrogenic deaths and deaths s/t side effects) even though overall the therapy is efficacious. As an example-bone marrow transplants for cancer have a significant early death rate-even tho the therapy is lifesaving, death is sooner in those in whom the treatment fails compared to the untreated. So during a pandemic less people get chemotherapy and surgery so the death rate drops-but later there is a more than offsetting INCREASE in deaths d/t delayed therapy. This is also seen during “doctors strikes”- the death rate drops during the strike but rises above baseline afterwards.

    Would a “renowned doctor” likely be unaware of such a fact and not account for it? I frankly have never heard what you describe. Maybe that means there’s some truth there but the numbers are not comparatively significant. Are there available statistical sources where the numbers can be viewed?

    • #24
  25. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Rodin: Why has everyone who has suggested trade-offs and accepting some level of adverse outcomes been derided or silenced? Because it served the Progressive agenda of putting government decision-making above individual liberty.

    Nailed it.

    • #25
  26. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Here is perspective: Ivermectin is just as good as a vaccine.  But the West does not want to know.

    • #26
  27. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    ok Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    MiMac (View Comment):

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    There is a statistic in a comment to the linked article that, if true, lends much credence to the argument that we have been in the throes of a wide-ranging effort for more government control of our daily lives for the last year.

    “A renowned doctor stated a week ago that whilst 500k deaths from COVID are reported and mourned, guess what…..Deaths from cancer, heart disease and natural causes have declined rapidly over the past year. Have we found cures for these? Absolutely not but he argued that around 50% of deaths attributed to COVID are undoubtably from other causes.”

    This says Covid effects are only half what is being reported.

    During the early phases of a pandemic one would expect the deaths from many diseases to decline- partly due to the delay in treatment for them. The truth is many therapies ACUTELY increase the death rate (iatrogenic deaths and deaths s/t side effects) even though overall the therapy is efficacious. As an example-bone marrow transplants for cancer have a significant early death rate-even tho the therapy is lifesaving, death is sooner in those in whom the treatment fails compared to the untreated. So during a pandemic less people get chemotherapy and surgery so the death rate drops-but later there is a more than offsetting INCREASE in deaths d/t delayed therapy. This is also seen during “doctors strikes”- the death rate drops during the strike but rises above baseline afterwards.

    Would a “renowned doctor” likely be unaware of such a fact and not account for it? I frankly have never heard what you describe. Maybe that means there’s some truth there but the numbers are not comparatively significant. Are there available statistical sources where the numbers can be viewed?

    Try google-it isn’t difficult-here is an article about it:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/slightly-blighty/201510/why-do-patients-stop-dying-when-doctors-go-strike%3famp

    it is a well known phenomenon

    Why a “renowned” doctor might not have considered it is speculation-but many a “renowned” doctor has been renowned for making big mistakes out of their limited area of expertise & many “renowned” doctors are very poor clinicians &/or poor statisticians

    • #27
  28. MiMac Thatcher
    MiMac
    @MiMac

    iWe (View Comment):

    Here is perspective: Ivermectin is just as good as a vaccine. But the West does not want to know.

    Way too early and very unlikely to replace vaccines – better quality studies in progress. Even Merck, who makes ivermectin, has big doubts:

    https://www.merck.com/news/merck-statement-on-ivermectin-use-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

    more negative studies are appearing:

    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210201/Ivermectin-may-not-be-the-e28098silver-bullete28099-antiviral-against-COVID-19.aspx

    slightly older( and posted by me on an earlier thread) but useful review:

    https://blogs.jwatch.org/hiv-id-observations/index.php/ivermectin-for-covid-19-breakthrough-treatment-or-hydroxychloroquine-redux/2021/01/04/

    • #28
  29. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    MiMac (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Here is perspective: Ivermectin is just as good as a vaccine. But the West does not want to know.

    Way too early and very unlikely to replace vaccines – better quality studies in progress. Even Merck, who makes ivermectin, has big doubts:

    https://www.merck.com/news/merck-statement-on-ivermectin-use-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

    more negative studies are appearing:

    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210201/Ivermectin-may-not-be-the-e28098silver-bullete28099-antiviral-against-COVID-19.aspx

    slightly older( and posted by me on an earlier thread) but useful review:

    https://blogs.jwatch.org/hiv-id-observations/index.php/ivermectin-for-covid-19-breakthrough-treatment-or-hydroxychloroquine-redux/2021/01/04/

    Kory Pierre, MD, ICU/pulmonary specialist has treated hundreds of covid patients with Ivermectin

     

    • #29
  30. MISTER BITCOIN Member
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    MiMac (View Comment):

    iWe (View Comment):

    Here is perspective: Ivermectin is just as good as a vaccine. But the West does not want to know.

    Way too early and very unlikely to replace vaccines – better quality studies in progress. Even Merck, who makes ivermectin, has big doubts:

    https://www.merck.com/news/merck-statement-on-ivermectin-use-during-the-covid-19-pandemic/

    more negative studies are appearing:

    https://www.news-medical.net/news/20210201/Ivermectin-may-not-be-the-e28098silver-bullete28099-antiviral-against-COVID-19.aspx

    slightly older( and posted by me on an earlier thread) but useful review:

    https://blogs.jwatch.org/hiv-id-observations/index.php/ivermectin-for-covid-19-breakthrough-treatment-or-hydroxychloroquine-redux/2021/01/04/

    Bangladesh??? amazing

     

    • #30