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Is Social Distancing All It’s Cracked Up to Be?
Americans are tired of being on lockdown, and hearing about how similar Sweden’s COVID-19 numbers are to ours – despite the fact they took the herd immunity approach, no quarantine needed – isn’t making things any easier. President Trump released guidelines on reopening the nation, a goal he hopes to accomplish by May 1, but it’s up to the governor in each state to lift the lockdown. But the problem is that many are doing the exact opposite.
Protests – some with armed demonstrators – broke out across the nation this week and more are planned. Governors have responded in a variety of ways; some have caved and others are extending the stay-at-home orders, seemingly out of spite. Folks are out of work and worried about how to pay the bills. Others are just tired of being bullied. Are they right to say the quarantine is unnecessary? Well, the most recent information out of Sweden certainly seems to suggest they are.
Sweden has taken a lot of criticism over the refusal to implement social distancing, but the numbers just don’t add up to it being worth the economic destruction. As Liberty Nation’s Onar Åm wrote:
“Sweden may have been unjustly demonized for their strategy. As of April 17, 2020, its death rate at 139 per million is low compared to countries like France, Italy, Spain, and Belgium. The latter looms at 445 per million. By comparison, 107 people per million have died in the United States. Notice that this is only 23% lower than in Sweden.”
And most of those deaths are concentrated around Stockholm, where about a third of nursing homes are infected, accounting for nearly all the Swedish COVID-19 deaths. Sounds like the herd immunity approach is working just about as well as our lockdown – without any of the other financially and socially crippling side effects, like the loss of both jobs and liberty in general.
What to Watch for
So long as there are still cases popping up, expect people to get sick and for some small percentage of them to die. The numbers will continue to go up, even if the increase slows drastically. As Sweden achieves herd immunity, there’s a good chance they’ll actually end up with better Coronavirus stats than the U.S. Also, so long as there are stay-at-home orders and business closures in place, expect more and more frequent protests – with greater threat of violence.
We Told You So … Only Not
As America deals with the consequences of what appears to be a terrible choice in dealing with the Coronavirus, no one wants to hear smug officials from the Intelligence Community saying, “We told you so.” Especially since they really didn’t. Liberty Nation’s Dave Patterson dug through the alleged advance warning, and he has a bone or two to pick with it:
“Dr. Paul Miller, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, recently said that when the IC was estimating what future threats might be, it took a 20-year broad view. As Miller put it regarding the projection, “… they knew that there was a possibility of a pandemic emerging from China, about which we would have very little warning and no immunity.” Okay, let’s unpack that statement. There’s a “possibility of a pandemic,” not a certainty. But, it’s reasonable in a 20-year projection that certainty would be elusive. The location would be China. China’s a big place and a “Great Power Competitor.” China as a locus for a pandemic is a reasonable call – and that’s without considering the many respiratory diseases the nation has generously shared over the years. The U.S. would have very little warning, and no one would be immune.
Let me get this straight: A pandemic may or may not come, but if it does, it’s coming from a big country that happens to be a competitor in the geopolitical arena with a history of beginning pandemics – and we won’t see it coming or be able to prevent it? Hey, that’s good to know, but what are decision-makers supposed to do with that dearth of detail?”
Sorry guys, but this doesn’t exactly constitute a “we told you so” moment. There’s nothing actionable about it – it’s about as useful as any other vague doomsday prophesy you might get from some guy standing on a street corner holding a sign that reads “The End Is Near!”
What to Watch for
As Dave explains, it makes sense that eventually some pandemic would start in China and potentially spread around the world. The great nation of China has generously shared numerous such gifts with us over the years, from a variety of deadly flus to a variety of coronaviruses (remember SARS?). And that’s not all. The first medical writings mentioning smallpox were Chinese and the first case of plague – you know, Black Death – was in China, where it is believed to have existed for about 2,000 years. Of course a pandemic was bound to come from China soon – and it’s quite likely COVID-19 won’t be the last.
Washington Whispers & Other Juicy Tidbits
Be on the lookout for:
- President Trump has tweeted his support of protesters fighting back against Democratic governors across the nation who are increasing Coronavirus restrictions rather than loosening them, and the governors don’t much appreciate it. As each side refuses to budge, look for the conflict to escalate in the near future. Will any of these protests result in violence? Will these governors suffer come election time?
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