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The destructive Corona virus policy response, revisited

The economic and civil rights implications of an absolutely misguided (and I would argue tyrannical) US/western nation Corona virus policy response that is now increasingly focusing on daily new cases instead of on daily mortalities, or on mortality rate trends, are potentially devastating.  Never mind that sharply rising new US Corona virus cases, or the so-called “second wave,” have typically been accompanied by dramatically lower confirmed new daily deaths, as a younger population cohort is again permitted (for now, however short-lived) to venture back out into the wider world — a cohort that has a miniscule risk of dying should they contract the virus (“new cases”).  In fact, it is precisely this cohort again being “out and about” which will help put this virus down (spreading herd immunity, which widespread lockdowns postponed).  

Here’s what the CDC is saying about the fatality rate for the Corona virus broken down by age (their current scenario 5, which is their best estimate):

  • 0-49 years old: 0.05%
  • 50-64 years old: 0.2%
  • 65+ years old: 1.3%
  • Overall ages: 0.4%

Note that the overall case fatality rate of the Corona virus in the US, according to the CDC, is 0.4%.  That number only pertains to symptomatic cases, which, according to CDC estimates, comprise 65% of all cases.  If one includes asymptomatic infections, then the implied overall US Corona virus mortality rate is about 0.26%.  Stated differently, if 1,000 people contracted the virus, fewer than 3 of those individuals would be expected to die from it.  

For those of you who think this is “Monday morning quarterbacking,” please have a look at the following NE Journal of Medicine article lead-published by Anthony S. Fauci on March 26th, 2020.  In particular, this paragraph (italics mine):

“On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%.4  In another article in the Journal, Guan et al.5 report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity.  If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.2

Contrast the above COVID-19 or Corona virus assumptions (as published on March 26th, 2020 by the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the CDC, Anthony S. Fauci) and the ever-increasing confirmations of a benign overall Corona virus death rate with an utterly and insanely destructive Corona virus policy response in which much of the population was “locked down,” in one way or another — lockdowns instead isolating and protecting the most vulnerable members of society, as was previously done during pandemics to typically great overall effect.

In fact, with society opening back up and new cases spiking, the overall Corona virus mortality rate is increasingly converging with that of more benign modern-day pandemics, and could end up being lower, perhaps significantly lower, the more younger people are free to resume normal lives and lifestyles (herd immunity dynamics)*. With this in mind, will society be well-served by revisiting lockdowns? 

Below a graphic depiction of the the expanding divergence between new US Corona virus cases and new US Corona virus deaths as an indication as to where Corona virus mortality rate is currently heading (south!): 

Or, please see:  As regards “Our World in Data’s” political orientation, please click here.  (Sadly, if the left, the statist bureaucrats, and the pathetic RINOs have their way, we will soon be doubling down on lockdown and shutdown policy lunacy based on spiking new daily Corona virus cases juxtaposed against broadly declining new daily Corona virus deaths, which on June 30th comprised only 4.5% of average daily deaths in the US of 7,708 people.)

I reviewed this topic at considerable length in part of my most recent video (as of 18:56 minute mark):  And I’ve also delved into considerable detail as concerns Florida in this matter.

If all that leaves you “cold,” please dwell on this KISS principle for a moment.  The global population is said to be 7.8bn.  The world, well into this disease’s “life-cycle,” has suffered 516K Corona virus-induced deaths to date, according to a Google/Wikipedia aggregation.  That means that 0.01% of the world’s population (and 0.02% of Florida’s population) has succumbed to the Corona virus.  Yet, the policy makers’ virus shutdown/lockdown responses have triggered unparalleled (Post WWII) job losses, unmatched economic collapses, a peerless plunge in world trade, and unheralded increases in debt and money printing that, collectively, are already doing (and threaten to continue to do) MUCH, MUCH more harm than the Corona virus ever could.  Which is why I titled the first video I devoted to this back on March 22nd , 2020 “Is the cure is worse than the disease?”  

A close, long-standing friend of mine (I got to know him during the CFA study sessions in Massachusetts and North Carolina between 1988 and 1990) has been at least a bit critical of my harping on this virus policy response issue.  He is concerned that I may be putting my (once?) solid analytical reputation at risk by throwing my hat into the ring here again and again, and in the process risking a widening credibility gap if I pick up on something that turns out to be less than “well-vetted.” This unfortunately does happen, from time to time.  But when it happens, I immediately apologize and draw it to the same people’s attention I first shared it with.  In short, I am trying to “see the forest without getting every tree right.”

As such, I am much more concerned about what is going to happen to our already badly damaged rule of law and what is left of free market capitalism and freedom (“the forest”) as a result of grotesque, liberty-eviscerating, small business-killing virus policy diktats issued by public officials and public employees that are often entrenched in well-paid positions with gold-plated pension and healthcare benefits.  In particular, and in addition to “blue state” governors,  I am referring to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at various levels of government that are politically motivated.  Individuals who have gotten “punch drunk” on their “lockdown power.”  Persons that wouldn’t know how to spell “cost/benefit analysis” if their lives depended on it. And, last but not least, pampered people who have shown little if any compunction when issuing diktats to close down small businesses for months at a time — which is bankrupting them — or then imposing re-opening regulations (social distancing, masks, etc.) that virtually guarantee many Main Street businesses’ ultimate demise.

With nearly half of all private sector Americans (and a similar percentage of most other western citizens) employed by small businesses, this is no idle concern, especially as nearly half of all small businesses in America have made it known that they will eventually be forced to close their doors for good.  With so much debt, such large deficits, and so many bad investments/malinvestments courtesy of what effectively amounts to financial repression (ZIRP, NIRP, and QE) already weighing heavily on future national and global prospects, on real growth potential, and on the best outcome for the greatest number of economic participants and citizens, the American/OECD nations’ despotic Corona virus policy response is materially dimming already cloudy prospects.

Socialism never works, except for the elites.



* In everyday terms: the risk for the average person in the US of succumbing to the Corona virus is approximately equivalent to the risk of dying behind the steering wheel.  Last I checked, we can still get in our cars and drive places …  Hope dies last.

FYI: Stylistic improvements, additional source links, and tertiary expansions of topics addressed were made past the initial July 2nd, 2020 publishing date.  That said, neither the post’s initial content or its stance were altered. In terms of a sustained and very marked decline in Corona virus deaths in the US from its weekly high point of 16,987 as of April 18th to 181 for the week ended July 11th, 2020, click here.   

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