Meanwhile in Florida…
Gov. Ron DeSantis issued four executive orders Friday designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, shutting down restaurants except for takeout or delivery, banning non-urgent medical procedures and surgeries, closing most businesses in Palm Beach and Broward counties where people congregate and allowing local governments to meet via telephone or video conferences.
…and just like that, Florida was in an economic depression. And; in the name of one-upsmanship…
Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried issued a statement on Friday asking Governor Ron DeSantis to consider implementing a statewide “stay-at-home” order.
This is being repeated all over the country as States, cities, and local municipalities try to outdo each other in how quickly they can shut down all economic activity in their area. The nation’s economy has gone from roaring 20’s to Great Depression in a few weeks, and because it’s under the guise of a healthcare emergency, everyone seems to think that once this has died down, the economy will spring back to normal.
I really hope so.
But I don’t have much experience with this sort of economic downturn, in which the fundamentals of the economy were fine and then, on a dime businesses all over the country were ordered shut down by government fiat. When one thinks of the number of businesses that are afloat on a thin margin, even in good times, it seems clear that many of those businesses won’t be coming back.
Of course a health care emergency, if big enough and threatening enough could make it worth the damage that we’ve willingly inflicted on ourselves.
I just don’t think this is it.
Since the beginning of this “crisis” I’ve been skeptic of the idea that this was some new Spanish Flu, or do we have to call it the Latinx Flu now? I don’t even know this flu’s pronouns! My initial skepticism was based on not being able to believe a lying media which has been in a state of constant phony hysteria for the past couple of years. Why would this hysteria be any different? But whatever “Operation Get Trump Part XXII” this may have started as, the hysteria has swollen well past mere partisanship. This is now the real thing; real hysteria. People like me who seem a bit sanguine about the “crisis” are so few that we’re treated as oddball curiosities. And the bipartisan coming together of left and right into unhinged hatred of skeptics asking reasonable questions is something that, like so much of the past few years, is new; beyond my experience. But I’m starting to see how witches get burned at the stake and people get lynched.
I’ve been tracking the numbers of new cases and deaths based on the past couple of days, and although I acknowledge that there is a testing bias involved in these numbers (there are no doubt far more cases than are being shown in the available statistics) the numbers don’t seem very frightening to me.
Of course I’m comparing it to a fairly comparable similar example in history, the “Swine Flu” pandemic. From the CDC:
From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.
We suffered 12,469 deaths from H1N1 and we didn’t shut down a single restaurant. In fact, I don’t even recall a demand to do that, let alone shut down the entire economy, and establish curfews.
As for the annual flu, the 2017-2018 flu Season:
CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2017–2018 season was high with an estimated 45 million people getting sick with influenza, 21 million people going to a health care provider, 810,000 hospitalizations, and 61,000 deaths from influenza (Table 1). The number of cases of influenza-associated illness that occurred during 2017-2018 was the highest since the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when an estimated 60 million people were sick with influenza.
So we had 61,000 dead Americans just last year, and again, no call to shut down the entire country. People went to work, kids went to school, and thousands died.
So what makes this year different?
After this season winds down and cooler heads begin to prevail, I expect to be reading some think pieces on “Why did we overreact?” or “Why did Trump overreact?” In any case I’ll be curious as to the theories of why my immune system seemed to resist the wave of hysteria while so many others succumbed. That’s one view of it.
The other view of course, is that I’m totally off base. Every bit of hysteria is totally justified and I’m the crazy one, I’m this guy…
…totally oblivious to the real danger I’m in, either through drunkenness or stupidity. I have to consider the possibility, when so many people whose opinions I respect are foaming at the mouth in fear, that I’m too dumb to be afraid of something I very much should be afraid of.
We’ll know one way or the other. If Covid-19 deaths fail to exceed annual flu deaths, than I was right, the hysteria was overblown, and I can return to my usual state of smugness. Of course if they way exceed that amount by hundreds of thousands, then we’ll know I was a fool.
Can’t wait to find out!