Multi-talented coloratura, Ms Moffo had her own show!
In the early days of the coronavirus crisis, the rationale given for lockdowns was that it was necessary to stay at home for “fifteen days to slow the spread.” The idea was that social distancing was necessary so that hospitals and other healthcare resources would not be overwhelmed.
However, by the summer of 2020, whether by design or not, it became common to hear media pundits, politicians, and even some scientists either imply or outright claim that social distancing could permanently flatten the curve or otherwise somehow cause a drastic reduction in overall covid-19 deaths.
For example, The Hill’s Reid Wilson claimed in July: “We know how to stop this virus, it requires social distancing, it requires wearing a mask, and constant hand sanitizers and staying home as much as possible.”
Yet this displays a woeful lack of understanding about the purpose and effectiveness of lockdowns. Lockdowns of the sort seen in April and May in this country do nothing at all to “stop this virus.” The lockdown strategy only works to completely stop a disease if certain conditions can be met. Specifically, the lockdown must be extremely strict, and it must be maintained indefinitely—perhaps for years—until a safe and effective vaccine is widely available.
Clearly, the US is nowhere near enforcing a lockdown like this, nor does it appear that a vaccine—certainly not a well-tested one—is imminent. Thus, given that we know lockdowns themselves cause deaths through suicides, drug overdoses, and more, trying to impose a strict lockdown until that day comes would be a high-stakes gamble few will be willing or able to endure.
Lockdowns Only Provide “Temporary Suppression”
For some insightful observers, this has been clear from the very beginning. Writing back in April of this year, Joseph Ladapo, a professor of medicine at UCLA, wrote:
There is no guarantee of a vaccine within the next 18 months. We have taken measures to slow the virus, but these can’t stop it. The only thing that can stop the virus at this advanced stage of community transmission is a complete lockdown, which can happen in authoritarian countries like China, but not in the U.S.
Are shutdowns enough? No. Despite the efforts, there is still enough human contact to ensure the virus will spread. Take a look at the long list of “essential” services and exemptions on California’s Covid-19 website, for example. Shutdowns will cause the virus to spread more slowly, but it will spread nonetheless.
When shutdowns end, the virus will spread and Covid-19 deaths will increase. Without a vaccine and community immunity—often called “herd immunity”—this outcome is all but guaranteed. The only thing that will temporarily quell it in the near term, short of a miracle treatment, is another shutdown. But states will get only one pass at this. Once lifted, the appetite for a repeat shutdown will be tepid at best, even in left-leaning states. The reality of the shutdown’s costs—the upheaval caused by school closures, economic hurt, social isolation and lost lives and livelihoods—will be fresh. Some argue that stopping Covid-19 and protecting the economy are one and the same. Although this is true, it is too late to do either.
Not even the most enthusiastic supporters of draconian lockdowns, including Neil Ferguson, author of the infamous (and very wrong) Imperial College model, thought it possible to eradicate the disease through lockdowns. The Imperial report refers to lockdowns simply as a method of “temporary suppression.”
As Ladapo notes, at this stage in the game, i too late to contain the disease without a total lockdown where so much as a trip to the grocery store is verboten. Moreover, international borders would have to be sealed shut to prevent infected populations from entering the country. Given the success with which governments have controlled the flow of migrants, we can guess about how successful that strategy would be.
When we add all this together, given current realities, social distancing and lockdowns cannot possibly serve any purpose other than to slow down the spread so as to lessen the burden on healthcare facilities. The only lives saved would be those who would otherwise have been denied medical care by an overwhelmed medical system. But this is a relatively small number, and in the developed world medical systems are now nowhere near running out of beds.
Lockdowns May Not Even Flatten the Curve Enough to Create Any Net Gain
Thus, another round of stay-at-home orders or lockdowns certainly won’t make the disease go away. They’ll just delay the spread to a future date. Moreover, it’s debatable how effective lockdowns are at accomplishing even this. In a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Andrew Atkeson, Karen Kopecky, and Tao Zha conclude that we may be even past the time when lockdowns make much of a difference to outcomes.
It appears countries and regions follow a similar pattern “everywhere.” Transmission rates are high at first, the study notes, but growth in the spread of the disease quickly declines after twenty to thirty days. After this, “the growth rate of daily deaths in all regions has hovered around zero or slightly below.” This is regardless of whether or not there are social distancing laws or mask mandates. In other words, it doesn’t look like lockdowns (which now vary widely in their extent and severity) are even changing the shape of the curve anymore.
Thus, a few months out from the initial surge, growth rates in all regions became more and more similar across jurisdictions. The authors therefore conclude:
given the observation that disease transmission rates have remained low with relatively low dispersion across locations worldwide for the past several months as NPIs [nonpharmaceutical interventions] have been lifted, we are concerned that estimates of the effectiveness of NPIs in reducing disease transmission from the earlier period may not be relevant for forecasting the impact of the relaxation of those NPIs in the current period, due to some unobserved switch in regime.
In other words, not only are we well past the time when lockdowns might have flattened the initial surge in transmissions, at this point in the pandemic it doesn’t look like lockdowns would even do much to flatten the curve to the point that we’re better off.
Dogmatic advocates for lockdowns are likely to continue pushing for open-ended mandates until a vaccine is widely available. But they’re gambling with people’s lives. How many children must be impoverished and how many jobless men and women must die by suicide or drug overdoses in the meantime? Every day of a lockdown puts more lives in danger.Author:
Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and The Austrian, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.
Most of us would like to assume that we’re smarter than pigs, but are we? Let’s have a look.
Pigs are pretty intelligent mammals, and forest-dwelling wild pigs are known to be especially wily.
However, there’s a traditional method for trapping them.
First, find a small clearing in the forest and put some corn on the ground.
After you leave, the pigs will find it. They’ll also return the next day to see if there’s more.
Replace the corn every day. Once they’ve become dependent on the free food, erect a section of fence down one side of the clearing. When they get used to the fence, they’ll begin to eat the corn again. Then you erect another side of the fence.
Continue until you have all four sides of the fence up, with a gate in the final side.
Then, when the pigs enter the pen to feed, you close the gate.
At first, the pigs will run around, trying to escape. But if you toss in more corn, they’ll eventually calm down and go back to eating.
You can then smile at the herd of pigs you’ve caught and say to yourself that this is why humans are smarter than pigs.
But unfortunately, that’s not always so.
In fact, the description above is the essence of trapping humans into collectivism.
Collectivism begins when a government starts offering free stuff to the population. At first, it’s something simple like free education or food stamps for the poor.
But soon, political leaders talk increasingly of “entitlements” – a wonderful concept that by its very name suggests that this is something that’s owed to you, and if other politicians don’t support the idea, then they’re denying you your rights.
Once the idea of free stuff has become the norm and, more importantly, when the populace has come to depend upon it as a significant part of their “diet,” more free stuff is offered.
It matters little whether the new entitlements are welfare, healthcare, free college, or a guaranteed basic wage. What’s important is that the herd come to rely on the entitlements.
Then, it’s time to erect the fence.
Naturally, in order to expand the volume of free stuff, greater taxation will be required. And of course, some rights will have to be sacrificed.
And just like the pigs, all that’s really necessary to get humans to comply is to make the increase in fencing gradual. People focus more on the corn than the fence.
Once they’re substantially dependent, it’s time to shut the gate.
What this looks like in collectivism is that new restrictions come into play that restrict freedoms.
You may be told that you cannot expatriate without paying a large penalty. You may be told that your bank deposit may be confiscated in an emergency situation. You may even be told that the government has the right to deny you the freedom to congregate, or even to go to work, for whatever trumped-up reason.
And of course, that’s the point at which the pigs run around, hoping to escape the new restrictions. But more entitlements are offered, and in the end, the entitlements are accepted as being more valuable than the freedom of self-determination.
Even at this point, most people will remain compliant. But there’s a final stage: The corn ration is “temporarily” cut due to fiscal problems. Then it’s cut again… and again.
The freedoms are gone for good and the entitlements are then slowly removed. This is how it’s possible to begin with a very prosperous country, such as Argentina, Venezuela or the US, and convert it into an impoverished collectivist state. It’s a gradual process and the pattern plays out the same way time and again. It succeeds because human nature remains the same.
Collectivism eventually degrades into uniform poverty for 95% of the population, with a small elite who live like kings.
After World War II, the Western world was flying high. There was tremendous prosperity and opportunity for everyone. The system was not totally free market, but enough so that anyone who wished to work hard and take responsibility for himself had the opportunity to prosper.
But very early – in the 1960s – The Great Society became the byword for government-provided largesse for all those who were in need – free stuff for those who were disadvantaged in one way or another.
Most Americans, who were then flush with prosperity, were only too happy to share with those who were less fortunate. Unfortunately, they got suckered into the idea that, rather than give voluntarily on an individual basis, they’d entrust their government to become the distributor of largesse, and to pay for it through taxation. Big mistake.
From that point on, all that was necessary was to keep redefining who was disadvantaged and to then provide more free stuff.
Few people were aware that the first sections of fence were being erected.
But today, it may be easier to understand that the fence has been completed and the gate is closing. It may still be possible to make a hasty exit, but we shall find very few people dashing for the gate. After all, to expatriate to another country would mean leaving all that free stuff – all that security.
At this point, the idea of foraging in the forest looks doubtful. Those who have forgotten how to rely on themselves will understandably fear making an exit. They’ll not only have to change their dependency habits; they’ll have to think for themselves in future.
But make no mistake about it – what we’re witnessing today in what was formerly the Free World is a transition into collectivism. It will be a combination of corporatism and socialism, with the remnants of capitalism. The overall will be collectivism.
The gate is closing, and as stated above, some members of the herd will cause a fuss as they watch the gate closing. There will be some confusion and civil unrest, but in the end, the great majority will settle down once again to their corn.
Only a few will have both the insight and temerity necessary to make a dash for the gate as it’s now closing.
This was true in Argentina when the government was still generous with the largesse, and it was true in Venezuela when the entitlements were at their peak. It is now true of the US as the final transition into collectivism begins.
Rather than make the dash for the gate, the great majority will instead look down at their feed and say, “This is still the best country in the world,” and continue eating the corn.
Editor’s Note: Disturbing economic, political, and social trends are already in motion and now accelerating at breathtaking speed.
The risks that lie ahead are too big and dangerous to ignore.
That’s why legendary investor Doug Casey and Father of Reaganomics David Stockman just released the most critical dispatch revealing what you need to know, and how these dangerous times could impact your savings, retirement, and livelihood.
Sunday, September 13, 2020 by: Mike Adams
by Jon Rappoport
Ohio attorney, Thomas Renz, on behalf of plaintiffs, has filed a case against the state of Ohio and Governor Mike DeWine. Renz is asking for a jury trial.
This case, in the current climate, should provoke intense interest from the public, and from every lawyer within hailing distance.
Here is the impressive opening salvo in the court filing:
“In recent months, entire states have been imprisoned without due process and with the clear threat to impose such lockdowns again, interstate travel has been severely restricted, privacy rights have been devastated, numerous business takings without compensation, and many regulations being implemented without statutory process requirements under the guise of a health emergency that is roughly as dangerous as a seasonal influenza outbreak. The plaintiffs in this case have all been injured in various capacities by these unconstitutional actions, and without action by the Court, will be left without redress. More terrifying, without action by the Court, the Court will be setting future precedent that will allow states to withhold fundamental Constitutional rights, in violation of US Supreme Court precedent, circumventing the various levels of scrutiny applied to such rights, and justify such actions under public health emergency orders without subjecting those orders to any real review—just trust the bureaucrats because they are the experts.”
Here is the most important point: “We humbly ask the Court in this case to…Recognize that the political process and operative orders are invalid if based on false or misleading information… and recognize the criticality that all future emergency orders be based and maintained on clear, honest facts—particularly when such orders are infringing on Constitutional rights.”
In other words, a declared State of Emergency cannot stand on the mere basis of arbitrary edict.
Facts matter. Actual science matters. Reasons why an Emergency is declared matter.
People can’t be locked down and restrained from earning a living and having contact with other humans simply because a state authority decides to issue such orders.
If this case goes to trial, the door will open to the presentation of fact and science.
Attorney Renz, for the plaintiffs, is well aware of this, and his filing is studded with bold and accurate claims of fact:
“According to recent data from the Ohio COVID-19 Dashboard, we can see that the ‘spike’ in cases is actually just a spike in testing. The State went from a few thousand tests per day to 25,000 tests plus per day. The positivity rate for COVID-19 has remained fairly steady but there have been more tests.”
“When the Emergency was declared we heard a daily drumbeat about the danger and deaths related to COVID-19. Now that the case fatality rate has been shown to be roughly the same as the yearly flu…those [death] numbers are simply not scary to the public. As a result, the State sees no impact from talking about fatalities and has instead begun testing more so they could tell us there are more cases.”
“The PCR tests are generally viewed as the means of determining if a patient has COVID-19. The problem is that the inventor of the PCR test, who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry for the invention, specifically stated that the test was not well-suited to and never designed to diagnose disease. Much has been made about this in the press and elsewhere but the reason there are issues with PCR testing in relation to COVID is that PCR testing cannot detect how much of a virus exists in a person. Exposure of the existence of incomplete traces of a virus do not mean a person is infected with a disease [,] which is part of the reason the PCR tests have an elevated rate of false positives.”
“…there is not even a true standard for testing…Instead we have numerous tests from numerous vendors that may or may not have a similar standard for what it means to ‘have’ COVID-19. The CDC, governor, and ODH [Ohio Department of Health] know this so they have allowed for the diagnosis of cases based on as meaningless criteria as a cough in a community in which COVID supposedly exists.”
Plow through this quote and then receive the translation below: “Another document also came to light that is critical in demonstrating the egregiously misleading nature of the public COVID-19 data. On the final paragraph of page 39 of a document published by the FDA regarding instructions for a COVID-19 test is the following quote: ‘Since no quantified virus isolates of the 2019-nCoV are currently available, assays designed for detection of the 2019-nCoV RNA were tested with characterized stocks of in vitro transcribed full length RNA (N gene; GenBank accession: MN908947.2) of known titer (RNA copies/μL) spiked into a diluent consisting of a suspension of human A549 cells and viral transport medium (VTM) to mimic clinical specimen’.”
“In plain English this means that there are no available pure 2019-nCOVvirus isolates to test against so instead an educated best guess is being used. The question this leads us to is how accurate can a test be for a virus that has not been defined…? If our freedoms are to be abridged under an emergency declaration related to a disease, should it not be a requirement that the disease at least be defined?”
As you can see, this case is being argued not only on Constitutional grounds, but on major and deep issues of science. The plaintiffs are not accepting “the Word from the experts.”
There is no reason why they, or anyone, should surrender and accept.
In Ohio, a bright light is shining in the darkness.