Friday, April 3, 2020

WuFlu: How the USA is Doing Compared to the World

From these figures, it looks like the deaths in the USA are about 1/2 that of the rest of the world. That may be due to better reporting, more testing, or some other factor.

One problem is that in some countries, the doctors are just classifying ANY death as Coronavirus-related. Can't blame them for not taking the time to do a proper post-mortem; they're swamped, and a quick burial is more important than getting everything tied up with a pink bow.

So.

Is COVID-19 TEOTWAWKI?

Honestly, it's still pretty much of a guess. Hard facts are either not available, or can't be relied upon. So, for decisions needed to be taken, it's a judgement call. Therefore, the outcome greatly depends on the people making those judgements.

Can we trust Trump to make good decisions?

We can likely trust him to make decisions that won't tank the economy - his own financial well-being is tied to that. Therefore, actions that might affect the finances of the USA are likely to be grounded in those that shore up and maintain the status quo, as much as possible. Or, at least, make re-starting the business of America possible.

For decisions about containing and controlling the epidemic, Trump is fighting with those who would prefer to shut down everything - no matter who gets hurt - if it would bring them back to power.

Some people are going to die. Could a complete shutdown have saved them?

Maybe. But, if we do close America, others will die. By suicide, by starvation, by civil disorder. Maybe more, maybe fewer. No way to tell.

No matter what decisions are made, there are those whose first impulse will be to criticize. For them, the only news is bad news. No outcome could possibly be positive enough for them. They will always find the bad penny in the bag of money.

I'm inclined to open the country up by the end of April at the latest. By then, the infrastructure, equipment, and supply chain should be ready for whatever may happen. Those in fragile health may need to restrict their activities for longer, or to mask and glove up for an extended period. At that point, the benefits of shutdown will be outweighed by the price of it.

We may want to continue the school shutdown through the end of the school year. That's a huge population that are walking bug-carriers. The online options can be used; not optimal, but it will have to do.

Continued restrictions on movement out of the larger urban areas may be necessary. Already, nearby states are refusing to accept travelers from the more affected areas without a mandatory quarantine period. States are re-discovering the benefits of insisting on their territorial sovereignty, independent of national control. That's a trend that may survive the epidemic.

1 comment:

Dystopic said...

I think a soft end to the lockdown at the end of April may be warranted. By soft, I mean if you if it's convenient-ish to continue working remotely, do that. If it's workable to do remote learning, do that. Order take out instead of dine-in. That kind of thing.

I don't think the world is going to quickly return to the status quo, though. There will be ramifications in politics, business, trade deals, and social interaction for years to come. Some of those things may even be positives, in the long run.