Politicians and Health Care Bureaucrats: You Have No Idea What You’ve Done on COVID-19

 

 

Selective Re-Opening of the Economy Urgently Needed Along With Fighting the Virus

By George Miller


Policy-making politicians, health care bureaucrats: you have no idea what new problems you’ve created while attempting to address the COVID-19 threat. Conceivably, the harm you’ve done could be worse than the good- by far. Don’t get me wrong- it makes sense to implement rational policies to inhibit the spread of this nasty virus and it’s your duty to do so. Erring on the side of caution was better than the reverse. 


But watch out for the downside of that. The economic impact of all this is becoming extremely destructive, so some adjustments are needed and quickly. The US has a $2 trillion a month economy. With up to half of that economy arguably shut down, the $2 trillion stimulus/bailout has only a couple of months worth of stimulation and that would only be if it was expertly applied- and it’s not. It is unclear what the additional approximately $4 trillion in Federal Reserve measures, done with no Congressional vote or presidential signature, will accomplish, except principally a hyper-increase of national debt and hyperinflation, if continued at the current rate. Some in Congress, media and elsewhere are already demanding more huge bailouts/stimuli. This means national bankruptcy, even with the sorcery of “quantitative easing,” “repos”, etc, which are merely euphemisms for printing money.


The economic damage could mean millions of lost jobs (already happening), closed or damaged businesses, lost savings and capital, poverty, shattered families, shattered lives, domestic violence, alienation, suicides. Unchecked, this could be worse than the Great Depression of the 1930’s-40’s and certainly worse than the Great Recession. This would be worse than COVID-19. You only have one more chance to get this right- don’t blow it.


The virus will only be checked with some combination of a cure, treatment, vaccine, or “herd immunity.” Current policies can only slow it down, at best. As long as there are carriers, asymptomatic cases, people coming in from uncontrolled areas and some flouting of the effective preventive measures, the virus will continue to spread, with seasonal variations. Mutations could make it worse or better. Meanwhile, we’ve got to contain it without wrecking the economy, which could be even worse. COVID-19, although serious, is not the Black Plague and this is not the Middle Ages 


Preventive Measures


Social distancing, sanitizing and quarantining appear to be the most effective procedures with the least negative economic impact.


Various shutdowns, stay at home and closure directives were implemented, probably with the best of intentions, to further reduce the risk of spreading the very contagious and sometimes fatal virus. We can’t even get agreement on what the fatality rate is and don’t even have the numbers to properly determine it yet. These procedures have had by far the greatest negative economic consequences.


It is interesting that globalization, densification, open borders, mass transit and liberalization of certain social policies, all favored by the international elite, all contribute to rapid, uncontrolled spreading of disease. Maybe these need serious rethinking, but that has yet to occur. Trump is only chipping away at the edges by temporarily restricting flights from some countries and tightening up borders a bit. Reports of weak border/customs/DHS screenings do not inspire confidence.


All of this also demonstrates how unprepared for pandemics and germ warfare we are. Blaming Trump, Obama, Bush, Brown, Newsom, Pelosi, Cuomo, etc., are only part of the problem. They all inherited bad systems and took only some reactive measures. Much broader knowledge and societal awareness and consensus are required for the longer term, beyond the COVID challenge and approach. There is a clear constitutional division between federal and state responsibilities for dealing with something like this. The federal govt. is responsible for such things as interstate/international commerce/transportation, currency, defense, border control, treaties, etc. Technically, states are responsible for emergency preparation, medical stuff etc., although some say that a foreign virus of this scale is more akin to a war, which is federal territory.  The federal govt. has an implied responsibility to coordinate interstate efforts. Organizations like FEMA and CDC are attempts to share resources and coordinate activity which is actually the responsibility of the states. I’m sure I’ll get lots of argument on this point- so have at it.


How long should measures be in place?


Things like hand-washing, social distancing and even masks, have likely been the cost-effective measures to date and may continue beyond the current pandemic emergency. Even before COVID-19, there were dangerous diseases and some people followed these practices, to varying degrees. Few are now laughing at so-called “germophobic” people.


Mass transit and crowded public places pose the greatest risk, yet for the most part, they haven’t been closed and are likely the greatest risks. It is likely that New York City is the worst infection hot spot for this reason and for its overall population/crowd density, along with high diversity and foreign travel.


Stores, churches and some other public gathering places have instituted stronger social distancing and sanitation procedures to reduce potential disease transmission, as determined and recommended by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Some of these might stay in place or be refined to minimize economic impact. Such things as grocery store line spacing, transparent cashier shields, restaurant seating arrangements, church and theater seating might be extended/changed in the future. Fist and elbow bumps, or even salutes, may replace handshakes and hugs. Mail order will continue to gain on “brick and mortar” stores. On line seminars/distance learning will continue to gain on live sessions. This was already happening because it is often more cost-effective.


Many believe that the  closures and restrictions have been overdone., not only unnecessarily reducing constitutional/natural rights, but catastrophically throttling our economy.


Is it truly necessary to cite and even arrest: lone surfers, paddleboarders, boaters, drive in church service attendees.? Is it truly necessary to prevent a father from buying crayons at an open Target store or a housewife from buying light bulbs at a dollar store? Is it truly necessary to close all beaches and parks in many jurisdictions, when social distancing can easily be achieved in most? Is it truly necessary to ban boating and fishing?

Most Ventura County beaches are uncrowded year-round, making closure seem unnecessary.


Why are pot shops, liquor stores and abortion mills more “essential” than churches? What are the criteria for determining what is “essential?” Which is more important, restricting “non-essential” sales or promoting safety?


It is absurd to ban sales of some items in stores which are already open. The lame excuses that it keeps people in stores longer and that “it isn’t fair” (I’m not making this up) for some store to be selling items when others are closed is vastly outweighed by rational logic. The COVID-19 virus isn’t “fair.” The Chinese withholding vital information about it isn’t “fair.” Closures and restrictions aren’t “fair.” Withholding needed and wanted good s from consumers and catastrophically throttling the economy isn’t “fair.” This is not about fairness, it is about survival of our people and economy and the appropriate wisdom and balance to do so. If CDC guidelines actually work, what is wrong with businesses open if the guidelines are adhered to?


Downstream Downside of Closures


The closures have possibly shut down half of the economy. The impact on wages, business income, savings and commerce is enormous. Academia and live entertainment and a host of other industries have also been shut down.


One thing not much in public view now is the catastrophic destruction of supply chains and potentials serious future food shortages, even after some or all restrictions are lifted. The link below about Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and food supply chains is frightening. Read/watch it to get a better understanding.

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/15/ag-secretary-sonny-perdue-discusses-challenges-shifting-food-supply-chains/


Hiccups in demand are causing food to spoil or be destroyed. Food is often in the wrong form vs. demand, now that 55% of food demand (eating outside the home in restaurants/institutions) has taken a huge dive and food for home demand has skyrocketed. Some crops won’t be planted or harvested. Farmers, processors, distributors may go broke, even with stimulus money. Processors/factories/distributors are not geared up for the demand shift. Some supplies could be exhausted in a couple of months.


Energy demand has cratered, with demand and prices at historic lows, actually below production costs. This could result in major industry disruption and downstream impact on energy consumers. Greenies may rejoice at this, but need to think of the economic impact and effect on things they have likely not even thought about.


Airlines, shippers, entertainment, restaurants, newspapers, are all taking epic financial hits. Some will never recover, even with stimulus money. Every month the lockdown continues makes it tremendously worse.

 

The CA Gov. Gavin Newsom Reopening Plan

CS Governor Newsom’s plan makes sense to some, but it sets an extremely high bar for re-opening, which could keep the state closed for a very long time, catastrophically and likely unnecessarily.

An Open Letter on Governor Newsom’s Six Point Recovery Plan


Testing, Treatments and Vaccines


No plan to completely end the emergency would be complete without addressing testing, treatments and vaccines,


We may be a year or two away from deploying a new vaccine. Or not. There are also some existing vaccines and medicines that may work on COVID-19. Time, experience and trials will tell.


Some have been using a malaria drug combination they claim has worked well, although it hasn’t been exhaustively and comprehensively tested yet.


After decades, there is still no HIV vaccine, yet the danger has been at least somewhat curbed by preventive measure and treatments. It may be so with COVID-19 as well.


Conclusion


COVID-19 has been a significant challenge to our nation and much of the world, which are mostly not ready to deal with it effectively. While not as bad as the black plague, it presents a serious damage to a small percentage of people, especially to seniors and those with other medical problems.


The virus impact on the US, even before considering mitigation attempts, was over-estimated  and some subsequent official reactions might have been overkill (no pun intended). A relatively free society like the US could not/would not place the same draconian reactions as say, China, Korea or Taiwan could and did. President Trump’s initial steps were labeled “racist”and “xenophobic” when they were just commonsense.


The most effective preventive measures should continue. Those which are not really effective should be dropped and other mitigation measures which do not damage the economy so much should be adopted as quickly as possible.


Approaches such as the CA Gavin Newsom re-opening are unrealistic, fatally flawed and will result in major damage to the economy. Testing and treatments should be phased in as quickly and safely as possible, but cannot be prerequisites for  any reopening of business/society. If so, the cure will surely be worse than the disease.

 


Editor’s Note: This is an opinion article.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


George Miller is Publisher/Co-Founder of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard.


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Steven Gama
Steven Gama
6 months ago

There are always unintended consequences to the best intentions. Universal precautions is the means to control and defeat this virus, but, sadly, the public often times is very difficult to get to comply with common sense. Simply stated, Universal Precaution means to treat everything, yourself and everything as if it is infected. That means wearing protective barriers, but, also, more importantly, always washing your hands with soap and water every time there is contact with someone or something before you touch your nose mouth or eyes! The biggest mistake in all this is prevent access to health care. Dentist and many other medical professionals have long practiced universal precautions!
My personal story: After several appointments and consultations with my team of Oncologists. I was convinced to start a 7 week course of radiation as a preventative move. I was to start early March, but, because of Covid 19 it has been delayed. So my preventative treatment, which was designed to eliminate the remote chance of the return of my cancer has to wait! Let me remind you that we cancer patients are very well aware of the importance of Universal Precautions! We know that we can’t afford to catch a cold while enduring Chemo, yet, now that I am trying to stay in remission, I have to wait! Meanwhile every Oncologist I know of practices universal precautions! How many people have developed an emergency because they were denied access to preventative healthcare! Yes there will be a lot to unpack! In the meantime, practice Universal Precautions!

mikedunn199
6 months ago

Suggest you short the spy after the re election of Trump.
That’s how Joe Kennedy made his millions. Your right but its like pushing water uphill. Eventually our arms get tired.

BTW, looks like we gave the Wuhan Lab a $3.7 million dollar grant in 2015 so the Chinese could sequence the Covid 19 virus genome. The source is the June 25, 2015 minutes of the national inst of health.

Cassandra Barbato
Cassandra Barbato
6 months ago

Thank you. Well said!

Michael Lee Greer
Michael Lee Greer
6 months ago

I couldn’t agree more.

William Hicks
William Hicks
6 months ago

Power hungry governor’s, flexing their executive order muscle’s, will only create a more powerful nanny-state where no one will have any rights without the explicit approval of government. Instead of a vibrant economy where free enterprise reigns, we will, out of need, be totally dependent upon government for our own lives.

How much different will the United States be from the chinese communist party when that happens?