Fear is contagious: Fear is more contagious than any virus could ever be, and the media has really fed the fear factor when it comes to the coronavirus. __ William Murray
Democratic Governors of California and New York Push Panic Button
The governors of both California and New York have ordered the people of their states to stay home except to buy food and medical supplies. Stock markets were predictably not happy about the intentional shutting down of most commercial activity in two of the wealthiest US states. And what comes next after the “shelter in place” order? This kind of power can go to a governor’s head.
The former Mayor of San Francisco, and now California Governor, Gavin Newsom, has ordered all residents to stay at home until further notice. According to Newsom, “We need to bend the curve in the state of California.”
Perhaps these solutions have merit. But they’re disastrous for the economy. Cash flows are running dry. Credit markets are freezing up. People are losing their jobs. Full mobilization is needed, we’re told, in the war on coronavirus.
… As far as we can tell, the coronavirus has attracted prophets of all stripes like bees to a honey pot. Mass coronavirus hysteria has led to public and pretend prophetic histrionics.
According to Bill Ackman, “hell is coming.”
Maybe so. Or maybe the mass panic has been slightly overblown. By this, is the panic worse than the virus? Who knows? __ Panic Worse Than Virus
Panic buying has been going on in stores across the US for weeks, as has panic selling in the markets. But the kind of all-out shutdown of commercial, personal, professional, and school activities that we are seeing in the Democratic Party bastions of California and New York is a type of “panic governing” that Americans are unaccustomed to. Because of a contagious respiratory virus of unknown but limited risk, governors who are supposed to have the best interests of their constituents uppermost in their minds are instead “snapping the whips of panic” without any concept of the consequences — and without a well-considered rationale for their actions.
Death Rate Uncertain — Wildly Varies by Country
So why is the death rate in Germany so low, and why is it falling in the U.S., exactly? The answer is simple arithmetic. If only people who are hospitalized or very sick get tested, then the denominator – the number of COVID-19 cases – will be biased downward. Those with milder symptoms or no symptoms will not be counted, and the virus will appear more deadly than it really is.
For a clear explanation of the illusions created by incomplete data, and the clarity provided by an accurate denominator, see this from OurWorldinData. __ https://www.aier.org/article/the-us-coronavirus-death-rate-is-falling-and-germanys-more-so/
Germany: Many Infections; Few Deaths
Germany has experienced a rise in new infections, but its case fatality rate has been low compared with other sites of disease outbreak. Germany has plenty of old, vulnerable people. And Germany’s young have been flocking to the parks, not staying home. All the data suggest that the young are at much lower risk, so logically it makes sense not to sequestrate the young — as long as the sick and the elderly are isolated from public exposure.
How Much Worse than Severe Flu is Wuhan Coronavirus?
In Wuhan, Lombardy, and Iran, the Wuhan virus overwhelmed medical systems and cut a swath of death through populations. While influenza kills more people, this novel coronavirus is frightening for its speed of spread and the way it has decimated health care personnel. Because people can spread the virus early in the infection — before symptoms are noticeable — the infectious agent incorporates an element of stealth that is unsettling. And in certain places the mortality can be over 20X greater in symptomatic patients than for seasonal flu. For all these reasons, we experience a fearful emotional reaction that sees no limit to the catastrophe. We feel the primal instinct to panic.
But besides being prone to emotional overreaction, we also have the facility of thought and logic.
While the health care system must prepare for the worst case, there is a reasonable scenario for a better outcome — that deaths won’t be much worse than a severe flu and that the corner can be turned within the two months it took in Hubei. Let us hope — and act. __https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/488494-estimating-coronaviruss-us-toll?
On the other hand, there is always the panic button if one gets tired of logical thinking.
Panic, damn you!
And if you don’t want to panic, you don’t have to.
… if you go into a grocery store right now and don’t see what you want, that doesn’t mean that what you want isn’t out there somewhere.
People aren’t eating more food. They’re just eating it at home. Empty shelves mean there’s a bottleneck, not a shortage. Food that had been destined for restaurants, bars, offices and other gathering places will need to go to homes instead, and the system will have to account for the increased volume of groceries Americans cooking at home are suddenly buying.
But the supply chain is built for some disruption, and there’s cushioning for it. Our food system can deal with the current demand; it just has to relearn how to distribute the supply.
As long as farmers can keep farming, truckers can keep driving, packaging can be made and supplied and grocery stores can stay open, the empty shelves should be just a temporary inconvenience. __ https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/business/panic-buying-how-stores-restock-coronavirus/index.html
I have heard about miscreants that are being intentionally careless about virus precautions — as if they are intentionally trying to spread the virus around. That makes it doubly important for everyone else to take greater care about washing hands, guarding coughs and sneezes, keeping hands in pockets when not in use, and thinking of polite reasons not to shake hands.