This article in the Daily Mail in Britain is contrarian and provocative and interesting.
I’m not sure I agree with Mr. Hitchens, but I agree with part of his sentiment: there is, without a doubt, a portion of public policy that is over-reaction. It is almost inevitable, just as it was after 9/11. The dynamic is inescapable: nobody ever got re-elected by declaring that things are moderately bad but not disastrous and we should all stay cool and calm and take some reasonable measures but not get carried away. No, no– much better to say, “Extreme Situations call for Extreme Measures!”. Let’s make it an acronym we can glibly roll off our tongues: ESCEM. Do you want to be responsible for any deaths that are the result of your lax prescriptions? I see. Then you will vote for my Patriot Act or my FISA courts or quarantine in place or whatever. You will consent to torture and arbitrary imprisonment. You will not vote me out of office because I continue to enable $300 million a year expenditures on a prison in Guantanamo that holds 34 prisoners without warrant or trial or habeas corpus.
This is something Mr. Trump has learned, as you can diagram from his earlier comments to his more recent dire warnings. Yes, they did some polling, and they found out that most voters want the government to be worried. Conventional political wisdom is that they will forgive over-reaction, but never indifference.
Someone on the news the other day said that governments can’t really go wrong in over-reacting. You mean, like Iraq? HUAC? Viet Nam?
One thing that is verifiable: the number of deaths attributed to Covid-19 includes a substantial number of people with other life-threatening conditions. So we have a phenomenon that should not be unknown to critics of #metoo. If an individual has emotional or psychological problems and anxiety and depression and was not sexually abused, then their dysfunction is caused by emotional or psychological problems and anxiety and depression. But if they have emotional or psychological problems and anxiety and depression and were ever sexually abused, then their dysfunction is always caused by sexual abuse. There is no other cause.
Obviously, this can’t be true, but it is widely and deeply believed.
In the same way, a certain portion — perhaps a large portion– of any deaths of any individual with Covid-19 will be attributed to Covid-19 even if the patient, as is likely, had other serious health conditions. To this day, the number of deaths attributed to SARS includes elderly victims who were already near death and likely to have died soon anyway.
If I am right you are in for a mild surprise: the number of cases will diminish before you expect them too, and the number of deaths will not meet the most dire forecasts. There are a lot of idiots saying this but not everything an idiot says is untrue.
The Covid-19 pandemic can only be prevented from resurging when at least half the world’s population has become immune to the new virus. And that can happen in only one of two ways: After enough people have been infected and have recovered, or have been inoculated with a vaccine. N.Y.Times