Sunday, April 19, 2020

It's time to re-open the economy

Nobody is talking about the justification the government used shut down the economy: the health care system will collapse unless we "flatten the curve".  It wasn't "people will die unless we do this" - people will die no matter what.  Instead, it was to protect the health care system from collapse.

Well, mission accomplished:

The curve is flattening all over the world.  It's at or approaching the top of the bell curve, and will be dropping soon.  We see the same thing in the US:

Even New York which has kept its Petri Dish subway system open if flattening.  I guess the reason you close restaurants but keep the subway open is that Public Transit has been sprinkled with magic government dust.

Curve, flattened.

Note that we don't know what flattened the curve.  The models that projected disaster are full of crap* and so this might just be the normal course of the disease.  Note that we don't know exactly how many people really dies from this disease because of sloppy record keeping.  There are tons of co-morbidities and a death often gets chalked up to the virus when the patient was on Death's Door anyway.  The data is not great, and you don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to wonder if the Powers That Be at CDC are shifting into ass covering mode and fiddling the data.  It wouldn't be the first time that data got "adjusted" to suit political purposes.

At the end of the day, what will protect sick people from this virus is herd immunity.  We don't even know how many people have had this and recovered, because the CDC screwed up the test kits and we aren't systematically testing the population.  However, it looks like the number of recovered is much, much higher than predicted (remember - the models are crap).  The key metric now has shifted from Hospital Bed Usage to Percent Recovered.

So it's time to declare victory.  We can't increase the number of recovered fast if everyone is under house arrest.

And quite frankly, enough damage has been done to the people of this country.  80% of restaurant owners polled are unsure if they will survive until things return to normal.  23M people are out of work, just in this country.  Enough.

But we're not done.  We're seeing that the fascist instinct is alive and well at all levels of government.  I won't bother with exhaustive links, but people getting tickets when they are in their cars in their church parking lot, Chicago closing hair salons except for the Mayor, and New Jersey claiming that political protests are illegal are just a few examples.  The government has gotten a taste of power, and likes it.


I don't often disagree with Aesop, but he's entirely wrong in his latest post.  The curve has flattened.  Sure, reopening might lead to a spike but that's just conjecture.  Certainly any models showing this are suspect, based on the crummy track record of previous model projections.  And we don't know how many of the deaths would have happened anyway without the virus, but it sure isn't zero.

Lastly, I have to call Godwin.  Those of us who are saying we have to reopen the economy aren't the brown shirts.  On the contrary, Aesop can drive out to San Clemente to look at the sand filled skate park.  There's your fascist, right in your own back yard.

It's not Wall Street that's hurting, it's the small businesses which are the core of the country.  These are our neighbors.  Their dreams are being crushed.  The government said it had to be done to protect the health care system from collapse.

Well, mission accomplished.


Ominous Cowherd said...

Shutting things down for a few weeks while we tried to gather data and tried to recover from the malfeasance of the FDA and CDC, using those few weeks to set up hospices for chinkypox victims to keep them out of the regular healthcare system, that all made great sense. Shutting things down for a few weeks gave us time to find out about and start using the Trump Cure, which means the chinkypox victims in the hospitals are almost all going to recover quickly without needing intensive care.

It's been a few weeks. We have better data, although the CDC and FDA are trying to obscure it. We're finally starting to test widely, in spite of the CDC's and FDA's best efforts. Some states at least have set up those hospices. We have a cure. The brief shutdown did it's work. The time for the shutdown is OVER.

Shutting things down indefinitely never made sense.

Pachydermis2 said...

Two of my kids have been able to work remotely through all of this. The third is heading back to work tomorrow. I see a lot of vehicles in the parking lots of places that actually make things (essential is of course debatable). Perhaps more than the usual "essential maintenance" has been going on.

I feel badly for restaurants and of course here in WI, taverns. Some will not reopen with the current ownership. But that business has always had so much turnover....most will reopen in some other format.

Some sectors of the economy will take big and lasting hits. A few areas had the hit coming soon anyway....much as I regret the passing of small town newspapers the typeset was on the wall already.

But think of the opportunities around the corner. Bringing as much manufacturing home to America as possible. Start making generic pharmaceuticals again. And the new enhanced manufacturing tech is going to make our previous practice of sending scrap metal by the shipload to China and getting back shiploads of minimally more useful products make from junky metal seem ridiculous.

Which it was.


Angus McThag said...

The longer you read Aesop the more you're going to disagree with him.

You'll hit a critical mass and suddenly he's not worth reading any more.

For a long time I thought it was just my personal tastes, but I've found a more people describing the same things about him that turned me away.

By mentioning it, I might save you from it by making him self aware of it...

When you call him wrong and he reads your site, he'll comment in an abusive manner. *HE* is not wrong, you are simply too stupid to recognize his genius and how right he is.

Now he won't comment here that way just to prove me wrong!

Beans said...

As to the curve, short of NYC, even Seattle and Miami flattened their curve after 14-15 days.

Letting it hang another 14-15 days to make sure? Um, okay. But this flu? Really, if you are not within certain parameters you are most likely going to be fine. Like that homeless shelter that had 50% infection rate with 0% symptomatic. In a homeless shelter. Meaning people on the edge already, with a host of problems from malnutrition to outright raging diseases, and not one active case. Hmmmm.... Hmmmmmmmmm....

End of April, if we don't open the economy, the people will revolt. It's already happening. Formerly open roads in Los Angeles are filling with drivers. Everywhere people are starting up on their own as the promised walls of dead are not appearing.

Even in New York City, it took outright lies and fakery to show a crisis. Using video from Italy.

Time. Past time to open up.

Let the people who need to self-isolate self-isolate. Like my lovely wife, she needs to self-isolate, and I need to take precautions when I go out and come back to not bring anything to her. Like EVERY OTHER FLU SEASON SINCE WE'VE BEEN MARRIED. Common Sense is a powerful tool. Allow people to use it.

As to the Anti-Socrates blogger, Angus said it. I've called the Anti-Socrates on it, here and on other blogs including his own, and his response has always been, "Nuh-uh, I didn't say that." (Referring to him saying initially that the Wuhan Woo-hoos wasn't bad at all, just a seasonal flu, and then going all screaming and waving hands in air.) He's like a medical Alex Jones. He makes sense, in the beginning, but after a while you start seeing the crazy.

SiGraybeard said...

At the end of the day, what will protect sick people from this virus is herd immunity.

Which may never happen if some people are right. If people don't develop immunity as Dr. Poland thinks is happening, there will never be a vaccine and there can never be herd immunity to this virus.

As it is, people are trying to balance the costs of the shutdown vs. opening back up with zero data on the costs of keeping people out of work. A cost/benefit analysis can't be done when only one benefit, the number of people who die of the disease, is being talked about.

Ominous Cowherd said...

Aesop is often right, on topics he knows about. He's occasionally right on other stuff. He's weak on big picture stuff. He can't admit mistakes. He's typical midwit; smart enough to fool himself, not smart enough not to.

Old NFO said...

Concur, time to get on with life/business.

Rick C said...

I saw this linked on FB today:

"The risk here is that we’re entering a culinary dark age (one imagines monks recording slider recipes for posterity). And again, it really is difficult to understate just how on fire the restaurant industry is right now. One estimate suggests that 75 percent of independently owned eateries closed because of the coronavirus will shut down for good. The NRA, meanwhile, projects that job losses at restaurants and bars this month will number in the millions, something never before seen in the postwar era."

Ken said...

I've been worried about the folks Rick C mentioned since this broke (those folks and the folks making a living working at our ballyards). I have no policy prescription other than to support the survivors with my dollars as often as customary prudence allows.

Ed Bonderenka said...

As I posted yesterday, we are not saving the health care system, we are killing it.
Hospitals are closing.

Lawrence Person said...

I made much the same argument for Texas here.

Aaron said...

You're exactly right it is time to get things opened again.

There's no reason why we can't open up smartly while isolating the small population that's at actual risk.

Small businesses are starting to circle down the drain with no activity to keep them in business.

The government overacted to this and the curve has flattened out - if it was ever truly on the trajectory of the doom models to begin with, and given how they've been reduced by over 80x from their projection highs that's rather doubtful.

Ritchie said...

Prudently cracking the tap seems to be the way forward. Being a Phase Two Target myself, I can hold some coats for a while.

Anonymous said...

Aesop is losing it. He has no empirical evidence to support his theories, and he's now officially (again) banned all those who disagree with him.
That doesn't appear to me to be a site where rational discourse is welcomed.

I've asked questions on his site for weeks, just trying to find answers. All I get are condescending replies at best, snarky derision at worst. I used to go to his site for informed commentary on what was going on but now realize he has no interest in seeking the truth.
He probably works for the CDC.

Glen Filthie said...

Aesop is a performance artist. Some people confuse snark with wit. Snark is actually a form of savant retardation where certain people can hide their dull minds behind a sharp tongue. He plays well to neurotic geriatrics and stupid people. He gets views and clicks, perhaps that matters more to him than being right?


Point of order, Borepatch. The curve is NOT being flattened. There are two vectors in pandemics: the morbidity or lethality rate, and the transmission rate, both of which can vary if the strain mutates. In this case both values were blown by orders of magnitude. Further, if the original models were accurate, the disease would be raging through exposed populations at the same rate it would go through the rest of the population. If this were a REAL epidemic... nobody would be getting huffy about the Constitution, and our health care workers would be coming down with it in droves despite precautions. You would not go out shopping or social distancing. Everyone would know somebody that died from it, and everyone would know somebody that was coping with it. Half assed, make-believe lockdowns won’t flatten epidemic graphs. Nor will masks.

What happened here is that legions of stupid people noticed that common the flu is actually lethal sometimes. The source scared the chit out of everyone and that’s fair... but now we know more and it is time to act like rational adults.

TechieDude said...

Aesop's right about a lot of things. The qualifier here though is "If". If Ebola hit these shores, it would've been a goat rodeo. If/when a hospital system gets hammered with KungFlu cases, all hell breaks loose. But there are way too many variables here.

Not every state reacts the same. Some have handled things better than others. Here in DFW, I was seeing signs on my Doctor's doors in early February to turn your happy ass around and call them if you have these conditions. He also can't predict incompetence. For instance, why is the hospital ship empty? Why is the Javits center empty? Why aren't they running pandemic buses to the center? Incompetence. And probably money.

His problem, as some on his site have, is math. The math is simply too complicated here.

Fact of the matter is:
1. Not everyone will be exposed.
2. Of those exposed, a large number won't be infected
3. Of those infected, 80% or so will none or mild symptoms
4. The 20% left will have varying degrees of misery
5. A small percentage will die. How you calculate that depends on #1-3.

We simply don't have the data and probably won't get it and there are too many variables.

But a simple observation here is that they flattened the curve, but the ends of the curve are extended (That double bell curve graph is all over the interweb). I think if you added all the points on each curve and compared them, you'd find that you really didn't save anyone. There's an inflection point where if the flattened curve is way lower, less would have died. We won't know that though. I think all they did is spread the misery over a longer period of time.

Soon enough though, the lawyers will start feasting. Those where granny died and the fambly didn't feel she had enough care (see the DFW Ebola dude) or the businesses that are cratered sue.

Ken said...

Per TechieDude above, I'm sure there are a bunch of ambulance chasers prepared to pounce at the first post-reopening cases.

WOZ said...

If the shutdown was to ease the burden on hospitals, why are hospitals laying off staff and cutting benefits? A hospital in Shelby County AL, Brookwood, has notified employees that management will not match funds to the employee's 401K.

McChuck said...

Hospitals are shutting down because:
1) Not everywhere is NYfC.
B) The enormous number of (mostly) women who go to see their doctor for every little sniffle and bruise, aren't.
III) The enormous numbers of illegals, bums, and morons who go the emergency room for sniffles and bruises, aren't.
Fourthly) Hospitals are turning people away to save capacity for the rush of pandemic victims, that aren't.

Will said...

It's not just hospitals that are in trouble. My B-I-L has two clinics, and they have laid off 70% of the staff. I suspect they may close the doors, if things don't change soon.