We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The article argues that the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. so therefore covid-19 ain't so bad.
0.125% of the U.S. population is 412,500 people. My gut tells me that if 412,500 Americans die from this virus that we will be shooting politicians in the streets. I might also point out that this was a really weak argument trying to convince us that this might not be so bad.
To the point about making decision with insufficient data. Welcome to real life. What we know about this virus is that everything that was actually in place two weeks ago came true today. Two weeks ago Northern Italy was saying "this isn't so bad, go hug a Chinaman". Today they say, well the ones still alive say, "damn this was a hell of a lot worse than we knew, wish I hadn't hugged that Chinese guy holding that sign".
Italy's healthcare system is in a state of almost total collapse. As of today, 31,506 people in Italy have been infected with the coronavirus; of which 2,503 people have died.
. . . No other Western country has been so severely affected by the pandemic as Italy. Why?
First, Italy has an aging population. The median age of Italians is 47.3 years; one in four Italians is over 65. In addition, the country's birth rate is extremely low: 1.29 children per woman. Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Italy was a dying country. Sadly, the virus has accelerated the process.
Second, the authorities and medical personnel apparently underestimated the danger. Although the Italian government had suspended flights for days from China and Hong Kong from January 31, Italian doctors were saying that the illness was just a "bad flu". On March 9, an epidemiologist, Silvia Stringhini, wrote: "The media are reassuring, the politicians are reassuring, while there's little to be reassured of".
Third, the Italian health system is in appallingly bad condition.
. . .Government-run healthcare always ends up being about the government trying to cut its costs rather than to help its citizens.
. . . Italy today is evidently home to a large Chinese community (more than 300,000), made up of people who arrived in the past two decades and who work in the textile and leather sector. Many of the Chinese living in Italy are from Wuhan and Wenzhou, and some had just been in Wuhan and Wenzhou for the Chinese New Year on January 25, when the Chinese authorities could not hide the epidemic any longer. These Chinese had returned to Italy from China before the Italian government suspended flights from there. The epidemic emerged in Lombardy; Bergamo, one of the capitals of the Italian textile industry, was one of the first cities affected.
. . . The Italian government was hoping for help from the European Union, but neither the other member states nor the European Union itself has given any at all.
IF on top of IF on top of IF on top of IF... Does seem we're being a tad extreme for unknown/unknowable scenario. Suggest a read of Holman Jenkins' piece in this morning's Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/questioning-the-clampdown-11584485339
Mr. Jenkins seems to be in favor of the Russian roulette approach to dealing with covid19. Just let it happen and see if it gets really bad or we luck out. I think that a lot of people either still don't think it will affect them OR they are going to lose money from the efforts to stop the virus and the money means more to them than the risk. Everyone has an opinion and all of those opinions are proceeded by an "if". It is true that we don't know how bad it will get even if we do everything we can to slow it and prevent it. And because of this some would choose to gamble. Might I suggest a vacation to Northern Italy or maybe even a two week cruise to China...
So far, Trump seems very level headed and to have erred on the side of doing too little and not too much -- except to shut down some international flights, which is both obvious and a good idea.
The media, of course, will criticize anything Trump does just because he did it. Smearing him is more important to them than saving lives.
I'm old enough to be high-risk, but am more worried about stupid things various governments may do than about the virus. Some cities and states are shutting down small businesses without subsidizing their owners, or stopping alcohol or gun sales just because they have an excuse. Just as after 9/11, politicians can and will use the "emergency" as a way to foist ever more repression on us and see if we'll sit still for it. In my view we've already gone well past the point where the answer ought to be no, and yes I mean we should re-learn the use of tar and feathers.
In other words the pretend-emergency can easily become a real emergency caused by government. The preppers have always been right, and declarations of emergency, just like war, are the health of the state.
Unless the death toll starts to rise as rapidly as it did in Wuhan, the only thing I'd have government do that Trump has not already done is to rush approval of any cure, vaccine, or treatment that somebody offers, at least for the gravely ill. What do they have to lose by trying it?