Now we are truly ‘all in it together’

At least they aren’t calling it the gay plague, the way they did with AIDS, or God forbid the paedo plague – they blame us kind folk for everything else, though, so why not the corona virus disease (Covid-19) first identified last December in China?
But stigmatisation of some sort follows closely on the heels of every pathogen, as was observed recently in the authoritative New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). At first the finger was pointed, quite rightly, at Chinese “wet markets”, but this quickly morphed online into generalised anti-Asian racism. Within the last week, though, the demonization has moved closer to home: escaping into the open countryside to enjoy the fresh Spring air and sunshine is suddenly seen as selfish and anti-social. How weird is that?
Not so weird as to be completely irrational, apparently. The logic of ordering us all to stay at home is questionable but this is not a time for mutiny. That is because in this crisis we really are “all in it together”: we are affected not just as kinds, or MAPs, but simply as people. This thing is menacing everyone. It is time remind ourselves that although we at Heretic TOC are an awkward bunch of political heretics and sexual “deviants”, we are first and foremost humans; we need to make common cause with our fellows and acquit ourselves well.

Just to keep things in perspective: latest official statistics (ONS) weekly deaths data (to w/e 13 March) shows death numbers remain a bit lower than usual so far this year. In the year to date there have been 4% fewer deaths than the five-year average, as was pointed out in a recent tweet by a certain Stuart McDonald. It is presumably more than coincidental that there is a leading actuary of this name at Lloyds Banking Group.

So I will be doing my best to stick to the tough new rules for at least as long as I can be persuaded they are roughly in line with the best medical and scientific advice available to government. For Heretic TOC readers in the US, of course, that emphatically will not mean taking President Trump’s word for anything. In the UK, too, the prime minister may be blown off course by political winds. For the moment, though, to be blunt about it, this a time for obeying orders.
As the PM’s broadcast to the nation in the UK this week made clear, that means staying at home for everything except shopping for food and other basic needs, taking very limited exercise close to home, and working away from home only for those in “essential” occupations. These tough restrictions appear to have been imposed reluctantly by Boris Johnson who, we are told, is by instinct a social liberal rather than an authoritarian. All the more reassuring, then, that if even he feels draconian measures are required then there is good reason to believe they are necessary.
That said, this blog does not carry the responsibility that governments must take for their emergency laws and guidance advice. It is no part of the new rules nor of HTOC’s stated mission that this blog must stay “on message”. On the contrary, in common with the media at large, it could almost be said we have a duty to keep our critical faculties alert and challenge government policy if it doesn’t seem to make sense. A couple of commentators at HTOC have already begun to express unease over the opportunity the crisis presents for the illegitimate extension of state control in our lives. I am not going to focus on this danger but neither will I make light of it. Instead I will just urge everyone here, even if you visit none of my other links today, to read Anne Appelbaum’s chillingly informative article in The Atlantic on how a number of governments in Europe and elsewhere are already abusing the situation big-time.
While sexual ethics and behaviour might seem less important right now than hand-washing and social distancing, they do point to a serious shortcoming in any public health strategy that relies on stopping people doing what they really, really want to do, for months on end, or longer. As the NEJM article linked above notes, “Syphilis, one of the great scourges of the early 20th century, could have been ended, in theory, had everyone adhered to a strict regimen of abstinence or monogamy. But as one U.S. Army medical officer complained in 1943, ‘The sex act cannot be made unpopular.’” Likewise, even AIDS failed to eliminate risky unprotected sexual behaviour; it took the advent of antiretroviral therapy to stop that pandemic in its tracks. Getting out and chatting in bars and restaurants, taking part in sport or gathering in huge stadiums to watch it, going to clubs and concerts and a myriad other social activities are all acts which, just like sex “cannot be made unpopular”. Socialising, and simply getting outdoors, are human needs that cannot be suppressed for long.
And you know what, despite Donald Trump being wrong most of the time, he actually had a point this week when he said the cure could be worse than the disease when it comes to shutting down the economy to enforce social isolation. Sure, he only made that claim out of naked self-interest based on “it’s the economy, stupid”. He had been pinning his re-election hopes on a roaring stock market bull run, strong economic growth and full employment, all of which are now well down the toilet, especially on the vital jobs front, with over three million laid off in the US in a single week.
Trump was talking out of his ass and lying through his teeth, as usual, but his “thinking” is in line with the findings of a new study by Philip Thomas, professor of risk management at Bristol University.
If the coronavirus lockdown leads to a fall in GDP of more than 6.4% more years of life will be lost due to recession than will be gained through beating the virus, the study suggests. As reported in The Times, Thomas tells us that keeping the economy going in the next year will be crucial, otherwise the measures would “do more harm than good”. His own full report is all equations, graphs and figures, but the nature of the connection between recession and mortality was spelt out elsewhere in an IMF research paper, The Human Cost of Recessions, that appeared in 2010, after the Great Recession of 2007–09. This showed that in the short run layoffs are associated with higher risk of heart attacks and other stress-related illnesses. Anxiety, depression and an elevated suicide rate form the psychological background to this bleak picture. Even in the long term, the mortality rate of laid-off workers stays at a raised level and can persist for decades. What’s worse, the suffering is passed down to the next generation: children are hurt:

… children of laid-off parents also suffer: in the short-run, parental job loss tends to reduce the schooling achievement of their children….parental job loss increases the probability that a child repeats a grade in school by nearly 15 percent… In the long-run, a father’s income loss also reduces the earnings prospects of his sons… children whose fathers were displaced have annual earnings about 9% lower than similar children whose fathers did not experience an employment shock.

What we do not yet have figures for is the human cost of cooping people up in their homes. But we know what is bound to happen. We know that modern family life typically lacks the social support available to the extended families of old. The less well off, especially, confined to cramped houses and flats without even a decent garden for the kids to run about in, are at high risk of getting on each other’s nerves. Violent domestic abuse is rife even in the best of times and is bound to be a sharply ramped up danger when parents can no longer go out to work and their offspring cannot go to school either. This is a nuclear family under immense pressure, primed for explosion.
Bearing in mind the immense social costs of bringing the economy and ordinary life to a juddering halt  – to say nothing of the trillions of dollars needed to support all those who have been suddenly deprived of a livelihood in the lockdown countries – we really do need to question whether the whole strategy is truly necessary. The Netherlands doesn’t think so. Neither does Sweden. The UK, too, initially appeared to favour – on scientific advice – a policy of keeping ordinary life going for as long as possible consistent with keeping hospital cases down to a level that would not overwhelm health services and incur excessive danger to medical staffs. Making the call as to how long a lockdown could be reasonably avoided was always going to be a very sophisticated and difficult one, drawing on epidemiological models that inevitably include dubious assumptions – it could hardly be otherwise given the unknown properties of  the novel virus causing Covid-19, known as SARS-CoV-2.
But it was arguably an increasingly well established property of SARS-CoV-2 that must have been giving policy makers the biggest headache – a property with a moral dimension and huge political ramifications. I mean, of course, the fact that fatalities are almost entirely confined to those who already have very serious health problems, especially those who are very old and who even in normal times would not be expected to live much longer.

Statistics guru David Spiegelhalter tells us COVID-19 very roughly contributes a year’s worth of risk of dying. Every year around 600,000 people die in the UK. It has been estimated that if the virus went completely unchallenged, around 80% of people would be infected and there would be around 510,000 deaths. So getting COVID-19 is like packing a year’s worth of risk into a week or two. Which is why it is important to spread out the infections to avoid the NHS being overwhelmed. The graph compares Covid-19 mortality and ‘normal’ annual mortality. It shows the dramatic increase with age, and the small excess risk from Covid-19 for people in their 60s and 70s.

The unspeakable elephant in the room here is whether wrecking the economy at astronomic financial and devastating social cost is a good idea just to secure a bit of extra time on earth for clapped out old codgers, many of whom are bound to be rotting away miserably in old folks homes wishing they were dead anyway. Admittedly this is a sentiment a callous young neo-Nazi might heartily endorse but I speak as an old codger myself – no “underlying conditions” as yet, but I am in my mid-seventies, hence in the officially “vulnerable” age range. I value my own life, but I also feel it is reasonable to balance my hopes and expectations for my (probably quite short) future against the disasters that lockdown could bring, as we have seen.
This balancing act is no different, really, from the kind of utilitarian calculation being made every day by health service agencies such as Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE routinely provides evidence-based evaluations of cost effectiveness in relation to drugs being considered for use by the NHS. Often it has to take the not-at-all-nice but very necessary view that a life-saving drug is simply too expensive. Some patients will die as a result of the NHS not buying and providing it. But the judgement is that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the NHS, with the potential to save more lives than would be lost by refusing to approve a very expensive drug.
If you are still in doubt about the need for brutal utilitarian calculations of this sort, and if you cleave to the view that all lives are equally valuable, just try the following thought experiment. What if, instead of killing only old or sick people, SARS-CoV-2 was instead killing only children? Would you seriously insist that this was not a more serious problem? If such a disease had a high rate of mortality, it could even threaten the survival of our species, making the actual SARS-CoV-2 look quite a benign little beast by comparison. Short of that apocalypse, though, the main point surely is that any disease that kills children is one that deprives them of many years – decades even – of expected life ahead of them. So the “brutal” calculation is not a matter of disrespect for the elderly and infirm. If we think in terms of saving not “lives” but “expected years of life”, then saving children would still be heavily favoured over saving the elderly – if harsh reality forces us to choose – while according equal value to everyone’s future life.
And for ourselves, let’s be honest. Much as we might love our grandparents or (in my case) old pals of my own age, our delight in children is such that their loss would be devastating far beyond that of any other medical calamity. Nor are we alone in that feeling: “our” delight is not a feeling confined those of us who find kids especially exciting: it extends to ordinary parents and many other adults who are lucky enough to appreciate their charms.
I’d better leave it there, I think. There is so much more to discuss on what has rapidly become a news story with a thousand angles – I would love, for instance, to get into why the UK and other European governments were so ill-prepared compared to many of those in Asia, why experts were talking about “herd immunity”, and what Boris Johnson was trying to get across with his colourful “squashing the sombrero” metaphor. Basically, the latter was about delaying infections as much as possible so that cases occur over a long period and health systems aren’t suddenly inundated: slowly building herd immunity without killing a shielded vulnerable minority has been seen as a useful by-product of that strategy. It is complicated though. Anyway, there will be time to thrash things out in comments if y’all are up for it. In lieu of getting deeply into these angles at the moment myself, I would just recommend an article by Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet medical journal, in The Guardian on all the practical delay and policy confusion.
Rumours that a cart has been trundled along Downing Street by a refuse disposal officer crying “Bring out your dead!” may be apocryphal, but the news yesterday that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty had all gone down with corona virus at the same time is a powerful indication that the plague has struck hard at the heart and (cough, cough!) lungs of government.
Even more than the rest of us, the governing elite are showing themselves to be all in it together, united in their evident unwillingness or inability to follow the precautions they have urged upon the rest of us. Scenes from parliament quite recently, for instance, showed MPs crowding around the Speaker’s chair, blithely ignoring the two-metre social distancing rule. Hardly surprising, then, that Westminster as well as Whitehall has emerged as the UK’s outbreak epicentre, our very own wet market, teeming with slimy, slippery specimens. Among those who have been stricken, along with his girlfriend, Spectator writer Isabel Hardman, is my treacherous former (Labour) MP John Woodcock. One of his lesser crimes was to get me kicked out of the Labour Party. His most heinous offence, though, was at the last election, when he advised his former constituents to vote Tory. In all honestly, I am not exactly shedding tears over his affliction. Like the pestilential visitations of old, it is obviously in his case a sign of God’s displeasure!
One final recommendation, if you have a moment: Tom Peck, political sketch writer for The Independent, takes a butcher’s at “what happens when you ignore your own advice”. It’s a satirical gem on the current hand-washing-with-soap opera. Come to think of it, how about a new TV soap: Corona-nation Street, perhaps, or Westminster Deadenders? Nah, the real political scene is much more entertaining!

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[…] Now we are truly ‘all in it together’ […]


“A couple of commentators at HTOC have already begun to express unease over the opportunity the crisis presents for the illegitimate extension of state control in our lives.”
Oh, this means me as well… oh maybe even first and foremost: as I remember, I was the first one to raise such concerns on the comment section of the previous blog. 😉 Or was there someone on this blog who became aware of the imminent danger of the rising authoritarianism – with all the pervasive surveillance, incessant censorship and cruel persecution which is intrinsic to it – across the whole world?
Anyway, no matter who told about this threat first. What is important is when we would be able to talk about it for the last time, as about something that we successfully passed through and finally left behind. Yet, as for now, I see no such bright moment at the horizon, no end to the abysmal hole into which we are sinking, no light at the end of the dark tunnel – only a blacker and scarier darkness all way long.
Reading news becomes a psychological torture, a daily exercise in horror and helplessness, since every day I learn about some new inventive form of suppression and control of the populace that the power elites has invented and implemented. And unlike you, Tom, I, an anarchist, feel zero trust in the “democratic institutions”. They always were more-or-less a facade, charming people with an illusion of a participation and transparency, while in fact hiding a lot of dirty dealing between the different small powerful elite cliques behind them, with the unofficial decisions of such cliques eventually becoming official policy no matter what the masses thought about them.
Yet, in the previous times, the facade of “democracy”, despite its largely illusive nature, nevertheless did provided some measure of defence for a radical, a heretic or simply a common person whose experiences, thoughts and actions were not in a perfect agreement with the official proclamations (and, thus, the unofficial interests standing behind them). There was no way for a power elite to repress their opponents without tearing apart a protective – and yet restrictive – veil of a “democratic state”.
With the global panic ignited by a supposedly lethal threat of Covid-19 let the elites throw away any semblance of limitations imposed on their power. Now they can easily implement any authoritarian measure made available to them by a modern high-tech, with an approval of a frightened population – that is kept ever more frightened day by day by the perpetual stream of fear-mongering produced both by the mainstream media and by the mainstream “expert community”.
But this constant maintenance of panic is also the Achilles’ heel of the whole authoritarian Covid-19 enterprise, since, happily for us all, the trust to the elite experts, and the faith in the institutionalised mainstream science that such experts are entitled to formulate and define, has fallen low among the populace – probably lower than it ever was. The horrid degradation of the scientific institutions, that turned science from a quest of truth to a fight for power, is all too clear to the most people who dare to think on their own. More and more they turn their eyes and ears from an official experts’ pronouncements to an evidence and argumentation presented by the scientific and medical heretics.
And, if the allow ourselves to listen to the rebels against the academic power structures, and the renegades from this very structures, we will see a radically different picture of the recent events. We will see not the horrendous apocalyptic pandemic posing an existential threat to mankind, something like a Black Death 2.0, but a not-too-dangerous – not much dangerous than an ordinary seasonal flu – virus, that, because of a combination of intense panic from below and constant fear-mongering from above, was painted as countlessly more dangerous than it actually is, and used by an unscrupulous power elite types to expand their already vast control over the populace even further.
To learn more about such a heretical take on a Covid-19 situation, one should look at a constantly updated summary of the evidence and argumentation against an official position:
Tom and everyone else here: I would like to learn what do you think about it!

Peter Herman

When I hear of people I knew, albeit slightly, having succumbed to the virus, I am no longer cavalier about it. Without the stringent actions currently being necessary, I fear the grim reaper would get even closer.

Zen Thinker

While the pandemic itself is worrying and its socioeconomic effects very restrictive, this could see a broad sweep of permanent change. After the War the welfare state was effectively founded, and I don’t think it is exaggerating to say that a similar socioeconomic shift could be underway.
As you’re in an at risk group, I’m thinking of you during this time Tom.


The first flaw in your “economic calculation” is that you forget that crises and recessions are recurring under capitalism, and in particular, it was expected that the financial bubble we had two months ago was bound to burst one day or another for some reason, provoking a crisis.
The second flaw is that with this policy of letting the epidemic go until there is herd immunity, the number of cases will skyrocket, and the healthcare system will collapse under their weight well before the epidemic’s peak. Hence the majority of patients, not only of Covid-19, but for any severe health problem, will be deprived of medical care. Therefore the number of deaths and health after-effects among survivors will be hugely increased, and the victims will not only be old people, but also younger ones. This will have severe economic, social and political consequences.
Strong measures preventing the spread of the virus (applied under different forms in China, Taiwan, South Korea, and now in a more haphazard form in Europe), could allow the healthcare system to sustain the number of patients, who would then get proper care, reducing the number of deaths and after-effects for survivors. This also gives researcher time to find cures and vaccines for the time after lockdown.
Read the following: and also the previous article it links to.
Finally, concerning the effects of recession, you assume the usual capitalistic solutions of massively closing businesses and laying off hundreds of thousands of workers. We are not bound to sustain until eternity capitalism and its disorders, let us go to another society, socialism.


Chivers is critical of black box models, such as the Imperial one, whereas you’re critical of an open-source model being used by non-experts.
Regardless of model, the most important parameter is R (R0 is estimated to be around 2 to 2.5). We want R < 1 – which would stop the disease.

Khad Wang-Bang

The funny thing is, people were wondering what that nasty flu was back in December. I had a very nasty cold and a dry cough like never before. Hope you get to do plenty of walking Tom.

Khad Wang-Bang

I should hope so….I have been exercising for years. I have just moved house, I was having to stay at my mothers because my old house was sold faster than I expected. I just happened to finish setting up a small makeshift Gym in the new house on the evening they announced that all gyms etc are to be closed. It is not ideal, and have beed ordering more equipment. Even 2nd hand training equipment is being fought over, so I bought my stuff new because if you win something 2nd hand on eBay, you can’t go and collect as it would be seen as non essential travel.
Like yourself, I like a stroll in the hills sometimes, but since I’ve moved to a new area, I’m not sure where the best places to go are.


It’s sad the lives and financial stability of the masses has to be on the line, in order to finally drive us all onto “the same team”…
You know…I’ve been feeling for years, that things are going to fall apart…in a “The Walking Dead” kind of way, but probably without the actual zombies…probably like the movie “The Road”.
I don’t like that, but…I’ve spent well over a decade under this bleak cloud, asking why virtually nobody is even talking about all the social and political wrongs we are being forced to live under…why we’ve been forced to endure this slow bleed death, as a nation of people…and why nobody has been steering us away from the cliff we are now going over.
Everybody who is working class knew it was there…but almost nobody in power was even acknowledging it.
The rise of Bernie Sanders, most especially this current election season…is a direct push back against this total neglect…and it looks like those in power, who ultimately have forced and kept us in this situation, are going to take the election again…and put another useless candidate forward…who, at best, will return us to a slow bleeding death with a band-aid over it…and we’re supposed to be grateful because, “he’s not Trump”…He represents everything that’s been killing us…but, “he’s not Trump”…as if that honestly means anything, at all.
It means something, sure…but I’ve not been willing to betray my ethics and morals in the political realm for many, many years…It doesn’t pay to…You just flush your own voice down the toilet, and concede that “you’re not worthy”, when you get behind the horrific politicians and policies that other people like…but you find deathly revolting.
I’d far rather get behind any person guaranteed to lose, if they at least have policies I can honestly support. I won’t support people with a history of killing this country…which is why Joe Biden is an enraging non-starter.
Good grief…if the world was going to go to hell, why couldn’t it have happened when I was still in my twenties and I cold go live off the land?…That fantasy of “living free” is long gone…At this point, I just cant.
I’ve been haunted these days by a rather silly thought, that I should have said “no” about a month back, when I had a very loose notion of dropping too much money at my favorite place to eat, and someone abruptly needed me to cover their shift on the very same day…a Louisiana cookhouse…very authentic…some of the best food on the planet…Things conspired against me getting there, the rest of the week…and then this…
Everything is shut down…but I’m an essential worker, so I’m getting worked to death, and don’t really want to be dealing with this many hours…and I can barely even spend time/money, doing what I want to be doing…
If I’d have known…I’d have just gone there one more time…Maybe they’re still serving take out orders…
I guess, the up side is that I’m taking more solitary walks out in the woods these days, to get away from things…one of the benefits of living on a 60 acre farm.
It’s way beyond frustrating, being this disenfranchised from politics, that you cannot even do anything of meaning…about the fact that we are being “governed” by some of the most corrupt, bought people on this planet.
I think it’s good that we are finally facing this, however…
We’re going to be forced to face, that we cannot continue allowing things to be as they are.
This should have happened decades ago.


That was a great one, yes. 🙂


Thank you for the eye-opening piece written, as usual, with much needed lucidity. Inevitably the poor and disadvantaged will suffer the most in the looming economic disaster, and economic repairs would most likely advantage corporations over individuals. The same corporate giants (in the US) that resist governmental interference and have ripped off consumers for decades will soon be lining up, begging for a bailout. The virus at least is far more indiscriminate.

Andrew Meier

The time for worrying about the illegitimate extension of state control in our lives (here in the UK, at least) was during the election at the tail end of 2019. A populist who pays lip service to one-nation conservatism but has no genuine interest in the well-being of ordinary people was given a thumping majority in Parliament for five years and consequently will not need an excuse to erode workers’ rights and human rights as he sets to work on amending laws that will initially be imported from the EU wholesale.
More than anything, what the current crisis shows is that individually we are willing to accept restrictions to our personal freedoms and collectively we are willing to put public health over profit when the existential threat is immediate and tangible. It’s great to see that carbon emissions have fallen so quickly. It signals that we could save the planet if we were willing put public health over profit when it comes to threats that are less immediate or less directly tangible.
Whilst I broadly agree with the analysis in your post, Tom, I have one criticism to offer. For me, the picture painted of not imposing measures is less detailed than it ought to be, which is to say that I don’t feel we can reasonably reduce the consequences of not taking adequate measures to control the spread of the virus to just a high mortality rate. I’m sure minds more informed than mine could produce a ‘Human Cost of Plagues’ to counterbalance the IMF’s ‘Human Cost of Recessions’ paper. Much as I can accept the logic of brutal utilitarianism, and much as I think 500,000 baby boomers (and older) dying off and allowing the younger generations to finally have houses instead of having to endure the steady march towards feudalism, I can envisage adverse economic and social consequences arising from a situation of uncontrolled epidemic too: panic, the breakdown of law and order, significant economic disruption, etc. Anxiety, depression and an elevated suicide rate form the psychological background to that bleak picture too. Besides, in such a situation, as the chaos unfolded and death rates soared to perhaps five figures a day, people would start to self-isolate out of sheer panic, perhaps going to irrational lengths such as neglecting their own children in order to maintain distance. On balance, I’d say social distancing without panic is preferable.

Khad Wang-Bang

I agree with your last point Tom. Borris, despite what many on the far left were screaming, is a libertarian at heart, not quite Dr Sean Gabb, but close enough.
Labour, on the other hand seems all to happy, along with the MSM to call for these draconian measures that may be worse than the disease itself. I will just say, be careful what you wish for: People who are up in East Germany will get the drift, as they say.

Can’t say how much i an disappointed by this. The appeal to virtue and below all, the appeal to “depth” from the one who wrote the great critique on the superficiality of ‘virtue ethics’. It seems that, at a certain point, one that would almost seem to be governed by considerations of no more, or less than, taste, we all become so many opportunists…


I still think that economy can be saved after this. And that we should prioritize the people, their lives. I do think we will learn from our mistakes done now. And emerge from this as better nations. If the risk of death is imminent, but there’s also the risk of dying later for issues related to recession, I think people would still prefer to die later than now… It’s not so hard for me to be isolated at home, since I’m isolated anyway since I graduated in 2017… It’s being a pain for my mom and specially my nephew, tho.

Khad Wang-Bang

Indeed….many of “our kind” will be in the same boat including myself, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary though, I just wish I could just buy some paint so as to paint a head in my new place, but alas, that is non essential travel!


We can do all we need to do to create extended families that nourish us together not causing stress when we have to isolate ourselves. isolation then will not be isolation. Of course we won’t do that with the prime & only incentive in capitalism: Profit.
We have the knowledge and the know-how to create all the money to do everything we need to do without taxing anyone or borrowing money from anyone. We have got to change the money, create money as an asset and not as debt as all money is now created. This has been done many times before with great success and one of them over here on this side of the pond was defeating you Brits and winning our independence. Yes, a bunch of poor colonies beat the greatest empire in the world.
Money was first developed to show love to those we loved: Polished Stones, Feathers, Necklace, Bracelets, etc., etc…… Get it out of your mind that money was invented to enable trade. Money was invented to show love.
Let’s get on with transforming our lives by ending the chief strength of capitalism: Banker Created Money. #occupytheneedact
Love, Love, Love, Love,,,,,

Khad Wang-Bang

Just don’t drink the cool-aid!

Peter Herman

As much as I intensely dislike Trump, were he to have a good idea, I would not dismiss it out of hand. But in this case, he is probably wrong again in the cure being worse than the disease. A credible article I read earlier today indicates that statistically communities in the US during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic that took stringent measures recovered economically much more rapidly than those communities that did not take the same precautions.
But this is not the only reason that not taking stringent measures may be wrong. It will not only be the “old codgers” who will be most likely to die but also those much younger who experience life threatening emergencies and are faced with a shortage of medical intervention. The idea of sacrificing all above a certain age is anathema to any society that claims any semblance of ethical values. The harm done to the fabric of such a society would be immeasurable.
Of course, economic consequences can have life threatening consequences, but until this can be precisely quantified, let’s stick with strategies that are humane even if difficult and inconvenient.

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