The COVID-19 data is clear: Stop the panic and end the total isolation

“The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts,” Dr. Scott W. Atlas writes for The Hill. “Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.”

Dr. Scott W. Atlas for The Hill:

Five key facts are being ignored by those calling for continuing the near-total lockdown.

• Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19.

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding.

• Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.

• Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections.

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures.

The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy… Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions. This would allow the essential socializing to generate immunity among those with minimal risk of serious consequence, while saving lives, preventing overcrowding of hospitals and limiting the enormous harms compounded by continued total isolation. Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.

COVID-19 panicMacDailyNews Take: Certainly, given the lack of data, the known results of the Spanish Flu, and the dire early models, the COVID-19 panic was to be expected. As we learn more, some of that panicky feeling has blessedly subsided.

If the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t shine a klieg light on the dysfunction of American media, nothing does. You’ve got headlines blaring “Lockdown Until a Vaccine is Found” right next to “We’ve Destroyed Our Economy Based on Bad Models” all the while, in the real world, Sweden – which did not impose a lockdown – is said to be with weeks of reaching “herd immunity,” yet we do not have good data from Sweden or anywhere else on the extent of COVID infection and recovery (and hopefully long-lasting) immunity to the virus.

“Sweden’s government has advocated working from home if at all possible and to avoid nonessential travel and social contact with the elderly. Meanwhile, restaurants, bars, cafes and nightclubs have been offering seated table service only, and gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned. Yet schools for under 16-year-olds have remained open and life has generally carried on as before, just at a quieter pace,” CNBC reports.

Even experts in Sweden warn that it’s too early to draw conclusions, but given the huge economic damage caused by strict lockdowns, the Swedish approach has drawn considerable interest around the world.

“Sweden’s COVID-19 strategy may ultimately result in a smaller — albeit historically deep — economic contraction than the rest of Europe is now facing, according to HSBC Global Research economist James Pomeroy,” Bloomberg reports. “Pomeroy pointed to some Swedish characteristics that may be helping the country deal with the current crisis. More than half of Swedish households are single-person, making social distancing easier to carry out. More people work from home than anywhere else in Europe, and everyone has access to fast Internet, which helps large chunks of the workforce stay productive away from the office.”

So, we don’t yet have enough data and the data we do have contain too many variables (the makeup of typical households in Sweden are quite different than in Italy, for example), to know what the right course of action is, but one thing is for sure, a functioning economy is necessary and if it is destroyed, it’ll be a helluva lot worse that anything COVID-19 seems capable of doing. Yes, the cure can be worse than the disease. We’ll have to take baby steps to restart the economy, ready to adjust on-the-fly wherever hotspots appear, and we’ll have to take necessary precautions to avoid transmission (masks, hand-washing, social distancing, etc.) until a vaccine is found.

See also:
• Apple CEO Cook joins President Trump’s committee on reopening American economy – April 15, 2020
• Apple CEO Tim Cook joins California’s business recovery task force – April 17, 2020

Obviously, the sooner we can find out the COVID-19 infection rates in populations (massive, widespread antibody testing – which is easier said than done) and if immunity is attained by those who’ve recovered and, if yes, how long immunity lasts are three very important pieces of knowledge as we try to get to an effective vaccine without irrevocably damaging the economy. A severe economic disruption will very likely provoke the immeasurable costs of widespread unemployment, social isolation, and increased mental health issues, suicide rates, bankruptcies, civil unrest, crime, and war.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers too numerous to mention for the heads up.]

167 Comments

  1. …For including an article–and many comments from both sides–that lists opinions as facts and letting us debate them. Apple was for decades a victim of the industry’s proclivity to do just that, so you’re uniquely positioned for this exercise.

    It’s been a really long time since you linked to Steve Ballmer’s opinion that Apple wouldn’t sell many iPhones because “it isn’t a very good machine.” And Michael Dell’s suggestion to “close it down and give the money back”

    Please don’t hesitate to direct any personal attacks for imperfect quotes.

    1. To be fair, the article WAS written by someone connected to the conservative Hoover Institution. So, not necessarily form “both sides” and that’s ok. Red news on red sites like this one, Blue news on blue sites.

  2. WTF is this doing on MacDailyNews? I quit! Done with this nonsense site. Never viewing it again. There are better sites with better focus. My only thought is this is published because it is this site’s owner opinions. BAD, BAD, BAD.

  3. Doctor Destroys Media Narrative on COVID-19
    (I cannot post the complete URL as this site is filtering it out for some reason…so
    go to facebook. com … then add to the URL the following:
    /terrencekwilliams
    /videos
    /219266722698502/

  4. Let me post a summary again of a lot of the current UP-TO-DATE REAL DATA from both STUDIES AND FRONT LINES:
    BOTTOM LINE: Death rate is FAR LESS THAN 1% AND is NO WORSE than seasonal flu.

    Just recently released “… a study in Santa Clara County using immunity tests found that rather than the 1,000 confirmed cases, between 48,000 and 81,000 people in the area actually had the virus.
    (source also presented here: https://youtu.be/jGUgrEfSgaU)

    In Los Angeles, another study showed that in a community thought to have roughly 8,000 cases… instead has somewhere between 221,000 and 442,000.

    In Chelsea, near Boston… a random sample showed that one-third of those tested had already come in contact with the coronavirus.”

    And the results: “As The Los Angeles Times reports:

    “Based on their results, the Stanford researchers estimated the mortality rate in Santa Clara County to be between 0.12% and 0.2%.”
    (so that is 3 INDEPENDENT studies).

    THIS NEXT ONE IS A MUST WATCH!!!
    Watch this video of latest on the ground info by front line doctors with comparisons (other US districts including NY, different countries (Italy, Sweden, Norway, etc), lock down vs not, flu vs WV etc):

    (there is silence at the end for about 1 min then there are 2 more mins of video with audio).
    Note what is said about that this info was really known about 6-8 weeks ago but is now clearly confirmed.

    (BTW, this is just a very small sample of a wealth of info based strictly on the factual science, not just theoretical modelling. If you understand statistics, these results are based on real statistically SIGNIFICANT data…in other words, they ARE representative of other areas).

    All in line with a Lancet Journal of Medicine peer-reviewed study published 4 weeks ago (Mar 30, 2020) that estimated that about 0.66% of ALL those infected with the virus will die. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30243-7/fulltext

    Folks, many of you are missing the forest for the trees, people…FOREST FOR THE TREES!

    This IS REAL science… no politics, no agenda…just the facts, ma’am…just the facts.

    1. For some reason this site filters out links to facebook so for my heading above “THIS NEXT ONE IS A MUST WATCH!!!”, try this:

      go to facebook. com … then add to the URL the following:
      /terrencekwilliams
      /videos
      /219266722698502/

    2. Right. Just the facts. You claim that “about 0.66% of ALL those infected with the virus will die,” and also that it is “NO WORSE than the seasonal flu.” (Emphasis yours)

      In the universe where I live, 0.66% is worse than 0.1%. In my universe, 101,000 deaths in less than four months is worse than 13,500 actually confirmed deaths from flu and pneumonia combined in the worst of the last six 12-month years. Your claims that the novel coronavirus is a minor threat are growing ever more extreme as time goes on.

      1. Wow @TxUser, really? You are going back to a statement made over 5 weeks ago?

        Do you know what a text without a context is? A pretext! If you are not sure what that is, look it up.

        You are cherry picking info and building a strawman argument, you are taking statements out of context, and again, you are losing the forest for the trees.

        At the time that was posted, it was quite accurate. Even Dr. Fauci’s team had significantly adjusted their projections originally from 2.2 Million down to 100-220 thousand then down to about 65 thousand. Of course now the estimated final toll is estimated to be higher again.

        Stats for seasonal flu are actually measured from about late Oct to early May, but typically cover only about 13 weeks, not 12 months. COVID-19 has been inflicting people in the US since about Feb (first diagnosed case was Jan 21), so so far 4 months (13 weeks). The range of deaths stats for flu seasons range from 11,000 to 95,000. The worst so far being in 2017/2018 with an average of 61,000 (but estimates as high as 95,000). So you context is completely wrong.

        Yes, granted that the death toll for COVID is higher, but statistically it is not significantly higher when you compare it to all the causes of death (CONTEXT).

        Oddly, before COVID-19 was a major thing, the CDC had gone on record stating that this flu season was going to be one of the worst on record, rivalling the 2017.2018 season, based on the trend of cases at that point in time. Those numbers have strangely dwindled. What happened to all those cases?

        But finally, the CDC has NOW adjusted the estimates again, down from the latest projections a week ago of a death rate of between 0.2 and 1%, down to 0.26% over all. This rate is a blended rate based on a death rate of 0.4% of those over 65, including people in nursing homes, but ONLY 0.09% for those under 65.

        Putting all that in CONTEXT of the bigger picture, the 2009/2010 H1N1 Swine flu had a final death rate of 0.5%, or twice that of COVID-19. Though as many as 18,000 died in the US (the median of 12,500 is more often quoted) with about 61 million infected, it is estimated that as many as 575,000 died worldwide (with a median of almost 300,000 often quoted).

        When was the last time you even thought about protecting yourself against the Swine flu? Remember when everything was shut down and you were locked up for over 2 months for that? BTW, it is still around.

        Note that over 2.8 MILLION people die in the US alone every single year from all kinds of major causes, cancer and heart disease accounting for almost half of that (at over 1.2 MILLION), not including the approx 600,000 deaths from abortions.

        These stats mean that you are less likely to die from COVID-19 than you are from just about any other major cause of death, including getting killed in a car accident. Maybe we should all stop driving and stay locked up indoors because the risk is too high?

        Remember to maintain perspective.

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