Confused malcontents swilling Chardonnay while awaiting the Zombie Apocalypse.
Bar talk - Theodore Dalrymple, Taki's Magazine, 30 October 2020
... Speaking as the average man in the pub or bar, I have my own scheme. I cannot help but notice that the risk of death from COVID by age resembles very closely the risk of death by age from all causes: That is to say, at a low age the risk is negligible, rising slightly and then very rapidly after the age of 65—though there is no age at which the risk is zero.
In the age group to which I have the honor of belonging (though membership of it is not entirely voluntary), which is said to be at high risk of dying of COVID, though only a sixteenth as high as that of people over the age of 90, I noticed that in Britain, which had one of the highest levels of death from the disease, the chance of someone of my age dying of it during the height of the epidemic was 1 in 807. The normal risk, that is to say without COVID, would have been about 1 in 1,200. This is not the Black Death, then, though I suppose the death rate might have been much higher had it not been for the government measures taken.
Between a fifth and a sixth of the population is aged 65 or older, and it is this group that is overwhelmingly the most at risk of dying of COVID.
As a pub or bar epidemiologist, it seems to me that preventive efforts ought to be directed overwhelmingly at this age group, which is, alas, my own. My favored scheme would be for the rest of the population to go about its business as normal, with the over-65s remaining as much as possible indoors, taking precautions and not mixing with younger persons except with great circumspection. The degree of risk they were prepared to run would be up to them; there is no objectively “correct” level of risk to run.
For example, a friend of my age, in good general health like me, is much more cautious than I. He has scarcely left his house since the epidemic began. I, on the other hand, have been more outgoing, though still taking the precautions that I consider reasonable. As a consequence, he is less likely to contract the disease than I; but I consider the extra risk worth taking while he does not. Neither of us is “correct” in any indubitable sense.
I have noticed that older people, on the whole, already take precautions more seriously than the young who know that they have nothing to fear and in any case are risk-takers by nature. Of course, there are older people who cannot take care of themselves, either through physical or mental incapacity, but it surely should not beyond the wit of man, or even of governments, to devise a means of protecting them. Home deliveries of food by shops and supermarkets, for example, could be concentrated upon them.
How do you explain the US death toll for 2020 is 300,000 higher than any other year?
What's to explain? I'm not one of these people who say covid is not dangerous. It's just that these lockdowns have consequences.
For example, literally hundreds of thousands of people waiting for cancer testing and treating. Many of those will not get treated and tested in time.
That's not counting the less immediately tangible effects. Funny, I thought 'liberals' were good at seeing the relationship between poverty and isolation and early death.
Our country is ready to fully open up for Christmas.
My state's economy is in a surplus (not that that means anything).
New Zealand came through COVID with top marks.
Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea... all managed.
The mismanagement of this in the US, and the 200,000+ deaths, rest solely on Trump's moronic shoulders.
Europe is doing worse than the U.S. Where is the criticism of Macron? The press ignores the extremely poor response in France because they like technocrats like this guy.
They also ignore the fact that all the worst performing states and municipalities are run by Democrats. If you took away the deaths in New York and New Jersey alone, America's death toll from covid-19 would be proportionately lower than just about any country in western Europe.
And the thing is: public health policy is the province of governors, not presidents.
This whole 'blame Trump for covid' thing is just plain stupid. It's so stupid and so wrong that I suspect most who repeat that line don't actually believe it themselves. But again, maybe I'm underestimating the illiteracy and innumeracy of the general public.
Will America succumb to safetyism? - Heather Mac Donald, The Spectator, 2 November 2020
A vote for Biden is a vote for fear over optimism
The triumph of Tuesday’s presidential election will reveal whether the feminized, therapeutic culture of the university has become the dominant force in the American psyche.
During the last eight months of coronavirus panic, a remarkable number of Americans have deliberately — one might even say, ecstatically — embraced fear over fact. They have shut their ears to the data, available since March, showing how demographically circumscribed the lethal threat from coronavirus infection is: concentrated among the very elderly and those with multiple and serious preexisting health conditions.
A remarkable number of Americans have voluntarily cowered in their homes despite the lack of a scientific basis for doing so. When they finally ventured outside, they did so wearing masks, despite the absence of any chance of infection in outdoor settings. They have without protest traded a vibrant economy made up of hard-working small businessmen for the narcotic of government transfer payments and debt-ridden stimulus spending.
And now former Vice President Joe Biden promises to double down on all of the above. A vote for Biden is a vote for spirit-crushing safetyism over such traditional American virtues as optimism, risk-taking and entrepreneurial drive. Biden is itching to shutter more of the economy. He has embraced the idea of a national outdoor mask requirement, which would turn every American citizen into a walking billboard of fear and reinforce the message that threat is everywhere. He will claim to be guided by ‘metrics’ for reopening or shutting enterprises down, metrics that are pulled out of thin air. He will pretend that he has no option but to ‘follow the science’ in mandating further shutdowns. The science, however, argues for reopening. And a leader should base decisions on a range of considerations, rather than being dictated to by one particular group of ‘experts’.
Biden may well govern from a bunker, to model the fanatical risk aversion that will become the national norm.
And in doing these things, Biden will be channeling the spirit of the American university. It is the American university that tells students, preposterously, that they are at risk even of their lives from circumambient racism and sexism, and that they need a vast anti-discrimination bureaucracy to survive. It tells them that speech challenging campus orthodoxies is a form of violence that can rightly be suppressed. It showers them with therapeutic safe spaces, complete with massage, mindfulness sessions, aromatherapy, essential oils and the inevitable therapy dogs. It derides rationality as a tool of white male supremacy. It promotes itself as the only route to a productive meaningful life, disparaging hands-on labor and the mastery of machines.
President Donald Trump, for all his vast personality flaws, is the antidote to this suffocating safetyism ethic. The key moment of his political career was not the overhyped ride down the escalator but rather his emergence on a White House balcony after returning from the hospital for coronavirus infection. He removed his mask and uttered words that were once the hallmark of leadership: we will persevere, we cannot be cowed by fear, we must move forward. And in the most stunning indication of the sea change in America culture, the Democratic and media establishments reacted to this message with howls of rage and contempt.
The problem is the haphazard and contradictory information.
States have different counts and case numbers for more reasons than a Democrat or Republican in charge.
Of course densely populated areas will have higher cases than rural areas.
Everybody chooses the statistic that works for their argument.
Right now, the only statistic that matters is the amount of tests that come back positive. But this is not uniform, as there are different numbers of tests.
Perfect example in yesterday's results for the top 5 states:
South Dakota: 50.6 percent positive
New daily cases: 526
Tests per 1,000: 2.6
New daily cases: 1,542
Tests per 1,000: 1.6
New daily cases: 2,082
Tests per 1,000: 1.4
New daily cases: 757
Tests per 1,000: 1.4
New daily cases: 444
Tests per 1,000: 2.2
We don't know how many tests were done to get these results.
So Trump's call to slow down the testing could backfire badly.
You test ONE person in Alabama and they come back positive... I guess that's a 100% positive test rate.
All I have ever maintained is that the impact of covid has been greatly exaggerated to the benefit of certain very large corporations and governments, both their leaders and their bureaucracies.
Who has benefited and how?
Large corporations benefit, especially any that have a fully developed online presence. Contrarywise, small businesses remain shuttered or are struggling with limited business.
Government bureaucracies benefit because they get more funding as politicians scramble to throw money at the 'problem', which incidentally provides them for an excuse for tighter surveillance.