Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Stockman: A Pair of Socialists Who Get COVID-19 Right

By David Stockman

Say what? 
It seems that the mainstream politicians and commentariat have gone so far off the deep-end on the Covid-19 that it takes a pair of socialists from south of the border to clear the air. 
That’s right. We are referring to Mr .Lopez-Gatell, Mexico’s minister of health and pedigreed PhD epidemiologist from John-Hopkins and his boss, President Obrador, a true blue socialist that the Bernie Bros would wet their cargo pants over. 
ALMO, as they call the latter, is not drinking the Covid Cool-Aid. His flagrant rebuke of the Yankee virus patrol has left the US left-wing media sputtering (e.g. Slate: “ALMO goes off the Rails”), suggesting that he is wallowing in self-doubt because his poll ratings have dropped from spectacular to very strong, and that in the process he is dangerously undermining his allegedly more sensible health minister. 

Not so fast, however. While Lopez-Gatell has called for social distancing and other sensible measures, Mexico has not gone into anything like Lockdown Nation, and for the reasons that its health minister articulated in this morning’s WSJ piece on Mexico’s corono-apostasy: 

Mr. López-Gatell, 51, said he estimates the virus will eventually infect roughly two-thirds of Mexicans, the level at which enough people have developed immunity that further spread becomes more difficult. Left unchecked, the virus would run its course in as little as six weeks, overwhelming the health system, he said. But with social distancing measures, it could take as long as a year or more, similar to the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, which first emerged in Mexico and which Mr. Lopez-Gatell also experienced as a health official. 
But, he said he also estimates only 0.5% of Mexico’s population will get sick enough from the virus during the entire pandemic to show any kind of symptoms. And 80% of those cases, he said, are likely to be mild. He said the vast majority of people infected by the virus would show no symptoms. 
Mr. López-Gatell’s assumptions would suggest a death rate for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, that is similar to or even lower than the flu, which is typically about 0.1% in the U.S. 
“I have said the lethality of this is similar to influenza. However, the Chinese experience...made it clear that the speed of propagation is so fast that even if it’s not very virulent it can still saturate hospital capacity,” he said. 
“I’ll repeat: 0.5% of the population will have some kind of symptoms out of the total Mexican population. [The great majority] will develop immunity without ever knowing they were infected,” said Mr. López-Gatell, who holds a doctorate in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. 
As it happens, Mexico with a population of 126.5 million is currently reporting 6,297 coronavirus cases and 486 deaths. Those are Japan type numbers, coming from a totally different zip code than those of Lockdown Nation north of the Rio Grande. 
Covid infection rates and mortality rates, respectively, stand as follows: 
No Lockdown Mexico: 5.0 and 0.4 per 100,000; 
No Lockdown Japan: 7.0 and 0.14 per 100,000: 
Lightly-Lockdown Texas: 57.0 and 1.4 per 100,000; 
Maximum Lockdown New York: 1,100.0 and 63.0 per 100,000. 
To be sure, the old “you just wait” for your turn in the dunk-tank is being loudly shouted in the direction of Mexico. And notwithstanding that it’s already mid-April and getting warmer and warmer in Mexico, that makes no never-mind to the Bill Gates Virus Patrol domiciled at the IHME: 
.....Lopez-Gatell’s estimates of the numbers of people needing hospital services might be reached within a month or two instead of a year, said Rafael 
Lozano, the director of health systems at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 
“It’s far better in these situations to prepare for a worse outcome rather than something overly optimistic,” said Mr. Lozano, who is finishing a predictive model for how the pandemic may play out in Mexico in coming months and the demand for hospital use. 
Would that Mr. Rafael Lozano doesn’t finish his model, and inflict on Mexico the same massively overdone IHME projections that foresaw upwards of a million deaths in the US, and which unfortunately influenced the Trump White House to initiate Lockdown Nation four weeks ago. 
So doing, it sided, perhaps unknowingly, with the statist faction of the epidemiological community, which has no compunction about deploying a blunderbuss of coercive state controls to stop the contagion’s spread versus what might be called the natural order/market faction, which believes rapid transmission through the population is the quickest route to herd immunity and to defeating the virus on its own terms. 
As one of the latter’s proponents, Professor Knut Wittkowski, who for 20 years headed the Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design at The Rockefeller University, New York, says: 
With all respiratory diseases, the only thing that stops the disease is herd immunity. About 80% of the people need to have had contact with the virus, and the majority of them won’t even have recognized that they were infected, or they had very, very mild symptoms, especially if they are children. So, it’s very important to keep the schools open and kids mingling to spread the virus to get herd immunity as fast as possible. 
Needless to say, you did not hear that on CNN, nor did the Washington Post or New York Times post a “long-form” article exploring exactly the predicate behind the Lockdown Nation model. 
To wit, we are referring to the specious flatten-the-curve theory underlying the IHME model and its Gates subsidized cohorts. It seeks to slow the natural spread of the virus to allegedly protect public health directly by means of fewer infections and illnesses, but also indirectly so that a peak-load surge on hospitals and ICUs will be spread out over months rather than weeks, thereby allegedly saving even more lives. 
Here’s the thing, though. When you flatten the infection curve, you not only delay the live-saving spread of herd immunity, but you also flatten in dumb-ass fashion the economic lives and wealth of the entire society, to boot. 
Have these geniuses ever considered the alternative? That is to say, peaking the hospital capacity with massive temporary facilities like those that are put up as a matter of course in the aftermath of severe natural disasters? 
After all, even now in the midst of the Covid Hysteria there are not more than a few dozen “hots spots” in the nation where a disaster relief based hospital capacity surge would even be necessary. 
As we will demonstrate in Part 2, that approach would cost perhaps a few tens of billions, not the trillions that are now being shoveled at the US economy by Washington in a frantic —and insanely expensive and destructive—effort to hold households and businesses 100% harmless from the consequences of Lockdown Nation. 
Generally, we do try to avoid hyperbole....unless absolutely necessary! 
But we have now reached that point in Lockdown Nation. 
Last night we appeared on Newmax TV and didn’t mince any words: This is the worst outbreak of hysteria since the Joe McCarthy Red Scare, if you want to be charitable, or the 1692 Salem Witch Trials, if you want to get to the truth of the matter: 
Proof of that can be seen in the little dictators rising up in the state capitals and mayor’s offices all around the land who are not only making a mockery of the personal liberty and the Fifth Amendments protections of against “taking” property by the state, but are literally destroying their own economies in the name of out-to-lunch public health central planning. 
In the case of Michigan, for example, the governor has launched at attack on spring planting of the petunias: 
Ms. Whitmer had recently announced an extension of a state of emergency until the end of April. New measures include limiting the number of shoppers depending on the size of a store. One provision orders certain stores to close off some sections, including those for gardening supplies, saying they are nonessential, prompting the state’s greenhouse industry to say it will be devastated by the move. 
Really? Gardening supplies? 
Well, no, that’s just the teaser. According to the Wall Street Journal, here is what else you can’t do in Michigan upon penalty of fines and jail time: 
Michigan now bans lawn and landscaping services, motor boating and golf. Large stores can’t sell paint, furniture or garden equipment. People aren’t allowed to travel between residences, which blocks them from visiting second homes and hunting cabins. Long-distance drives that don’t meet a “critical” need, according to the governor’s definition, are prohibited. 
Then there is Virginia and the police crackdown on an attempted picnic in Richmond, which was organized by three groups including Reopen Virginia. The latter was formed just last Sunday and apparently grew out of Facebook discussions, according to organizer Markie Kelly. The group’s Facebook page has 19,000 members with 10,000 requests pending, she said. 
A Virginia Capitol Police spokesman said police were alarmed by a Facebook notice for the picnic because it said “hugging, closeness and sharing of dishes is encouraged.” 
You can’t make this stuff up. If only James Madison would have been more clairvoyant. He surely would have included the “right to hug” as the 11th Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Ms. Kelly defended the choice of words. “We didn’t say you have to do this, but 
yeah, if people want to hug each other, let them do it,” she said. 
Still, Dem Governor Ralph Northam on Wednesday said he would extend until May 8 an emergency order that bans crowds of more than 10 people; closes recreation, entertainment and personal-care businesses; and limits restaurants to takeout and delivery. “Gov. Northam will continue to make decisions based in science, data and 
public health,” a spokeswoman for the governor said. 
Well, let’s see about the science part. The virus infection rate in Virginia is just 87 per 100,000—or just 8% of that for New York— and the mortality rate WITH coronavirus is just 2.7 per 100,000. That’s just 4% of the New York rate. 

So, yes, those are rounding errors in the scheme of public health stats, but apparently enough to unleash a police crackdown on, well, hugging. 
Read more of Stockman's analysis here.

David Stockman was Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street.

No comments:

Post a Comment