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#169764 - 04/02/20 05:38 PM A Cure Worse than COVID?
ScottSA Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 14322
Loc: Canada
Social and Economic Lockdown – A Cure Worse than COVID?

Let me begin by saying that every life is vitally important, and my heart goes out to each and every family who has lost a loved one because of this thing. It's good that British Columbians have actively participated in the health measures being asked of them during this pandemic. So far, two weeks in, following the dictates of federal and provincial health experts seems to have worked well enough. Our temporary economic shutdown appears to have flattened the curve and isn't (at this point anyway) overwhelming our hospitals.

But there are other issues at play here too, the main one being long term economics. And by "economics" I don't mean "profit" or "dollars" or all the disparaging things some folks immediately associate with the economy, but rather the shattered hopes and dreams of small business people trying to claw a living from an already over-taxed and over-regulated economy, or employees living pay cheque to pay cheque with no safety net. Big corporations with deep pockets are able to hunker down and outlast this for months, as are retirees and others on fixed incomes, but small businesses and working employees simply can't. Those folks can weather another week, maybe two, maybe even three, but sooner or later fixed costs like rent, food, and utilities come due, and to keep on top of that they need cashflow. In the first two weeks over this crisis, over 10 million jobs have disappeared, over a million of them in Canada (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/world/coronavirus-live-news-updates.html?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-world&variant=show®ion=MID_MAIN_CONTENT&context=storyline_updates_world?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-world&variant=show®ion=MID_MAIN_CONTENT&context=storyline_updates_world?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-world&variant=show®ion=MID_MAIN_CONTENT&context=storyline_updates_world?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-world&variant=show®ion=MID_MAIN_CONTENT&context=storyline_updates_world?action=click&pgtype=Article&state=default&module=styln-coronavirus-world&variant=show®ion=MID_MAIN_CONTENT&context=storyline_updates_world#link-1d2683c5 ). Cashflow is not a want for these people – or the larger economy for that matter - but an existential need. If this economic shutdown lasts months, as both the Prime Minister (https://www.cp24.com/news/covid-19-restrictions-to-last-weeks-to-months-trudeau-1.4859726 ) and the British Columbian Health Minister (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-covid19-april1-canada-world-1.5516328 ) threatened this week, we're not just going to have a radical increase in layoffs, credit card debt, and the usual recessionary corrections, but according to some we may well be looking at soup lines and a full blown depression (https://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/coronavirus-crisis-new-great-depression).

The medical community approaches issues like this purely from a medical perspective and excludes non-medical impacts. For example, when I asked senior IHA representatives point blank about their harm reduction strategies– on public record - whether they ever took the impact of their harm reduction policies on the general public/business into consideration, they said no. And that's as it should be, because that's their sole job and should be their sole focus. But their policies, fully endorsed by the political class, cause collateral harm to others. Likewise, in the formulation of medical pandemic remedies, our medical personnel are operating from a mission-specific medical POV and ignoring the non-medical impacts. And the non-medical impacts of our pandemic-related health policies are enormous.

Aside from the obvious, like the stock market crash, a stimulus bill costing taxpayers many billions in new debt, a significant increase in home violence (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/01/measures-control-spread-coronavirus-are-nightmare-victims-domestic-violence-advocates-are-demanding-that-governments-step-up/ ), and a virtual economic standstill, Statistics Canada reports that almost 6 million Canadians are employed in sectors that are hardest hit by the shutdown. A 50 per cent job loss in those sectors is not unlikely, and may mean up to three million layoffs, according to analysts (https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2020/03/24/covid-19-job-losses-potentially-millions-in-canada/). That is like an economic atom bomb to our economy, and it has far reaching implications.

To imagine for one second that the economy can simply rebound to normal if this shutdown lasts much longer is to ignore the numerous small companies who will or already have closed their doors because, starved of cash flow, they can't meet their fixed costs; the larger companies who will or already are automating and putting people out of work; and the general economic hangover of folks who, having been scared to death of the virus by both the media and the political class, will continue to shun bricks and mortar business for months to come.

So far Canadian politicians have let the medical authorities make the rules around this viral pandemic, as we should have in the initial stages of any medical emergency. But politicians are elected and expected to take the big picture into account, and not wed themselves to one perspective. Perhaps it's time we started taking the economic perspective into account. If we don't, we may have a whole new crisis in governance at hand, as John Yoo and Harmeet K. Dhillon explain in a reference to the US that applies here too: “If they do not explain how and why they arrived at their decision, they risk popular discontent. If the lockdown continues for weeks on end, and it appears that our leaders imposed statewide quarantines without sufficient proof that the numbers of lives saved would justify the heavy, widespread cost, they even risk civil disobedience where Americans will simply ignore the bans on social and economic activity. No state has enough manpower to control an unwilling American population” (https://www.hoover.org/research/statewide-lockdowns-and-law?fbclid=IwAR154hsF4VcXDuYNRM6xSK548eqfeE_9AmwmZepipaLz6asbEw89T5OHfXY ).

Sweden's route through this pandemic may be the answer we're looking for (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/30/sweden-coronavirus-approach-is-very-different-from-the-rest-of-europe.html). Instead of locking down like other countries around the world, it is allowing the economy to remain open and asking people to voluntarily social distance and take reasonable precautions, including locking down the most vulnerable populations – the elderly and immune compromised. If the information currently coming out of Iceland is reliable, and there is no reason to believe it's not, between 25% and 50% of the people who have been exposed to the virus are asymptomatic (https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/01/europe/iceland-testing-coronavirus-intl/index.html). Of those who do have symptoms, the vast majority suffer from mild symptoms. Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, and we are operating with incomplete information at this time, but for the most part healthy people do not seem to have much existential risk. The greatest risk we face is our elderly and immune compromised people. Instead of shutting down our economy, why are we not protecting our most vulnerable and letting the virus otherwise run its course, utilizing our hospital beds for those from outside the vulnerable group who need hospitalization? Would that not be far more beneficial a solution all round than what we're doing now?

While it makes sense to take sensible precautions like frequent hand washing and social distancing, it does not make sense to destroy our economy and and burden our kids with an unbearable debt load in the process. The cure, as they say, may actually be worse than the disease itself.


Edited by ScottSA (04/02/20 05:45 PM)
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If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what is an empty desk a sign?~Albert Einstein

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#169765 - 04/02/20 08:44 PM Re: A Cure Worse than COVID? [Re: ScottSA]
Peter McKenna Offline
old hand


Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 1173
Loc: Louisiana
Good post, your charts/graphs didn’t translate but your point is a good one. There doesn’t seem to be a cogent plant for the economy.

We are allowing essential services to continue, which involves a lot of working people, as essential services have been broadly interpreted using CISA guidelines (critical infrastructure).

Governor Cuomo has the idea of putting low risk people and previously infected and resolved people back to work soon to minimize economic impact. This would require extraordinary measures to sequester and protect the higher risk population and would inevitably result in more infected and a higher mortality rate and some likely legal issues.

Unfortunately in our current political climate, whatever strategy is followed, any actions taken that would result in greater risk and a higher mortality rate would be politically unfeasible.
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#169766 - 04/03/20 05:14 PM Re: A Cure Worse than COVID? [Re: Peter McKenna]
ScottSA Offline
CEO of the Hegemony


Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 14322
Loc: Canada
Assuming all the empty hospital beds actually fill up at some point, I'll buy into the dire lethality claims. Nowhere in North America do we have the kind of sardine-packed culture like China, nor the face-kissing, social thronging culture of Italy. They simply cannot be used as signposts for anywhere in the US.
_________________________
If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what is an empty desk a sign?~Albert Einstein

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#169767 - 04/03/20 06:35 PM Re: A Cure Worse than COVID? [Re: ScottSA]
Peter McKenna Offline
old hand


Registered: 06/07/13
Posts: 1173
Loc: Louisiana
 Originally Posted By: ScottSA
Assuming all the empty hospital beds actually fill up at some point, I'll buy into the dire lethality claims.


Models are forecasting anywhere from 80,000 deaths to over a million.

With November elections pending and Donald Trump painted as some kind of modern day equivalent to Typhoid Mary by the MSM the economy will likely take a back seat to the infection rate. Any move Trump makes, unless completely in tune with the progressive Democrat ideological agenda, will be weaponized and cast as inhumane. The Democrats have reached a new low.



https://www.foxnews.com/media/victor-dav...onavirus-crisis


November elections are nigh



Edited by Peter McKenna (04/03/20 07:21 PM)
Edit Reason: Grammatical error
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#169835 - 05/06/20 12:48 PM Re: A Cure Worse than COVID? [Re: Peter McKenna]
charlly Offline
member


Registered: 03/05/20
Posts: 24
Loc: sydney
Until they discover a medicine to this epidemic disease it is better to stay home. Let us hope that it won't take too long to find a cure for this disease. CBD Laws Lockdown is the better idea to be safe.
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