Yes, 2021 Could Be Worse

Yes, 2021 Could Be Worse by Robert E. Wright for American Institute for Economic Research

I notice lots of folks on social media pining for 2021. Don’t kill the messenger, but 2021 could be much worse than 2020.

Coronavirus restrictions could get worse.

But how? Covid-19 came close to causing a legitimate crisis only in the New York City area and there only with “help” from Governor Cuomo’s kill people in nursing homes policy. Not that they needed much help as the virus has killed mostly the frail and elderly and according to one study people who normally would have died of the flu a year or two ago had not the last two flu seasons been relatively light. Moreover, death counts have been confusing, with documented instances of people dying in motorcycle accidents and from terminal cancer being counted as Covid-19 fatalities.

Death rates in the United States are running at 109% of expectations but parsing everything out is difficult because the lockdowns caused additional deaths from suicide and abuse while decreasing deaths from motor-vehicle and other accidents. Definitive stats on the number killed by lockdowns, as opposed to the virus, as opposed to old age and other comorbidities, may never be available.

Even discerning the number of Covid-19 “cases” is problematic because many people who had the virus, especially early on, were not officially tested for it. On the other hand, tests, report the formerly venerable New York Times, now may be returning mostly false positives because they are super sensitive and return only a binary “yes” or “no” response even though being infected with a virus is a far cry different than being pregnant. Magnitudes matter when it comes to spreading the little sucker.

Another problem, as I pointed out previously, is that viral spread is usually not salient, so “the” scientists we are supposed to be following have never really tried to track an evolving polyglot mass this closely before, and they are clearly still pretty clueless about it all. But that is not a reason to panic about the virus; it is a reason to panic about the sanity or intentions of our leaders, who need to pay for destroying our civil liberties on a wing and a prayer.

In short, although the virus is less deadly than at first, and treatments have improved (for example by not putting people on those ventilators we so desperately thought we needed back in March with such alacrity), and the disease appears to have run its course in much of the country, politicians and the media continue to stir up uncertainty, which they use to stoke fear in the public, and continued compliance with government dictates, school closings, and such. You, gentle reader, may be convinced it is largely hokum at this point, but that isn’t going to help you if most of your neighbors still insist on masks and social distancing, talismans and role-playingthough they are.

If more coronavirus restrictions seem unlikely, look at what has been going on in Australia, which is creating a techno-police state in a reputed effort to save people from something that won’t, indeed can’t, hurt most of them.

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