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More data from Sweden demonstrates failure of lock downs everywhere else

Link here. Sweden imposed almost no rules when the Wuhan virus arrived. And though Sweden’s death toll was higher than many other places, consider this:

Of the 5,783 deaths, how many do you think were of people under the age of 40-years-old? 20%? 10%? No. Not even close. In Sweden, 26 people under the age of 40-years-old have died from COVID-19. That means less than one-half of one percent of the deaths associated with the coronavirus were of people younger than middle age. What’s more is that they have now essentially flattened the curve completely to the point that they often report zero deaths on any given day. [emphasis in original]

Also, only one school-age child died. Only one.

This is not a disease to be feared if you are healthy, especially if you are healthy and young. We should stop panicking.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • John Conyers

    “Pandemic” there’s a word that has lost it’s meaning. We’ve put all of our chips on this COVID thing, God forbid a real pandemic comes along, most people will just say, “yea right, remember COVID”. I now think that these fear obsessed people WANTED this to be a more devastating disease. People may complain about all this, but I think many people love it, as Bob mentioned a few weeks ago. It gives their lives meaning, they can pretend to be smarter than those around them, they can show how moral they are, they can shame those around them. Also the love of change plays a role too. People love these masks, new social norms and compelling others to follow their own specific OCD behaviors. This has something for everyone!

  • Andrew _W

    Why is there some significance being attached to the age of 40? Are the lives of those of us in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc of a discounted value? If I were to assign some significance to the age of those dying I’d set it at retirement age.

  • LocalFluff

    @John Conyers Yeah, Covid-19 is a mental disease, a political phantom.

    @Andrew _W Because it has zero effect on this virus’ death toll to criminalize working people’s work. The 5,000+ dead in Sweden has all to do about our lousy nursing homes and elderly care for those who still live at home. The attendants (they are not nurses) work by the hour without any schedule. They get a phone call with an offer from the municipality (this is all public sector) to work one hour for $10 this afternoon at one elderly’s home address or a nursing home, take it or leave it. Elderly do complain that they meet 10+ different attendants a month. Talk about spreading diseases to a vulnerable population.

    In Sweden, working in a nursing home requires no training at all and it is the lowest paid of all jobs, so there’s a huge staff turnover. Half of the attendants cannot understand Swedish, or any European language. In one municipality the responsible manager was brave enough to publicly admit that it is impossible for the staff to understand any instructions, such as hygiene and contamination avoidance procedures, because of language problems. And imagine the elderly who cannot talk to their attendants! This is what “health care for all” looks like in reality.

  • Andrew_W

    LocalFluff, nothing you said addressed the point I was making – unless reaching 40 makes you elderly in Sweden.

  • Some_guy

    Andrew_W, that is because there is no reasonable answer to your question in the eyes of these deranged people other than yes, the lives of those of us over 40 are of discounted value. Apparently because young people do not often die from the virus it should not be viewed as important. These people are malignant narcissists who clearly don’t care about the hundreds of thousands dead from the pandemic because apparently nearly every one of those who have died were old or unhealthy in some way that makes their deaths justified. We should not panic about more than a thousand people dying daily in the US because their lives are not worth panicking over.
    There is no rationalizing with these people. Facts to not matter.

  • Tom Biggar

    Because the difference in the effect of the disease at +/- 40 indicates the silliness of a one-size-fits-all policy. Ignoring the inflection point has us trying to cram everything into a o-s-f-a policy. We are focused on the talisman of mask wearing and not the things we could do to protect the vulnerable while re-opening the economy. We would save more lives and have a better society if we did that.

  • Andrew_W

    Tom Biggar, I can see a case for differentiating at retirement age, and there are indeed policies focused on isolating those over retirement age and to a greater extent those in retirement and care facilities. But why is the age of 40 the focus in this post? Are you and Mr. Zimmerman suggesting that that’s the appropriate age to differentiate “sizes”? That we should be putting in place systems for all those over 40 to isolate them from the younger population? That they shouldn’t be at work with younger people?

  • LocalFluff

    Andrew_W I will make a note about this, so that when mortality statistics for 2020 is available, we can see whether Covid-19 had any significance at all or not. Because I know that it doesn’t Corona is a mental disease and a political money coup.

  • janyuary

    Andrew W — at this point in the U.S., 16% of one million people have died since February.

    That means that 100% of 330 million, plus 84% of the remaining million, have survived.

    There comes a point when the needs of the many truly do outweigh the needs of the few.

    No matter what your age, Andrew, if you are overweight, out of shape, and/or eat a lot of junk food, you are putting yourself FAR more at risk for getting any virus, than anyone else is by not wearing a mask and keeping six feet away in your presence.

  • janyuary

    Message conveyed by those who wear masks and practice social distancing:

    YOU are responsible for my health and my fear of virus, and I will be responsible for YOURS. YOU must accept that responsibility and my own responsibility FOR you. I will hold you accountable if I become sick after having you come too near to me unmasked.

    Message conveyed by those who go about life normally and rightly:

    I am responsible for my own health and fear, you are responsible for your health and fear.

    That is the message conveyed, when I see someone arrive wearing a mask, versus someone arriving the way we have always healthily and happily interacted.

    But avoidance of conflict, of not wanting to hurt the feelings of frightened rabbits and so going along until it blows over (ha ha), is now becoming accessory to economic and societal homicide.

    Path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men. Bad choice to rationalize taking the least resistant path when common sense is so much plainer.

    Common courtesy has always demanded that if you feel sick, you isolate yourself from others. Smart has it that if you stay fit and eat smart, you’ll have better immunity to viruses. Both still hold true. The only person I’ll hold accountable if I catch a virus, is myself.

    The most shocking thing personally, as socializing picks back up, is how many engineers and science-minded men (and women too), professionals, retired and active, supposedly educated, rational people of reason and logic …. how many have revealed themselves to be at bottom emotion-based creatures of little sense … while some of the most unlikely and I once thought average folks, have shown solid good common sense and respect for such objective truths as math.

  • Andrew_W

    janyuary, how about we just say that 160,000 Americans have died from it (see, much simpler than your method) out of the ~40 million that have so far been infected, and that if the various measures that have been taken to slow the spread and isolate the most vulnerable had not been taken, both the number infected and the percentage of those infected that would have succumbed would have been higher.

  • Cotour

    Like most things in life everything is about perspective.

    The short term view is to fear and hide and disengage from life until its “Safe”.

    (And its never safe, from the moment that your egg was fertilized mother nature has been after you, and she is a ruthless and relentless you know what)

    The long term view is to assess what the threat is and formulate a philosophy to avoid it as best as you can and carry on.

    I think in the modern age due to the advancements in technology and medicine there is a general perception that we are in control, and that is true only to a certain degree.

    I am in the latter group, what about you? I try to avoid when possible what I determine to be too much risk, but I refuse to hide.

  • Cotour

    Unless its Plutonium that is.

  • Some_guy (who also changes his name and email address with each post): The next three comments from you were trashed because of their obscenities and insulting nature. This comment has been approved, but only because it was the first.

    Your future posts however are banned. I don’t tolerate barbarians on Behind the Black.

  • LocalFluff

    Hoping that government regulations will make them immortal. Moses had a point in his often criticized first commandment: “Thou shall have no Gods but me”. Look at this mess we are in now because embryos and idiots, eremites and friers instead “believe” in the state!

    They should not wear face masks, but tin foil hats. Does anyone have a link to instructions how to fold one? I’ll wear one when I go shopping tomorrow. Lifting it in a salute every time I meet a masked frier and say: “- Me too!”

  • Tom Biggar

    Why are you so determined to ignore the inflection point, and why do you ignore the other costs to society? It seems rational to me to both note and act on the fact that the virus is most dangerous to those > 40. I checked the VA web site and it shows the same inflection point: < 20 = 0 deaths, <40 = 27 deaths, 40-49 = 65 deaths. VA population ~= 85% that of Sweden.

  • janyuary

    Andrew W. — I say it that way to keep it in context. Reciting numbers alone removes it from any context whatsoever and invites emotion to take over with “those are people!!”

    Instead of saying that many millions survive on the road every day, how about we just say that … 43,000 Americans die and more than half a million are seriously injured every year in car wrecks.

    So very clearly anyone who thinks he or she deserves driving privileges is selfish and , the same as clearly to you, anyone who doesn’t wear masks is a selfish jerk. Why aren’t you clamoring for outlawing the driving of private cars?

  • Andrew_W

    Tom Biggar. Perhaps you could suggest what different actions you think should be implemented to exploit the inflection point you see.

    janyuary. I don’t think your methodology is a move forward in keeping the numbers in context, but you would have a point in that people overestimate the number of deaths considered avoidable compared to number considered unavoidable which the media usually doesn’t cover – because they’re considered unavoidable.

    . . . the same as clearly to you, anyone who doesn’t wear masks is a selfish jerk.
    I don’t think that.

    Why aren’t you clamoring for outlawing the driving of private cars?
    If deaths through driving private cars was highly contagious, with a transmissibility of R=>2.5 I might be.

  • Charlie

    Life is a risk/benefit assessment. Clearly lockdowns are harmful whereas for those under 50 the risk is minimal. Those at higher risk must take increased precautions. And I will do my best to protect those who are vulnerable. But I will not bring harm to those who risk o is otherwise very low and who would suffer significant harm by a lockdown. Social consciousness.

  • janyuary

    Your “transmissability of R=>2.5” is a projection.
    Reality is that 330 million plus 84% of one million are well and healthy, while 16% of one million, most of them elderly and already ill, have died. The continued sacrifice to maintain that apparently is dehumanization of simple interactions and economic destruction wholesale. All for 16% of one million out of 331 million.

    Why does it bother you so much that I state the plain, simple math of it that way?

    Americans would certainly prevent half a million serious injuries and 43,000 deaths — real people, dead — if they agreed to public/commercial transport only. WHO CARES what the “transmissibility” is — those are real lives that would be saved, more horrible injuries prevented. Who are you to say that it’s worth it? Because you like to drive? So you’ll sacrifice that many lives? And risk your own and mine in the bargain?

    Reciting numbers absent of context, and confusing data with projections, are how news mediums tell the truth yet are accused of lying because they ARE lying by omission.

  • john hare

    Re saving 43,000 deaths and and half a million serious injuries per year by banning cars in favor of mass transit.

    I see an equivalence with the Covid over reaction. Many would get hurt or killed in the mass transit, though it may well be a lower number annually. That lower number (possibly) would come at an expense to individuals and the economy that would dwarf the losses caused by cars. In dispersed counties like the one I live in, the very ability to get to work in a timely manner would be tough for many of us. There is a real quality of life difference between a 10 minute car commute and having to walk to and from the bus stop on its’ schedule, carrying all your gear, in the rain, and past the local gang hangout…..

  • Tom Biggar

    Sorry, 40 exists as an inflexion point (answering your original question of why 40). I don’t need to offer any suggestions on how to use that fact to advantage to prove it exists. Having shown its existence, you need to explain why we should ignore it.

  • janyuary

    john hare, I agree wholeheartedly.
    Risk is the price one pays for opportunity.

    The mask-distancing believers want to regulate MY choice of risk, MY opportunity to make dreams reality.
    They ask me to be what I now view as accessory to economic and societal homicide because they view as too high the “risk” of living in a world where viruses kill the weak and the old, where nature ignores all concepts of fairness.

    All I ask of them, on the other hand, is to be responsible for their own fear and their own health, but if they insist that I be responsible for their catching a virus, then I get to call the shots on what they eat and how much they exercise if they want me to wear a mask. I think they would rather choose their own “risk” level of eating lousy food and letting themselves get out of shape. I will mind my own business IF they mind their own when it comes to me rejecting the mask.

    But of course, they think they’re smarter than me and that it gives them a moral right to steamroll my basic rights in the name of “for everyone!” A reckoning will be headed their way inevitably, it’s simple law of nature.

  • Andrew_W

    Your “transmissability of R=>2.5” is a projection.
    No, it’s the mid-range calculated figure for the pandemic that was observed in numerous countries before measures were taken t combat its spread.

    shown its existence, you need to explain why we should ignore it.
    It should not be ignored where the data is useful, for example: in reducing the number of people dying from Covid. How can practical use be made of it to do that?

  • janyuary

    Andrew …
    Gosh … I guess I missed the memo where there was much fundamental difference between a projection and a “mid-range calculated figure …”

    And I wonder at your so earnestly seeking a way to reduce an already very small number, in context, of “reducing the number of people dying from Covid,” especially when clearly the death count is corrupt because hospitals have a financial incentive for declaring a death Covid related no matter what?

    Honestly, what’s not right about you being responsible for your own health and fear, and letting the rest of Americans be responsible for their own? If you’re afraid, stay home and order out. Simple and considerate solution that troubles no one but yourself.

  • Andrew_W

    Gosh … I guess I missed the memo . . .
    you missed more than a memo, a projection is a forecast of the future, the transmissability figure is based on what actually happened.

    . . .especially when clearly the death count is corrupt . . .
    The US figures are in line with those in other nations.

    . . .what’s not right about you being responsible for your own health and fear, . .
    Do I need to point out the obvious? Evidently. Covid is a virus that gets passed from person to person usually without either person being aware that the transmission between them is happening. If a food producing company has a system failure and gives their customers serious food poisons, are you claiming the company has no liability because their customers should be held responsible for their own health? Should the company escape liability because they were unaware of the system failure at the time it happened?

    While buyer beware is a good principle, the buyer must have the capacity to be able to be aware for the principle to have any practical legitimacy. Sucker punching someone from behind doesn’t give you reasonable grounds to blame the victim.

  • Cotour

    Bad example: “If a food producing company has a system failure and gives their customers serious food poisons, are you claiming the company has no liability because their customers should be held responsible for their own health? ”

    There are no consumers here.

    People are now and have been fairly well educated now about the nature of the virus and can take responsibility for how they choose to behave regarding its existence. When you begin to think that the government is the know all and go to entity that you should rely on to make sure that you personally are or will be safe based on their edicts then you are not thinking properly.

    Individuals are responsible for their actions regarding everything they interact with, both voluntarily and involuntarily and the consequences that may result. Ultimately you suffer the consequences of your actions and choices in life, and so you are the ultimate judge. And then there are the times when things just happen, and you pay the consequences in that instance also.

    Never trust any government entity to the degree where you are willing to surrender all of your personal responsibility. Never.

    As to this virus? Be aware, wash your hands if you touch something, especially if someone else has touched it, don’t touch your nose or your eyes and stay generally away from others until this contagion burns itself out. Which I will assume will take about another year? And if you are forced to be in close proximity to others wear a mask. And make it your business to be aware and have a general knowledge of the virus intensity in your general area.

    I personally assume from what I can gather and what I see that a mask does not entirely control or contain the virus in ones breath, especially as they are worn by the public. But a mask may (?) interrupt the viruses ability to be projected in a more direct manner into the general environment and it would generally control particulate or larger droplets.

    By what percentage I am not certain. 20%? 50%? 0%? I am not certain but I assume to some degree.

    Do you need to wear a mask while walking outside on the street and there are no others generally around you? I do not believe so, I do not wear one. While riding a bike? I do not believe so. Inside your own auto mobile while driving? I do not believe so. When you go to the market? Wear a mask, this is the only time I wear a light neck gaiter / mask, no big deal. IMO its the staying generally away from others and washing of your hands and not touching your face that is the most effective preventative measure here. (And no French kissing strangers, Wayne :)

    The point here? No matter what any government entity says or does, YOU ultimately are responsible for your safety in most all and every situation. Why? Because you ultimately pay the price for your good or bad decisions, and even when you have absolutely no control over events. You pay the price.

    So be smart, and if you can’t be smart, then be lucky. I will take luck over smart if I have to choose.

  • wayne

    You can always be sure Andrew_W will take the opposite view.


    Brand new, nice little discussion on complexity, and the attempted modelling of such.

    Sean Carroll–Mindscape Ep 110
    “Neil Johnson on Complexity, Conflict, and Infodemiology”
    August 2020

  • Edward

    janyuary wrote: “Message conveyed by those who wear masks and practice social distancing: YOU are responsible for my health and my fear of virus, and I will be responsible for YOURS. YOU must accept that responsibility and my own responsibility FOR you. I will hold you accountable if I become sick after having you come too near to me unmasked.

    Not really. Everyone knows that masks don’t stop the spread of flu, and we have known it for decades. This is why germaphobes have not run around wearing masks, in America. As someone noted here on BtB, a month or so ago, if masks worked then everything would be open. We also would not have to worry about the elderly. Wearing a mask does nothing in relation to who is responsible for whose health.

    However, our leaders have stopped asking us to wash our hands, which has been known for a century and a half to be the most effective means of preventing the spread of disease, and now they demand that we wear masks, an ineffective means.

    One would think that they are not really interested in stopping the spread of Wuhan flu.

    But avoidance of conflict, of not wanting to hurt the feelings of frightened rabbits and so going along until it blows over (ha ha), is now becoming accessory to economic and societal homicide.

    Isn’t the saving of just one life worth the loss of liberty and the pursuit of happiness — economic and societal suicide — for a third of a billion people? Mayor de Blasio said so. Surely, any day now that life will be saved. We just have to keep watching Sweden to see when our rate of death drops below theirs. This could be difficult, because we are expecting a second wave and no one expects a second wave in Sweden.

    john hare, You wrote: “Re saving 43,000 deaths and and half a million serious injuries per year by banning cars in favor of mass transit. I see an equivalence with the Covid over reaction.

    You missed the part where we lockdown the population, shutdown the economy, and smackdown anyone who disobeys during a Great Oppression in the overreaction to automobile deaths. If fewer people went outside, then fewer would be killed or injured in mass transit accidents. This would most certainly stop the spread of death, right? Right?

    wayne noted: “You can always be sure Andrew_W will take the opposite view.

    It really does not matter whether the number was 40 or some other number, he still would have trolled us about it. And look! He got a whole bunch of us to respond to a point of no importance whatsoever.

    Well done Andrew_W. My hat’s off to you.

  • wayne

    Good stuff!

  • Andrew_W

    Cotour makes good points, while Edward and Wayne just resort to ad hominems.

  • wayne

    (I’m totally on record as saying I’d elect Edward to run my school-board, any day of the week. Hand him the keys & the budget, and still sleep at night.)

    Ref: “you can always be sure Andrew_W will take the opposite view.”
    That, is an ad hominen attack?
    Come on, you have a well earned reputation for being pertinacious! Do you not?

  • Andrew_W

    Wayne, more accurate; You can be sure I’ll say when I disagree and why. Your phrasing implies that I disagree for the sake of disagreeing, rather than because I express a genuine and (I think) soundly based rational opinion.

    Can you offer some way in which a cut-off age of 40 can reasonably be used in a strategy to reduce Covid deaths? Remember that the parents of most teenagers are 40+. So household mixing of the generations cannot be avoided.

  • Cotour

    Most problems in life and their solutions, like this Communist Chinese “Bat soup” contagion virus, are neither black nor white. And here is an excellent example of a political movement that attempts to make a paradigm shift in peoples every day common sense and reality, and an irrational judge that is on board with the agenda attempt to make a black or white decision for EVERYONE. And the rational, reasonable and fair answer is actually a shade of gray.

    For a political movement that is always preaching “Equality” and “Fairness” they believe nothing of the sort. Their strategy? Tell a lie long and often enough and eventually people will believe its the truth.

    They sound very much like someone else in history who was just as ambitious as he was, he had a funny little mustachio. I guess they are unable to see the parallels? How convenient.

  • Edward

    Pay a guy a compliment and congratulate him on his success at distracting so many people away from the article’s point, and he accuses you of ad hominem attack, as though he had made some profound point worthy of discussion rather than asking a meaningless question — and asking us this meaningless question rather than asking the article’s author (who answered the question in the very next sentence). At least he didn’t upset the chess board after winning the game; we don’t have to pick up the pieces. Point out the meaningless nature of his question, which the other replies to him also imply, and he says that you didn’t direct the comment against his point, even though pointing this out is a comment directed against his point.

    Getting back to — or at least closer to — the topic of Robert’s post:
    The reaction to the decline and end of the Wuhan flu epidemic is the same as the reaction to the end of global warming: Denial, and rather than celebrating that we have been saved, we have to double down on precautionary measures.

    Worldwide, weekly deaths have dropped precipitously, in the curve expected for not locking down, yet we are now required to be more vigilant than ever. Our rulers try to convince us that they are willing to reopen our countries, but as soon as another person gets a (false) positive for Wuhan virus — or strep, for that matter — then we are all closed down, again. We remain closed due to zero tolerance? Even to false alarms? Does that make sense to you? Many of us expect the lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression to end shortly after the November election, but New York City’s Broadway shows will be closed down until next spring (at least those actors have jobs as waiters — oh, wait). The better conditions become with respect to the disease, the worse the conditions become with respect to our lives, livelihoods, economy, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. At this rate, we will all be broke and living in individual bubbles by the time no one is dying of Wuhan.

    Now that we are at the end of the epidemic, we are subject to the most draconian measures, and the precautionary measures finally come long after it is too late for any precautions to be of any use.

    Punishments for not wearing the useless masks are cruel and unusual. What were the fines for deliberately sending ailing patients into populations of the most vulnerable? No fines. What were the fines for telling everyone to rush down to Chinatown to eat at a restaurant, stand in the crowd at the Chinese New Year parade, or hug a Chinese fresh off a plane (because it is supposedly racist to not do all these things)? None. However, the fines for not wearing useless masks is in the hundreds and even the thousands of dollars, maybe even prison time for murder. Not wearing a mask is murder, but sending ailing patients into nursing homes is not?

    When the experts rationalized the lockdown/shutdown, back in mid March, it was to last only three weeks in order to save forty thousand American lives by preventing our hospital system from being overrun. Without the temporary lockdown and shutdown, we would lose a hundred thousand lives, but only sixty thousand with the lockdown, they said. The expected overrun did not come close to happening, which should have been seen as the omen that it was: Wuhan is not as bad as expected. However, our panicking, power hungry leaders kept up the lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression for no scientific reason, and now, five months later, there are over one hundred thousand more dead Americans (175% more) than the experts said there would have been had we reopened after the initial three weeks — and there are still no criteria for reopening. Government actions and the directions given by government leaders have caused extra deaths.

    The Great Oppression has no victory over Wuhan flu in any way shape or form. It has been a failure of fiasco proportions. With luck, this part of history will be remembered, like the Trojan Horse or fascism, so it is never repeated. How do you make the Black Plague even worse? Quarantine together the healthy while shutting down the hospitals.

    You would think that we are smarter than this, but we should be looking for more than just character in our elected officials but for brains, too. There was a time when the smartest people went into business, the average went into science, and the stupid went into government, where they were harmless. Technology and society have become so complex that the stupid are dangerous no matter where we sequester them. Last century showed that the stupid people in government can destroy our cities (e.g. Detroit, the Democrats’s model city), this century showed that they could destroy science (e.g. climate science, either they fudged all the temperature data or they proved as bogus all the research prior to the fudging of the data), and this year showed that they can destroy society, healthcare, livelihoods, business, productivity, the entire economy, and even government revenues. Just how stupid is the politician or bureaucrat who destroys his own government’s revenue stream?

    Wait. Isn’t the destruction of all these what happened to every socialist and communist country to ever exist? Socialists and communists are now rife in many of our city, state, and federal governments.

    Here on BtB we keep getting skeptics when we note that Wuhan is mild as compared to other recent flus, and there are arguments that we should wear useless masks or continue worse-than-useless lockdowns — despite the evidence that just as many of the people who are locked down have contracted Wuhan flu as have the essential workers, who are out and about, riding subways that no one bothered to sanitize. Wuhan flu isn’t the worst flu in a century, as claimed. It only killed half a million, worldwide. The Asian flu got two million, and the Hong Kong flu got one million. If we point out that society greatly overreacted to this flu, someone on BtB comes along to claim that we don’t care about those who died, despite being far more concerned about them than were those who had told everyone to go to Chinatown, those who claimed that stopping flights from China was racist, and those who sent the ill into nursing homes.

    The precautionary principle may sound good, but the reality is that death rates were as high or sometimes higher in the countries that took more precautions, and the more precautionary the country the more likely it is that they fear a second wave. The unintended consequences of all this precaution is ever so much worse than the disease itself.

  • pzatchok

    We now have to ware proximity beepers at work to warn us of when we are too close to each other.

    Who thinks this is a bit to much?

    We are already in a clean room situation and use masks and surgical gloves at all times.

  • Edward

    Andrew _W’s question: “Why is there some significance being attached to the age of 40? Are the lives of those of us in our 40’s, 50’s, 60’s etc of a discounted value? If I were to assign some significance to the age of those dying I’d set it at retirement age.

    Can you offer some way in which a cut-off age of 40 can reasonably be used in a strategy to reduce Covid deaths?

    The author’s point had nothing to do with strategy creation but was to point out that treating Wuhan flu as an ordinary flu produces the same results as a lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression strategy.

    So, why does Andrew _W attach significance to the age of retirement? Are the lives of those in their 70s, etc. of a discounted value? Perhaps the significant age of those dying should be set at the average age of those who die of Wuhan flu. But then, are the lives of those older than that of a discounted value? In order to avoid discounting anyone’s life, we have to include everyone and set the age to infinity. However, doing this means that the author could not make any point at all based upon any data.

    Thus, Andrew _W’s question is meaningless, and we can see that his concern that those older than any age chosen for the analysis would leave out some lives that he would think were of discounted value, so he still would have trolled us.

    If searching for a strategy to reduce future flu deaths (Wuhan or otherwise), we can look to the U.S. for advice. Is this because America is the best? One fourth of all the world’s deaths occurred in the U.S., a population of less than 5% of the world’s population, so some of the things the U.S. did are clearly the wrong strategies. New York State had among the worst results of all the states, so I will concentrate on its strategies.

    Nursing Home strategy:
    Why is it that governments always ask themselves, “what is the stupidest thing we can do?” Then ask themselves, “how can we make that even stupider?” Does one really have to be a Democrat to send flu patients into concentrations of the most vulnerable? Nursing homes complained immediately that this was the worst thing that could possibly be done, but it took Governor Cuomo a month and a half to realize that his strategy was producing bad press for him. One does, however, have to be a Democrat to be stupid enough to still consider Cuomo as a Wuhan flu hero and give him a high favorability rating.

    One nursing home in Washington state had the first six or so deaths in America, as the Wuhan flu swept through the facility. One would think that we would have learned from that experience, but Cuomo is not as smart as we think he is, and we think he is stupid. A month later he populated New York nursing homes with Wuhan patients.

    Lockdown, Shutdown, Oppression strategy:
    The strategy in which the maximum number of people sacrificed the maximum amount in order to save forty thousand lives. Lives that were lost anyway, and then some, because of dreadful leadership. But would it have worked if it had been implemented as intended?

    New York reported that half the infections occurred in the locked down population. Not zero, not some small percentage, but half. Staying home doesn’t help at all. Considering the catastrophic consequences, this strategy is worse than a cluster bleep. What in the world is worse than a cluster bleep? Oh, that’s right: the nursing home strategy. While the rest of us sacrificed it all, our liberty, our livelihoods, our health, and our life savings, six or seven states were infecting entire nursing homes, negating all our sacrifices.

    As someone phrased it, months ago, never have so many sacrificed so much for so little [gain].

    Hug-A-Chinese strategy:
    In late February, a month after President Trump initiated the travel ban from China, Pelosi and de Blasio directed people to go to Chinatown for dinner and to celebrate Chinese New Year in large crowds. Three weeks later, Wuhan flu had become so bad that the lockdown, shutdown, Great Oppression strategy was implemented in San Francisco, and New York followed suit a few days later. Clearly, this strategy was a cluster bleep.

    Mandatory Mask strategy:
    Is it coincidence that infections soared as soon as masks were made mandatory? Considering that the general public does not handle masks in the same sanitary way as surgical staff and dental staff, this is hardly a surprise. This strategy is a fiasco.* Wearing a mask merely means that the victim — er — wearer breathes directly into his lungs whatever contamination is on his mask. This is the equivalent to spending hours and hours in close contact with an infected person. Considering the sanitation strategy, we should expect quite a bit of contamination on masks.

    Masks don’t even do the task we have assigned to them, otherwise we wouldn’t have the lockdown, shutdown, Great Oppression strategy. Despite this, some of our leaders have set oppressive punishments for not obeying this order.

    Sanitation strategy:
    Not bothering to clean subway trains and buses daily allowed for essential workers to contract the virus and to spread it around their work places, perhaps causing essential businesses to be shut down. This strategy greatly reduced the efficacy of the hand washing strategy. Epic fail. And yet, despite the lack of concern for the health of essential workers, half the infections still happened to those who were locked down.

    Greed strategy:
    Declaring everyone who died with Wuhan flu, choosing to suspect Wuhan flu, assuming Wuhan flu in order to collect more money from the federal government only results in a higher number of reported Wuhan deaths than were actually caused by the Wuhan flu. Now all we have from this strategy is corrupted data for comparing this flu with others and for determining future strategies. This strategy is a failure.

    Federal Assistance strategy:
    President Trump went to Herculean efforts to get the naval hospital ship, Comfort, to New York, since it was in the middle of a severe maintenance overhaul. Another Trump Herculean effort was to replace the ventilators that New York had gotten rid of, some years back (another stupid Cuomo decision). Less Herculean, but still impressive, was the temporary field hospital that Trump had built in Central Park. This strategy was a success, but New York barely used any of these resources, supplied at great cost and effort, because Wuhan flu is not a bad epidemic. Thus the success of this strategy is barely noticed and is not celebrated.

    Travel Ban strategy:
    Silicon Valley was the first place that reported a Wuhan flu case. This is hardly surprising, considering the size of the Chinese population in the county. Trump’s travel ban, despite objections by the Democrats, seems to have prevented the Silicon Valley from becoming as bad as New York, which continued to have travel from Wuhan-infected Europe for a few weeks longer. This strategy is a success, where used promptly. Even Obama indirectly advocated for this strategy, when he recently took credit for only two ebola deaths in the U.S., in which his own travel ban prevented many infected people from arriving from the outbreak area.

    Hand Washing strategy:
    What happened to this strategy? Our leaders stopped reminding us to do this when they started with the mask strategy, long before making masks mandatory. Hand washing and travel bans are modeled as being strategies, when combined, that reduces deaths by 90%. The model we followed told us that the expected 2.2 million deaths would be reduced to only 200 thousand.

    Come to think of it, Sweden implemented little more than the travel ban and hand washing strategies, and it did better than New York, complete with no fear of a second wave. The classical, traditional, tried and true defenses from disease turn out to be the best, and the draconian New York defenses are the worst.

    The article recommends that we learn from Sweden’s one mistake: protect the nursing homes better. Florida did this and has done reasonably well, considering that it is the Northeast’s retirement home. In searching for a strategy to reduce future flu deaths, we should look to Sweden for advice.

    * “A failure is simply the non-presence of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco … A fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions. A fiasco is a folktale told to others that makes other people feel more alive, because it didn’t happen to them.” — Drew Baylor “Elizabethtown”

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