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“We quarantined the healthy, and we exposed the sick.”

According to Jay Bhattacharya, director of both the Program on Medical Outcomes and the Center on the Demography and Economics of Health and Aging at Stanford University, the decisions made by most governments during the past six months in reaction to the Wuhan virus made no sense, and actually acted to worsen the epidemic.

“We essentially, in effect, exposed people who were at high risk in nursing homes, in assisted care facilities, elderly populations,” Bhattacharya said. “We essentially, in the early days of the epidemic, did the inverse of the right policy.”

“We quarantined the healthy, and we exposed the sick,” he added.

The professor noted that the World Health Organization, early on in the pandemic, suggested that the death rate for the disease might be as high as 3.4%, significantly higher than that of seasonal influenza. Revised estimates have put that rate as low as 0.26%, though some studies have put it closer to 0.5%. [emphasis mine]

The mortality rate for the flu is generally estimated at about 0.1%, so the Wuhan virus is higher, but really not by much. Moreover, these new estimates are much closer to what could have been gleaned from the early data, data that the WHO and many other government health officials ignored in favor of unreliable models. More important however is that, when compared to the flu, the data today suggests that COVID-19 is less dangerous to the healthy population, and a greater risk to the elderly sick, which once again shows that quarantining the healthy population (the lock downs) makes no sense. It only slows the arrival of herd immunity, giving the virus more time to reach the vulnerable population.

Conscious Choice cover

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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.


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  • Five times more is much more. Sequestering the healthy had the effect of reducing the practical susceptibility of the population. This is why the initial peak peaked. The latter peak show that there were remaining susceptibles that weren’t spread to during the first wave because of those transmission breakages caused by the social distancing. I believe that the latter peak was the result of people becoming more lax.

    The following video helps illustrate how epidemics work and how different interventions change things:

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “The mortality rate for the flu is generally estimated at about 0.1%, so the Wuhan virus is higher, but really not by much.

    The mortality rate for theWuhan flu may not be as high as reported, since in most years we do not actively expose the sick, as we did this year. Most years, the sick are protected, but this year several states actively sent ailing patients into the heart of the most vulnerable, causing more deaths per infected person than happens most years, skewing the data and making this flu seem worse than it actually is.

    In addition, incentives to include more people onto the rolls of Wuhan flu victims artificially raised the number of reported Wuhan deaths. This reaction to the Wuhan flu and the horrific decision to send the ill into nursing homes have corrupted the data so much that we cannot use the data to make rational decisions for what to do in following years, as we continue to believe that the Wuhan flu is worse than it actually is.

  • Edward

    What he failed to model was the result of the lockdown mandate is to artificially create the conditions of the worst time of year: winter. Everyone stays indoors more and that long term close proximity and exposure is well known to be the major reason for the spread of flus. This is why winter is flu season. His model failed to take into account families congregating indoors for extended periods of time. His model assumed each contact had an equal chance of transmission rather than take length of exposure into account. How long are we exposed to an infected person at the grocery store as opposed to being locked in a house with an infected person?

    The video may look like a good model to base decisions upon, but the reality is that it failed to model society in its reality or to model the lockdowns that we are still suffering. Interestingly, his model showed that if we avoid the flu the first year, then we suffer it the second. How many years are we as a society supposed to remain in lockdown, shutdown, smackdown, Great Oppression in order to reduce the number of infections, and what does that do to us in future years when there is the next outbreak?

    You wrote: “I believe that the latter peak was the result of people becoming more lax.

    However, the laxness began in May and the latter peak began in July a few weeks after the mask mandates came in and two months after the laxness. The second peak in more correlated to and more likely caused by the mask mandate than the laxness in the lockdown.

    My suspicion is that the disease fell in May because people got themselves out of the infection zones, the indoors, and started spending time in the safe zones, the outdoors. The masks have two downsides and no upsides for the spread of the flu, because as our experts continually told us, they don’t prevent the spread.

    Downside number one: Unlike doctors and dentists in relatively sterile environments, the general population abuses their masks by contaminating them during use and between uses. Doctors use them a single time, as intended, but the public continually touch and contaminate their own masks and reuse them multiple times. Once they contaminate their own mask, then they are continuously breathing in the contamination as though they were in close contact with an infected person for hours.

    Downside B: Because our experts told us to wear masks as virtue signals (those who wear them are more virtuous than those who avoid getting infected by their own masks), those feeling more virus than others may get a false sense of security and reduce their own vigilance against infection, increasing the chance that they contaminate their own masks.

  • Andrew_W

    Thanks for the link Dougspace, the lock-down measures are reasonably well illustrated in his examples of limiting travel between communities – think of it as limiting travel between households. The prevalence of flu in winter, from what I’ve seen, is mainly due to the virus surviving longer at cooled temperatures with less sunlight, in this household we sleep under the same roof and usually eat at the same table summer or winter.

    Obviously because of the near geometric rate that the virus spreads, the initial infection of a relative few doesn’t immediately translate into wholesale population infection, rather it takes a month or two from the initiation of community spread for the numbers infected to get really large.

    Of course Northern or Southern Hemisphere, the lock-downs or the laxness around them show similar rates of spread, independent of the seasons.

    I question the 0.5% claim, I suspect that despite many people in the US believing that the most vulnerable have not been protected from exposure to a greater extent than the wider population, in reality they have largely been protected, that the lower CFR of the second “wave” in the US is a product of those efforts. A clearer picture of the true IFR given poor efforts to protect the most vulnerable can be seen in the Australian state of Victoria, where CFR’s are far higher than in the earlier wave due to failure to protect the most vulnerable to a much greater extent than the wider population – but still not having them more exposed to the virus than the wider population.

  • m d mill

    Anyone (excluding nursing home “inmates”, or convicts) who wants to lock-down/quarantine themselves can do so VERY effectively without forcing lock-down/quarantines upon others, or devastating the economy/society. Especially since most privately owned shopping/grocery centers voluntarily require masks (these SHOULD be specified as good low leakage masks) of all patrons/employees the probability of getting infected there and then dying is extraordinarily small, much smaller than death from other common means (VERY few infections occur between strangers when reasonable masking and/or social distancing is implemented, even during the PEAK of an outbreak–see Taiwan, S. Korea, Hong Kong, and other “good-mask wearing” societies ), or you can wear an N-95 mask and gloves yourself regardless of the masking of others [unfortunately N-95 masks are not commonly available, which is the greatest failing, and most important response of all during an outbreak]. An even better compromise is that masks are perhaps required between 4 am and noon in public areas specifically for people who are concerned/vulnerable to infection, but not required otherwise for those who are not. Private restaurants/bars etc in particular could be open mask free anytime to anyone who wishes to go, as these are not vital activities…let the patron be free to decide.

    If you are then infected you have no one to blame but your self and the virus. You can quarantine yourself (and safely do necessary shopping, vital engagements,etc.) without dictating the devastation of the economy or broader society with mandated lock-down/quarantine.

    Good-masks do work to reduce transmission rates significantly in all cases (which is why doctors and nurses use them in infection wards, obviously), and they are irritating , and any mandated usage should be discontinued after the local infection rate drops below some reasonable threshold, all without the need for mandated lock-down/quarantines and the resultant economic/social devastation.

    This is a compromise between those who support total societal lock-downs, and those who argue for no extraordinary response at all. Note, the death rate of infected elders is MUCH higher for Covid-19 than “ordinary” flu (over 500%!). The singular spike in total deaths per week throughout 2020 compared to previous years makes this clear.

    The virtually zero death rate/day in Sweden now is a stunning result, all without need of a questionable vaccine or lock-down (vaccines don’t work well in the sick elderly). And their death total could have been greatly reduced by requiring better protocalls in their nursing home facilities and private quarantines (as described above) of the extremely sick/elderly. Over 66% of all Swedish covid-19 deaths were over the age of 80 years, and most in nursing facilities! Most Swedish officials now admit to being a bit too laissez-faire in their initial approach.

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