Free market a far better manager of coronavirus than the political class

From The Straits Times Archives: Past 'mass hysteria' cases in ...

As states across America were coming to grips with ‘flattening the curve‘ of COVID-19 through punitive mandated lockdowns, who knew that coronavirus cases would surge after protestors assembled after the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020?

New Cases

The same goes for the state of Victoria in Australia. While Premier Dan Andrews openly punished and heavily fined those who dared to play golf, sail or walk in a park, he turned a blind eye to public protests where little social distancing could be practised. Now he is reaping what he sowed. As much as we dislike the deeply socialist policies pushed by Andrews, the reaction is none-the-less absurd.

20.5% of all Victorians have been tested. 0.44% of those tested have returned positive to COVID19! That means 99.56% of those tested are fine. How does the media rationally look at the data? The headlines read “New Record Hit.” So what? Could it be that telling the public 99.56% of those tested are returning negative results won’t drive ad revenue? Best focus on the minuscule and blow it out of proportion.

Should we cynically view editors as expediently casting aside all the lessons on journalistic ethics and integrity in order to push clickbait that fits a narrative, regardless of who is affected?

Worse, politicians – who live in fear of the 24-7 news cycle – cower behind medical experts who have given nothing but wildly inaccurate forecasts to the detriment of the economy. Now that a ‘second wave’ is imminent, lawmakers are only too eager to double down on all of the mistakes made at the beginning.

When are we going to grow a collective pair and stand up to this nonsense? It is not hard to work out that the more we test, the more we detect.

Why aren’t politicians just making it clear that the pandemic will outlast the economy if we choose to let it? Why doesn’t the government conduct daily press briefings on suicide, motor vehicle accidents or the flu? In the US, twice as many people die each year from medical errors than have died so far from COVID. Where are the daily updates? Where are the media reporting these updates?

There is absolutely no attempt to be balanced. Of the 3.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, this is still around 6% of the 60 million who contracted H1N1 swine flu under the previous administration. Orange man bad. Let’s jettison context and perspective.

19 Jul COVID deaths

In the chart above we tally a list of COVID-19 deaths in Australia and the US by state.

NY has the highest number by a factor of two. Even though NY Gov Cuomo thinks he has been the most effective at handling the crisis. Never mind the number of deaths that resulted from his direct policy to put infected patients into nursing homes.

Pop Tested Corona

Let’s look at some more data – 13% of Americans have been tested as of July 20th. Of that, only 9% have tested positive to coronavirus. New York has tested a quarter of its residents and returned 8.5%.

Infection as % test

Yet death rates are far from scary in the US. New Jersey has the worst rate of 0.17683% deaths vs the state population. New York is marginally lower at 0.16549%. That means 99.8% of those living in these states haven’t died from it. In Hawaii, 99.998% haven’t succumbed.

Come to think of it, why haven’t the Australian mainstream media bashed Tasmania for having more deaths per head of population than Victoria? Where is the narrative shaming Taswegians?

deathsbtstate

The infections data in NY are at 2%. So 98% of people aren’t knowingly infected. 99% of South Dakotans aren’t infected either.

infect

We know we are well off finding a vaccine. So the more panic porn the media indulges in, the worse it will ultimately be for them too. They will be killing the golden goose. The economy can’t survive with well over half the workforce being subsidized by the government. Prudent risk management is the order of the day.

Politicians need to step up and push back. Reintroducing lockdown laws and pulling up the draw bridge at the border are kneejerk, one-size-fits-all approaches which only expose how hopelessly equipped the political class are at handling crises.

Premier Andrews has demanded that people must wear masks. He openly encouraged people to make their own if need be. Wear a tea cosy? Essentially what he is saying is that mask efficacy is utterly irrelevant. Only the gesture is required. So what is the point?

Perhaps we just need to reflect on our own behaviours. Sure most of us squirt some sanitizer if we see it and politely keep our distance by standing on dots stuck to the floor but it is dawning on many of us that the risk/reward ratio is getting ridiculous. Anyone with half a brain could see that BLM protests would cause a spike in cases.

Remember when people became panicked about flying after 9-11? It was only when cheap airfares were offered that the free market was able to coax travellers to risk their lives for $25 return to WhoopWhoop.

Therein lies the answer. The free market will be a far better manager of coronavirus than the political class. Let stores decide on mask policies or seating arrangements. If customers don’t show up they must innovate in ways to attract them. Necessity is the mother of invention, not incompetent elected officials telling us they know better. They simply don’t.

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