The government response to the Coronavirus outbreak brings new meaning to a famous phrase uttered just prior to the Revolutionary War by Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death”. The government is making it sound like you literally have to choose between your liberty or your life. This, for a virus that has a reported fatality rate of less than 2% of the people that we know that it infects. We only have data for the people who are tested for it and confirmed to have this coronavirus.
Everybody needs to understand when listening to statistics about this current pandemic outbreak that it is a still emerging outbreak. That means that the numbers are going to be constantly changing as this pandemic goes on. For example, the contagion rate for this virus seems very suspect to me. They say it has a five to six times contagion rate, but that’s based on the number of people we are seeing being tested and coming back positive for the COVID-19. That contagion rate is always going to be higher in the beginning of an outbreak than the final number will end up being. How many people that are being tested are cases of people who have already been infected versus the ones that are actually new cases of infection? That is something that researchers will be able to get an early glimpse at in China now that they are starting to lift the restrictions on their society, which they implemented to curb the spread of the virus. Do the number of new cases start to rise again in China as life returns to normal or are they out of the woods?
Same thing with the fatality rate. Right now, the less than 2% reported fatality rate associated with this virus is based off of numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus, not the number of actual cases. Does that number plummet even further when you factor in actual cases? Is the authoritative shutting down of society that we are seeing worldwide, and especially here in America making a difference in the spread of a virus that severely effects a small percentage of people it infects?
Furthermore, there is a professor of emerging infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who has developed a drug to help treat coronavirus illnesses that has shown some effectiveness against MERS and SARS that China has apparently used to help treat patients infected with the disease. Data on the effectiveness of the drug on this current strain of the coronavirus treatment in China won’t be available until at least next month, but one thing is for sure, the negative effects of the drug is minimal, so using it in America poses little danger to the American populace.
Instead of devoting a considerable amount of resources and efforts into locking down society and restricting the free flow of movement in our country, the government should have spent those resources and efforts to ensure that hospitals and medical treatment facilities had testing supplies available. They should have also made treatment supplies available for the most severe symptoms that the virus causes in the most vulnerable populations of society.
Which brings us to the final question for today: was tanking the economy and issuing authoritative directives to private businesses and individuals the right response to this pandemic? Was prevention over treatment the better response?
I contend that it was not.
Obviously, the government should have spent its early resources and efforts ensuring that vulnerable populations are protected. That means that the government should have immediately ramped up testing for travelers on airplanes, buses, trains, and cruise ships, especially when this virus first started to emerge. The government should have also issued an order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and hospitals. These steps along with travel restrictions to and from areas of known virus outbreaks would have gone a long way in protecting the vulnerable populations of America. The government should get out of the regulatory way of the companies that are working on vaccines and medicines to treat COVID-19. The government should have spent its considerable resources and efforts ramping up production of that drug here in the United States and building stockpiles of that drug so that it could be distributed to the patients that are infected with the disease as well as the healthcare professionals treating patients with this disease as needed. Also, the government should have invoked the National Defense Production Act to immediately start production of necessary medical equipment to ensure that that equipment would start becoming available when it was going to be needed the most.
But we didn’t do that.
Now we are going to spend trillions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money bailing out Wall Street, banks, big businesses, and industries affected by this outbreak. We’re also going to spend a considerable amount of resources getting money into the hands of the people most economically affected by this outbreak, and the people who were least prepared financially to handle it. So the effects of this outbreak will be felt for years to come, if not generations to come if you factor in the Debt we will be leaving our children.