A short interlude to discuss things that are going right about coronavirus in America

When news gets depressing, there's a real temptation to hide under a blanket and not come out.  This desire is especially true when, as here, half the country is less interested in solving the problem and more interested in trying to destroy a presidency.  No matter what Trump says or does, he's raked over the coals, and Americans are told he's an inefficient bungler.

Even as it reports on government failures, the Democrat establishment seems blind to the fact that bureaucracy is inherently inefficient.  This intellectual blindness means that the Democrats are using panic to insist that all aspects of American life, including American medical care, should be subsumed into this painfully inefficient bureaucracy.

Yet good things are happening, and they're driven not by government, but by ordinary people making smart decisions.  Except for decisions about toilet paper.  Those are all silly decisions.

At the micro-level, individuals are internalizing the new rules for public conduct.  For many years, I've seldom seen people taking advantage of the sanitizing wipes that stores have made available for swabbing shopping cart handles.  Being a germophobe, I've always used them, but I got used to stares from people who obviously thought I was silly.  Today, though, at a very busy Walmart, every single person who entered the store wiped his cart handle.  This is a cultural change, and people enthusiastically made it.

It's also excellent that institutions are closing.  Yes, school closures are disruptive for parents with young children.  Yes, as I can attest, when colleges and universities send students home for a few weeks or the rest of the semester, it's costly and disruptive for parents with college-age children.  It's going to hurt company bottom lines when the NBA shuts down, or when Disney theme parks and cruises shut down, or when other companies close their doors.

Make no mistake: shutting down these places is hugely important for slowing the coronavirus's spread.  Without future victims, viruses just slowly fade away.  By voluntarily dispersing crowds, we are slowing the disease.  To their credit, even Barack Obama and Vox reminded people just how important a short stint of social isolation is when compared to the troubles of a roaring epidemic:

The institutions making these decisions, therefore, are taking financial hits for the good of society.  If they can, they still pay their employees; if they can't, Trump has promised that society as a whole will help out.

We, the People, are always the front line in dealing with trouble.  Unless we want to have a brutal police state like China, which dragged possibly infected people away in the night, our government's response is always going to be a slow and ungainly, rather like a huge ship making a U-turn in rough waters.  However, unlike China, where the government kept the disease secret because doing otherwise would reveal its systemic problems, we're an open society, so people have been given the chance to respond to the situation.

Some time ago, during a podcast, Scott Adams stated a theory about panics that I hope I'm not about to bungle.  His theory, as I understood it, is that modern panics bring cures.

In the old days, people panicked, and that was all that they could do.  They did not understand germ theory; they did not know about viruses; and they could not create vaccines, treat symptoms, or come up with cures.  Panic was both the beginning and the end when it came to dealing with terrible things.

In the modern era, though, Adams noted that when we see a crisis coming, we are able to address it.  The Y2K panic is a clear example of our modern reactive abilities.  People raised the alarm, people got worried, and people figured out how to fix things.  We also got a handle on H1N1, although it killed a lot of people first (not that the media cared, because it didn't involve Trump).

No matter how much the Democrats complain, Trump did the most important thing he could when he blocked flights from China in January and started pushing the bureaucratic monster that is the federal government to work on the virus: he bought us time — time in which to sequence genomes, invent vaccines, work on treatments, and change American behavior.

Things are probably going to get worse, but the gift of time, when coupled with the American spirit, promises that no matter what happens here, it will not get as bad as it did in Italy or China.  Be smart; treat the outside world as dirty (so you need to stay clean); hunker down in your home if you can; and sing along with Gloria Gaynor when you wash your hands really, really well:

When news gets depressing, there's a real temptation to hide under a blanket and not come out.  This desire is especially true when, as here, half the country is less interested in solving the problem and more interested in trying to destroy a presidency.  No matter what Trump says or does, he's raked over the coals, and Americans are told he's an inefficient bungler.

Even as it reports on government failures, the Democrat establishment seems blind to the fact that bureaucracy is inherently inefficient.  This intellectual blindness means that the Democrats are using panic to insist that all aspects of American life, including American medical care, should be subsumed into this painfully inefficient bureaucracy.

Yet good things are happening, and they're driven not by government, but by ordinary people making smart decisions.  Except for decisions about toilet paper.  Those are all silly decisions.

At the micro-level, individuals are internalizing the new rules for public conduct.  For many years, I've seldom seen people taking advantage of the sanitizing wipes that stores have made available for swabbing shopping cart handles.  Being a germophobe, I've always used them, but I got used to stares from people who obviously thought I was silly.  Today, though, at a very busy Walmart, every single person who entered the store wiped his cart handle.  This is a cultural change, and people enthusiastically made it.

It's also excellent that institutions are closing.  Yes, school closures are disruptive for parents with young children.  Yes, as I can attest, when colleges and universities send students home for a few weeks or the rest of the semester, it's costly and disruptive for parents with college-age children.  It's going to hurt company bottom lines when the NBA shuts down, or when Disney theme parks and cruises shut down, or when other companies close their doors.

Make no mistake: shutting down these places is hugely important for slowing the coronavirus's spread.  Without future victims, viruses just slowly fade away.  By voluntarily dispersing crowds, we are slowing the disease.  To their credit, even Barack Obama and Vox reminded people just how important a short stint of social isolation is when compared to the troubles of a roaring epidemic:

The institutions making these decisions, therefore, are taking financial hits for the good of society.  If they can, they still pay their employees; if they can't, Trump has promised that society as a whole will help out.

We, the People, are always the front line in dealing with trouble.  Unless we want to have a brutal police state like China, which dragged possibly infected people away in the night, our government's response is always going to be a slow and ungainly, rather like a huge ship making a U-turn in rough waters.  However, unlike China, where the government kept the disease secret because doing otherwise would reveal its systemic problems, we're an open society, so people have been given the chance to respond to the situation.

Some time ago, during a podcast, Scott Adams stated a theory about panics that I hope I'm not about to bungle.  His theory, as I understood it, is that modern panics bring cures.

In the old days, people panicked, and that was all that they could do.  They did not understand germ theory; they did not know about viruses; and they could not create vaccines, treat symptoms, or come up with cures.  Panic was both the beginning and the end when it came to dealing with terrible things.

In the modern era, though, Adams noted that when we see a crisis coming, we are able to address it.  The Y2K panic is a clear example of our modern reactive abilities.  People raised the alarm, people got worried, and people figured out how to fix things.  We also got a handle on H1N1, although it killed a lot of people first (not that the media cared, because it didn't involve Trump).

No matter how much the Democrats complain, Trump did the most important thing he could when he blocked flights from China in January and started pushing the bureaucratic monster that is the federal government to work on the virus: he bought us time — time in which to sequence genomes, invent vaccines, work on treatments, and change American behavior.

Things are probably going to get worse, but the gift of time, when coupled with the American spirit, promises that no matter what happens here, it will not get as bad as it did in Italy or China.  Be smart; treat the outside world as dirty (so you need to stay clean); hunker down in your home if you can; and sing along with Gloria Gaynor when you wash your hands really, really well: