China is all in for shutting down the US economy over COVID

Xinhua News Agency, a state-run outlet of the People's Republic of China, reported on July 25 that "Over 150 U.S. experts urge decision makers to shut down country before starting over."  Beijing would love to see its strategic rival the United States shut down again and is happy to promote those who share its goal.

For its part, China claims to be the first major economy to return to growth since the pandemic started.  Despite being the origin of the coronavirus, it has simply declared victory and gotten back to work.

These larger issues that have been left out of the equation when so-called experts have focused narrowly on COVID-19 and taken no responsibility for the wider, more costly consequences of their mandates.  That is why health officials should be in only an advisory role, among those from the many other fields that reflect human activity.  The power to make decisions that affect the entire county, state, or nation must be in the hands of those who understand that their duty is to look at the bigger picture and assay the total costs of their actions.

Consider the sensationalism when the number of official coronavirus cases topped 4 million.

First, put that number into perspective.  There are over 200 million adult Americans, so the official infection rate of this allegedly highly contagious disease over six months is only 2 percent of the adult population.  And for this, we threw more than 10 percent of the workforce into unemployment at the peak of shutdowns in late April.  The negative multiplier effects have plunged the country into a recession, when, before the virus scare, we were setting new records in an economic boom.

Our response has been disproportionate in the extreme.  Despite some recovery, there are still some 14 million people claiming unemployment benefits based on the pandemic.  And the huge debts, business failures, pent up violence, and lost output will long haunt us.  Those are just the economic costs; the social costs are even higher.

I know only one person who has gotten the Wuhan flu.  It was not pleasant, and she missed over a week of work but quickly recovered.  Her real concern is that she might be laid off.  She says unemployment would do her much more harm than the flu, an assessment most people would make.  We should be trying to minimize collateral damage from the pandemic, not harming as many people as possible.

About 150,000 people have died from causes associated with the virus.  While double the normal toll from the other strains of flu we suffer every year, the low mortality rate is about the same for those infected.  COVID-19 is not the plague.  We are so used to flu season that even though flu shots are readily available (and often free), less than half of adults bother to get them. 

The Wuhan flu is worse because it is new, but not so much worse as to warrant the panic that has gripped us with such widespread disruption.  It is not the Spanish Flu, which killed 650,000 Americans a century ago, when our population was less than half what it is today.  Yet we have no collective memory of that epidemic because we did not allow it to shut down society.  We took it in stride, and history marched on.  Every death is a personal tragedy whatever the cause, but policymakers must consider the country as a going concern upon which we all depend.  The aim must be to overcome adversity, not give in to it.

We must accept that the flu will run its course.  The measures imposed have had little effect even on slowing it down, though its natural pace has not been that swift despite media alarms about "surges" and "hot spots."  Those who are particularly vulnerable should take precautions, but the rest of us need to get back to normal.  Acting as if we were all ill when in fact hardly any of us is is not prudent; it is debilitating.  The paranoia of masks and social distancing makes everyone we encounter seem like a threat.  The cancelation of sporting events, concerts, movies, weddings, conventions, funerals, and celebrations have broken our collective bonds and weakened our cohesion as a people.  Again, the costs are way out of proportion to the alleged benefits, which have proven illusionary at best.  Those mostly Democratic governors and mayors who are keeping their productive citizens in bondage while allowing destructive mobs to run wild are presenting a dystopian future that is truly appalling.  Cue Mad Max.

The Chinese regime (and other foes) are no doubt encouraged by seeing the most sophisticated people in the world so easily stampeded by irrational fear that they rip their society apart.  This is the fever we need to bring down.  It is time to recover our spirit, to get back to work, back to school, and back to life.  These are the keys to recovering from the pandemic and healing the disaffection of our people.

William R. Hawkins is a widely published author and activist with a long career in academics, think-tanks, and national government.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.

Xinhua News Agency, a state-run outlet of the People's Republic of China, reported on July 25 that "Over 150 U.S. experts urge decision makers to shut down country before starting over."  Beijing would love to see its strategic rival the United States shut down again and is happy to promote those who share its goal.

For its part, China claims to be the first major economy to return to growth since the pandemic started.  Despite being the origin of the coronavirus, it has simply declared victory and gotten back to work.

These larger issues that have been left out of the equation when so-called experts have focused narrowly on COVID-19 and taken no responsibility for the wider, more costly consequences of their mandates.  That is why health officials should be in only an advisory role, among those from the many other fields that reflect human activity.  The power to make decisions that affect the entire county, state, or nation must be in the hands of those who understand that their duty is to look at the bigger picture and assay the total costs of their actions.

Consider the sensationalism when the number of official coronavirus cases topped 4 million.

First, put that number into perspective.  There are over 200 million adult Americans, so the official infection rate of this allegedly highly contagious disease over six months is only 2 percent of the adult population.  And for this, we threw more than 10 percent of the workforce into unemployment at the peak of shutdowns in late April.  The negative multiplier effects have plunged the country into a recession, when, before the virus scare, we were setting new records in an economic boom.

Our response has been disproportionate in the extreme.  Despite some recovery, there are still some 14 million people claiming unemployment benefits based on the pandemic.  And the huge debts, business failures, pent up violence, and lost output will long haunt us.  Those are just the economic costs; the social costs are even higher.

I know only one person who has gotten the Wuhan flu.  It was not pleasant, and she missed over a week of work but quickly recovered.  Her real concern is that she might be laid off.  She says unemployment would do her much more harm than the flu, an assessment most people would make.  We should be trying to minimize collateral damage from the pandemic, not harming as many people as possible.

About 150,000 people have died from causes associated with the virus.  While double the normal toll from the other strains of flu we suffer every year, the low mortality rate is about the same for those infected.  COVID-19 is not the plague.  We are so used to flu season that even though flu shots are readily available (and often free), less than half of adults bother to get them. 

The Wuhan flu is worse because it is new, but not so much worse as to warrant the panic that has gripped us with such widespread disruption.  It is not the Spanish Flu, which killed 650,000 Americans a century ago, when our population was less than half what it is today.  Yet we have no collective memory of that epidemic because we did not allow it to shut down society.  We took it in stride, and history marched on.  Every death is a personal tragedy whatever the cause, but policymakers must consider the country as a going concern upon which we all depend.  The aim must be to overcome adversity, not give in to it.

We must accept that the flu will run its course.  The measures imposed have had little effect even on slowing it down, though its natural pace has not been that swift despite media alarms about "surges" and "hot spots."  Those who are particularly vulnerable should take precautions, but the rest of us need to get back to normal.  Acting as if we were all ill when in fact hardly any of us is is not prudent; it is debilitating.  The paranoia of masks and social distancing makes everyone we encounter seem like a threat.  The cancelation of sporting events, concerts, movies, weddings, conventions, funerals, and celebrations have broken our collective bonds and weakened our cohesion as a people.  Again, the costs are way out of proportion to the alleged benefits, which have proven illusionary at best.  Those mostly Democratic governors and mayors who are keeping their productive citizens in bondage while allowing destructive mobs to run wild are presenting a dystopian future that is truly appalling.  Cue Mad Max.

The Chinese regime (and other foes) are no doubt encouraged by seeing the most sophisticated people in the world so easily stampeded by irrational fear that they rip their society apart.  This is the fever we need to bring down.  It is time to recover our spirit, to get back to work, back to school, and back to life.  These are the keys to recovering from the pandemic and healing the disaffection of our people.

William R. Hawkins is a widely published author and activist with a long career in academics, think-tanks, and national government.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.