Response to Some Comments

By March 28, 2020 Commentary

First, to those expressing outrage that it should even be suggested that a balancing of harms is in order, I would again refer you to Thomas Friedman, the native Minnesotan, and well-respected New York Times columnist, who has made exactly the same point.  Here is the link to his column again.  (Friedman column)

To the same group, here are current figures.  Infections in Minnesota, from positive testing results–398.  Deaths in Minnesota–4.  Jobs lost in Minnesota, over 300,000.  The first two numbers will definitely go up.  So will the third.  Out of that 300,000; there will be suicides, there will excess deaths due to deferred health care and stress-induced illness exacerbation, there will more divorces, more child abuse, more spousal abuse, more homelessness, more food insecurity, more mental illness.  How can people be so callous to the plight of those 300,000 people and what is happening to them and think that the harm to them shouldn’t be considered?

To those who say it is about money versus lives, please read carefully and think about what you are saying.  It is about jobs; it is about someone’s livelihood and their families; it is about all those harms I listed above that are attendant upon losing a job.  If you aren’t worried about losing your job or are retired and have sufficient income, have a little empathy for those who are losing one.

To those who actually offered some factual and analytic perspective, thank you.

To those who went after the Diamond Princess example, no passengers were quarantined until long after there had been constant exposure to the virus.  Infection rates on the ship were actually higher than we see in the real world, reflecting that level of exposure.  As I tried to explain, you would have to adjust the infection and death rates there for population characteristics and other factors, so those rates of illness and death would be much lower in the real world.  No point in going through the detailed math, but if you adjust the Diamond Princess rates just by the appropriate population distribution, the resulting rates are much lower.  The current actual death rate from coronavirus (and please read the post about death rates) in the United States is 5 per million.  330 million people in the country, so currently around 1650 deaths.  That per capita rate will definitely go up.  Let’s assume it goes to Italy’s, the current highest in the world at 140 deaths per million people.  It won’t do that, and there are problems with Italy’s reported rate, but let’s use it.  46,200 deaths in the United States, a bad flu year and only somewhat more than the 39,000 people who died in car accidents last year.  Should we ban all driving?

To those who are going after the ad and site on Twitter or wherever, might as well save your fingers, I don’t use any social media even though posts are linked to a page there.  And I would note that the people I am most concerned about speaking for, the low-income and minority workers who are disproportionately being laid off, aren’t generally on Twitter or social media.  They are too busy worrying about where they and their families are going to get their next meal.

To those who think I am some kind of whacko reactionary or communist, both of which I got, see the next point below, but also, please actually read the posts and it will be apparent I don’t belong to a political party, I am not offering information on the basis of conservative or liberal or democrat or republican.  I could care less and it is lazy to be constantly trying to lump every individual into a bucket so that you can just mindlessly either dismiss what they say or agree with it.  My criticism of the Minnesota Governor isn’t because of political party or philosophy, he seems like a decent enough person; it is a criticism of his judgment in issuing his order and his apparent use of inaccurate and misleading information to justify that action.

To those who only had insults to offer, appreciate your intellectual limitations and that you are apparently not capable of actually reading a post or ad and offering some factual or analytic comment that might help me and others get new useful information or understand a different perspective. Not your fault, intelligence is largely genetic.

Leave a Reply