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Corona Virus, what in the world?

Corona Virus CDC

Corona Virus CDCLike many of you,  I was caught completely off guard by the Corona Virus.  None of us want to see our fellow Americans suffer from a disease.  We’re being told, and we accept, that the Corona Virus (Covid 19) is highly contagious because humans have no existing antibodies to it.

While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, information out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk. (from the CDC)

The chance of someone with symptomatic Covid-19 dying varied by age, confirming other studies. For those aged 15 to 44, the fatality rate was 0.5%, though it might have been as low as 0.1% or as high as 1.3%. For people 45 to 64, the fatality rate was also 0.5%, with a possible low of 0.2% and a possible high of 1.1%. For those over 64, it was 2.7%, with a low and high estimate of 1.5% and 4.7%. (from 

Seemingly, the death rate most commonly mentioned now is 1.4%, which was based upon a study of the disease in Wuhan China.  One would think, that given the vast difference between health care in the United States and China, that figure is likely to be much lower here.

The response has varied by state and locality, but the interruption to  both the economy and people’s lives is startling.  Here in Georgia, public schools are closed, universities have cancelled both classes and graduation ceremonies.   Churches have stopped meeting, and there’s been a run on grocery stores.

Most of us want to do the right thing, and help our fellow citizens. As a result we will inconvenience and even add cost to ourselves in order to help.

If you ask any random person, “do you know ANYONE with Corona Virus?’  the answer will almost always be “no.”   So, all of our response thus far has been based on predictions and suppositions.

You hear the term, “err on the side of caution” when explaining our response.    I’m not here to necessarily criticize political leaders.  They’re caught in a difficult situation.  IF, they delay action,  then the press will castigate them.

Politics is downstream of our culture, and politicians generally respond to what the rest of us are putting in the  river. The press, looking for viewers and readers, is always prepared to hype any situation to this end.  In this case, given the press’ overall dislike of Donald Trump, they’re even happier than usual to hype the situation thinking it will damage him.

I think it worth considering however,  how valid the “err on the side of caution” philosophy actually is.  Georgia had 348 traffic deaths in 2019; Georgia has had ONE death from Corona Virus.  He was a 67 year old gentleman with underlying health issues.

If you strictly followed the “err on the side of caution” scenario that we’re applying to Corona Virus, shouldn’t we ban driving?   After all, those 348 deaths would  not have occurred if driving was disallowed, right?

I’ve made my living as an entrepreneur.  No entrepreneur follows an “err on the side of caution” philosophy.  Life is inherently risky, as is business, as are relationships.  If we were overly cautious we’d experience nothing of value.

I think in the midst of this crisis, it’s worthwhile to consider what we’re giving up.   We’re now allowing the government to dictate how we gather.  The argument is made that compliance is voluntary, but is it really?  It’s been said over and over that if people don’t do it voluntarily, then the government may have to force it.  Is that a threat?  Sounds like one.

One rule of governments is they almost never relinquish any power they’re allowed to assume.  History is replete with examples of this.  Here’s just one  example:  Do you know that it’s defacto illegal to carry large sums of cash on you?   Don’t think so?  Then get stopped in an airport with let’s say $100 grand on you.  It will be taken and you’ll be arrested.   Even if you then convince the authorities that you aren’t a criminal, and they release you, they will keep the cash.  You’ll have to go to court to get it back, and  there’s no guarantee that you will.

We allowed that kind of confiscation as an attempt to fight organized crime,  but it was broadened to cover everyone.  The government rarely relinquishes power.

Under the banner of fighting a pandemic, we’re now allowing unprecedented interference in our daily lives. We’re allowing the government to pick winners and losers in the market; imagine owning a restaurant in New York right now.   Is it worth it?  The question is at least worth asking.