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Pride and arrogance emerges from virus

The Center for Disease Control estimates that about 86% of the Wuhan Virus infections are transmitted by people who never got sick enough to go to the doctor. Do we know how many people were infected and asymptomatic? No, and we never will.

A disease’s contagiousness or transmissibility is represented by a metric known as the basic reproduction number (R0 or R naught). The derivation of R0 is described by the CDC as complex. “R0 is affected by numerous biological, sociobehavioral, and environmental factors that govern pathogen transmission and, therefore, is usually estimated with various types of complex mathematical models, which make R0 easily misrepresented, misinterpreted, and misapplied. These are the words of the CDC, not mine. Please remember this passage for later discussion.

So the models have calculated a high R0 for the Wuhan Virus. With such a high rate of contagion, we would expect a high percentage of the population contracting the disease. I remind you, because many of the virus infected are asymptomatic, we will never know the actual number.

So for arguments sake, let’s say 10 percent of the population has been infected. Not a very high percentage for such a high R0 value virus, but it will do to analyze the situation. As of April 30, 60,057 deaths have been attributed to the Wuhan Virus. I say attributed because in most cases, the virus may only have been a contributing factor to a victim with underlying health problems or not contribute to the case of death at all. In other words, not the lone cause of death, the victim merely tested positive.

With a population of 320 million people and a 10 percent infection rate, the mortality rate of the Wuhan Virus is .0018. That is a little less that two tenths of one percent. Heart disease and cancer have 10 times the mortality. The questions are, why did the politicians shut down the country and more importantly with all the data showing the disease is not nearly as dangerous as it was first portrayed, why is the country still shut down?

Well, there are three potential answers. The first is that blue state Democrats and the never-Trump RINO Republicans are using this as a tool to damage President Trump’s re-election chances. They see an outsider, like Trump, as a clear and present danger to the establishment political power structure that these career politicians have spent a lifetime building and becoming a part of. They see their grip on power slipping through their fingers and cannot fathom allowing that to happen no matter what the consequences might be for the country. You have to be pretty cynical to believe that for personal gain, these politicians would inflict the kind of pain on the country that this shutdown as wrought, but we must entertain the possibility.

The next possible reason is that these politicians have been advised that if they admit or even hint that the shutdown was a mistake, it would open the lawsuit floodgates that could potentially bankrupt these states. The damages to businesses, some of which may never recover, would overwhelm state budgets, especially those blue states that are already teetering on financial insolvency because of years of political mismanagement and unfunded liabilities. It would be political suicide, not only for the politician but also the political party, to have been at the helm of such a debacle.

I tend to believe that there is a simpler reason, human nature. It is most likely just because these people are embarrassed. It is difficult to admit to one’s errors, especially for those who trend towards narcissism which defines many who are drawn to politics. The strength of character it would take to acknowledge such a monumental error of judgement is beyond what most humans are willing and able to accept. To stand up and say “Oops I goofed, sorry my bad” in a situation such as this, affecting so many people, truly cannot be expected of these arrogant political creatures.

It must be particularly difficult for those who have proclaimed lifelong support of individual rights and the Constitution. To cast aside those beliefs and turn their backs on their own proclaimed principles, just to save face, must inflict massive sleep deprivation upon these individuals. That is, if they have a conscience.

And to make this ongoing nightmare plausible, are the scores of people who are still buying into this lunacy, even in the face of all the facts and statistics. While the percentage of believers is rapidly dwindling, there are still enough to bolster the political stubbornness of politicians like DeWine.

Perhaps there is one silver lining. This might just be the final nail in the coffin of basing public policy on computer models that have proven time and again to be so monumentally wrong. Remember Michael Mann’s hockey stick model that the enviro-Nazis used as the basis of their global warming hysteria (that they now are forced to refer to as climate change because there is no global warming). The model produced the same alarming graphic no matter what data you feed the computer. It was a hoax that created a cult-like group of believers. How is it that we still honor any model with even a modicum of validity? They are merely fancy computer-aided guesses and nothing more.

It is too bad we don’t have a way-back machine so these Wuhan Virus tyrants can address the colonists who were freezing and starving to death at Valley Forge; the patriots whose homes were burnt to the ground and families tortured; and to the prisoners who endured starvation, disease, and cruelty aboard British prison ships. Explain to them how avoiding the flu warrants erasing all the freedoms these men gave their lives to win for us.

Benjamin Franklin, when asked what kind of government the Framers had created replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” It looks as though we are failing miserably.

Jack Loesch is an area resident and Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Akron for the past 27 years whose columns appear periodically in the Salem News.

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