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County Hall Corner: Shutdown Ill-Logic

More than three million people are injured every year due to car accidents, with more than two million resulting in permanent injuries. There are in excess of 40,000 deaths due to car accidents every year. Where is the outrage? What can be done about such a horrible carnage of death and destruction? I have the

More than three million people are injured every year due to car accidents, with more than two million resulting in permanent injuries. There are in excess of 40,000 deaths due to car accidents every year. Where is the outrage? What can be done about such a horrible carnage of death and destruction?

I have the simple solution that would be guaranteed to work — a national speed limit of ten miles an hour. Now, I know some would scoff at this, but no one will get killed driving at ten miles an hour. That is bicycle speed. Sure, it would take us a lot longer to get from point A to point B, but that is the sacrifice we must make — if it saves a life, who can argue?

To those who claim this proposal will cripple our economy, we must ask, what is more, important than saving lives — getting your Amazon shipment a week later or saving Grandma? Of course, cars and trucks are designed to go much faster, and yes, everything will end up costing more. But we are in the midst of a national emergency, and these are just the sacrifices we must make. Millions of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in medical costs are at stake!

I hope it is obvious that this is a ridiculous proposal. Everyone can see that. Then perhaps someone can explain the difference in shutting down a national economy almost to a standstill to deal with a flu virus? Yes, it is serious, and many have come down with it, but virtually all of them recover.

To date, Pennsylvania has had 660,580 verified cases of COVID with 16,179 deaths. That means that even without factoring in the age disparity (where those over 70 are the most highly vulnerable), the survival rate is 99.975 percent. Across the entire US, the Center for Disease Control admits that the survival rate overall is approximately 99.5 percent, and for those under 70 years of age, it is 99.997 percent.

This is a horrible disease, no question, but as it is a novel virus, it will also run its course. The “science” that has dictated the isolation tactics has certainly mitigated some of the effects, to be sure, but has not significantly impacted stopping the spread of the virus or lowering the death rate. For example, Florida has a 96 per 100,000 people death rate from COVID (survival rate of 99.9 percent) and has practiced much less restrictive practices than high restrictive New York state, which is almost twice as high, 188 per 100,000 (survival rate of 99.8 percent).

The same thing is seen worldwide. Belarus, one of the most autocratic countries in the world, has surprisingly taken a rather laissez-faire attitude toward COVID and has the lowest death rate from the disease on the continent. The highest in Europe is Belgium, actually one of the highest fatality rates in the world, yet practices all the accepted standards of masking, social distancing, shutdowns, etc.

There are highly respected empirical studies that clearly show that globally there is no association, let alone causation, between lockdowns and COVID deaths. But what about the increased number of deaths in the United States in 2020? The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that noted that deaths attributed to COVID-19 only account for about two-thirds of the increase in deaths in the United States. The other one-third apparently comes from delaying medical care, economic hardships, emotional stress, and suicides. What could be causing those stressors? Is it the virus or the response to the virus that has created so many hardships that have ended lives?

Ten months ago, when we sought to “flatten the curve,” temporary shutdowns had some logic. But there is no logic now, only ideology. With (hopefully) an effective vaccine, we can begin to move on from a global financial catastrophe caused by political hubris armed with supposedly irrefutable scientific wisdom that has proven to be an emperor with no clothes.

One of the drumbeats from the Lycoming County Commissioners is that we must, absolutely must, get our businesses open and our people working again. However, the constraints come from high above and cannot be revoked without punishment in some form from the state for non-compliance. I am making it a daily habit of writing my governor (https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact) and would encourage others to do so. This nonsense must come to an end before we go over the cliff permanently.

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