Let's Get Back to Work
Updated: May 9, 2020
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem addressed the Covid-19 crisis recently and said something that no one else is saying, namely that as Americans, we are responsible for ourselves, and should take personal responsibility in this crisis. She still asks individuals and businesses to follow the guidelines put out by the president's virus task force, but puts the onus on us, rather than depending on big government to lead us around like children. This is a subtle but distinct difference from the mandates being placed on businesses and individuals, because while her executive order does require limiting gatherings to 10 or less people, provides latitude for businesses to determine how best to meet the guidelines, while allowing, "continued operation of the free market consistent with CDC recommended hygiene practices…"
For those of you following this blog, the growth in new cases and fatalities from Covid-19 continue to track with the projections I have made, which continue to anticipate 20,000-40,000 deaths and a significant decline in new cases by the end of the month. The president's Covid-19 task force uses a model prepared by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). It's projections of cases and deaths have been wildly exaggerated, forecasting anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths.
This week, the IHME lowered its predictions twice, now projecting about 60,000 deaths by August of this year. This is much more in line with what my estimates predict. We should not be surprised to see further declines from IHME as new caseload data comes in. Other projections about needed ICU beds and ventilators have also come down substantially. Even in New York, the epicenter of the disease, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly reported that things are looking much better than they originally thought, though the total fatalities in New York currently account for almost half of the U.S. total. When all is said and done, New York will still claim the lion's share of casualties.
For the state of Maryland, the IHME model predicts 1,094 deaths by early August, and few, if any, after that. My predictions are half of that or less. So to summarize, things are looking up.
Additionally, we are getting to know more and more about the disease as time progresses. Dr. David Price of New York's Cornell Medical Center has been working on the front lines in NYC. He says that it is difficult to get the disease by aerial transmission. In a long video to family and friends he says corona is everywhere throughout our communities. Dr. Price says unless you are in close quarters with someone coughing or sneezing like he is every day, the only way you get the disease is by touching something or someone infected then rubbing your face with your infected hands. So keeping hands clean and not touching your face is the most important. He suggests wiping everything you touch with a disinfectant when you go out. He also suggests wearing a mask. Not because it prevents disease, but because it tends to prevent you from rubbing your face.
The slowdown in Covid-19 spread occurred because we did suspend activities that would put us in close contact with the disease, and practiced "social distancing". But it is highly questionable that we needed to go as far as we did, and at the very least, we should be able to at least partially reopen our economy. Why, for example, is it okay for grocery stores, Walmart, Lowes and other "essential" businesses to stay open, while those deemed "nonessential" are forced to close, despite the fact that their customer profile looks essentially identical? Retail stores and businesses for example, should be able to reopen, as long as people take personal responsibility and practice recommended hygiene and distancing. Those businesses that rely on many customers commingling in close quarters, for example a bar or restaurant, should remain closed or provide limited services.
We will be out of this shortly, and we should be grateful we had such a good leader to navigate the dangerous shoals of this problem that change every day. As the Covid-19 outlook has improved, President Trump has repeatedly expressed his concerns about the need to restart the economy. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin acknowledged Tuesday that the president is now exploring options to do that, and added that Americans should be getting a check in two weeks.
Meanwhile, we have private groups amplifying the message to reopen the economy. The Club for Growth has come out with its own recommendations. Trump economic advisor Steven Moore publicized Issue #3 in his Unleash Prosperity Hotline from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Finally, the Heritage Foundation has launched a National Coronavirus Recovery Commission. You can even offer your own suggestions about how best to do that HERE.
So there is a lot of movement. Fortunately we have a president who reacts in real time and many of us in the movement willing and able to help shape the direction as issues arise. I am part of that movement and am your best choice to represent the people of Maryland in District 2. Please support my campaign!