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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:A Cold War-Esque Experiment in 'Lockdowns'

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Michael Fumento again urges calm about the cornavirus pandemic in a piece at The New Criterion. As he did in an earlier piece, Fumento bases his reasoning on Farr's Law of Epidemics, which he argues:

... has precious little to do with human interventions such as "social distancing" to "flatten the curve." It occurs because communicable diseases nab the "low-hanging fruit" first (in this case the elderly with comorbid conditions) but then find subsequent victims harder and harder to reach. Until now, more or less, COVID-19 has been finding that low-hanging fruit in new countries, but the supply is close to running out. While many people assume that the draconian regulations implemented in China are what brought the virus under control, Farr's Law offers a different explanation. Even The New York Times admitted that South Korea recovered far more quickly with regulatory measures nowhere near the scale of China's -- although the Times still attributes that entirely to human intervention, of course, assigning no role to Mother Nature. [link in original, minor format edits]
Given that many public health experts are urging us to "flatten the curve," almost everyone will find the above paragraph hard to believe. (Assuming he is correct, we will know when the pandemic is slowing down, "when the death count begins to slow down." If he's wrong, I don't think we would know even that much. And it is hard to dismiss the idea that South Korea nipped its epidemic in the bud through testing and contact tracing before it got out of hand.)

That noted, Fumento offers an interesting piece of evidence that will remind old timers of comparisons of life on either side of the Berlin Wall back during the Cold War -- and everyone of satellite photos of Korea at night, with its south aglow and its north dark:
Image by NASA Earth Observatory, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Meanwhile, it's very difficult to assess the effectiveness of the restrictive measures blanketing most of the country. We know hermits don't get contagious diseases, but there's a reason the term "society of hermits" is an oxymoron. South Korea didn't need such drastic measures and Sweden hasn't used them, even as its neighbor Norway has been praised for early implementation. For its efforts, Norway has been rewarded with twice as many cases per capita and is suddenly suffering its highest unemployment rate in eighty years. [bold added]
Fumento's piece notes evidence that the epidemic is slowing down and offers timely comments on the situation in Italy.

In the meantime? American public health experts are preparing us for lockdowns at least until June.

-- CAV

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