COVID Common Sense? Or Covidiocy?

Mick Staton thinks it’s time to apply some “common sense” to Virginia’s coronavirus response. From the Bull Elephant:

In just over four months the number of confirmed covid-19 cases in Virginia has reached nearly 89,000.  Of those confirmed cases,  a little over 2,100 people have died [over 2200 now].  We can argue about inflated death numbers or under-counted people who have the virus but have never been tested all we want, but all of that is pure speculation, and cannot be quantified or counted.  People who feel sick are getting tested.  If you don’t feel sick and you test positive for the antibodies, do you really qualify as a victim of a disease you never knew you had?  For now, let’s just deal with confirmed numbers.

Virginia has a population of about 8.536 million people.  Based on the confirmed numbers listed above, only about 1% of the population of Virginia has contracted this virus, and 0.024% of the population of Virginia has died from it.

Virginia hit its highest number of daily reported cases on May 25th of this year at 1,439.  When we once again compare that to our population of 8.536 million people, that means the greatest chance anyone had of contracting this disease on any given day is about 0.01%.

Mr. Staton thinks that a lockdown needed to happen based on what we knew four months ago, but now thinks it was not necessary then – and certainly not now – on the grounds that COVID isn’t really that much worse than the flu at the end of the day.  After all, only 90K Virginians have gotten this deadly disease, and only 2100 2215 have died from COVID since the pandemic started.

What he leaves out is the part where the lockdown, wearing masks, social distancing, and improved personal hygiene drove these numbers down. If Virginia had not locked down we would have much higher rates of infection and death, like those in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Arizona. He leaves out the part where some activities – hanging out in large groups, indoors, without masks – causes more infections and more deaths. It makes no difference whether it’s people congregating in a church or a bar or a Trump rally. We limited these gatherings and it worked, but that’s not a reason to stop. That I stayed dry in the rainstorm because I had an umbrella is no reason to leave the umbrella at home when more rain is on the way.

Not sure why these guys think it makes sense to keep shading this and pretending it’s a nothing burger. Americans have now rightly concluded that we’re facing a deadly disease that has and will limit US productivity for some time to come. They know we need an effective and coherent response to this as a society, and would like for their Federal Government to have a role.

The Bull Elephant folks don’t think a constructive and effective government role is possible, and even if it were Americans should and would reject a government-led response because it would interfere with free markets and personal liberty. They place their individual liberty to infect other people with a deadly virus and otherwise “make the liberals cry” above cooperating with experts to limit the impacts of a natural disaster that has already killed more than 150K Americans. Further, they think most Americans agree with them, and if only GOP politicians would get on the train they could retake Virginia government.

Staton and his wing of the Virginia GOP brush right by the point that free markets did not prepare us for this and never could because the incentives just don’t line up. They ignore the fact that corporations and GOP leaders like Trump and Pence and McConnell care no more about the problems they face in life than the DMV clerk. They worry more about making money off the crisis while pretending it’s someone else’s fault.

The best part is that if Trump had managed this crisis effectively he would have cruised to reelection and perhaps even GOP control of all three branches of government. Another four years to appoint judges, dismantle regulations, and tear immigrant families apart (because the cruelty and making the liberals cry is the point). Trump and his supporters simply can’t resist the urge to gratify themselves in the moment by loudly declaring that they have no obligation or duty to their fellow citizens or broader society. This could and should cost them the political victory needed to reshape that society in their favor.

Trump could not rise and take advantage of an opportunity to excel and actually bring fascism to America because Mick Staton and other Bull Elephant Republicans want him to piss off liberals today rather than consolidate power tomorrow.

Thank God.

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