7 Things COVID-19 Has Taught Me

I was going to offer a pros and cons list, but upon reaching the first item I found it difficult to simply categorize these items in such black and white terms. This is a time for action, but also a time to understand the unique shades of grey. Which leads directly to item one.

1) We are not so different you and I. Democrats and Republicans, Independent and centrists; we all care about humanity, our country and our families. Media loves to divide us; to magnify the differences. But under the current threat we are willing to put our lives on hold for ourselves and protect others. We are pack animals and differences abound, but we are all part of the human fabric. Prior to this crisis, I have traveled city to city and met with people in various industries. After-hours in most cities politics will some up. But if we listen and we show our humanity, we will learn that most of us simply want to perform in their jobs and leave the world better than we found it. The definition of “better” is our own pursuit of happiness. As long as I am not a threat to yours and vise-versa, we are usually willing to give each other the liberty to act.
Exceptions exist. Some only see one right path, one answer to each question. Many of them are called “journalists” and/or “politicians”. But both of them currently exist and profit from division. A true journalist, documents (i.e. journals) the world around them to share with others. A true politician represents the interests of their community. Not to force that interest on to everyone else, but to make sure that those interests are allowed to run free.
Maybe the recent goodness shown my most Americans will help to elevate these minorities from their divisive natures. Since even a crisis must be exploited, there is little change that it will. But maybe the rest of us will see more clearly who we really are and see them for who they really are.

2) Crisis highlights core principals. From Donald Trump to your local mayors, governors, senators, congressmen and the American People in between, we have seen many differing actions. The media wants to say there is only one proper action; anything that is the opposite of what President Trump says. But the actions taken in and of themselves, teach us something. The left-leaning among us jumped into action. Yes “to help” but also to take control. They will tell everyone what is the only and proper action approved by the government. They will put the power of police and government to make sure that you comply. Look to Detroit for the extreme of that case. The more conservative struggled to take control. They preferred to issue guidance over mandates. Some would argue (and the media has) waiting too long, not going far enough, and then reopening too early. That may be true, but which do we as Americans want going forward? Do we want a government that is quick to act by controlling the population or one that hesitant to take control over our lives and quick to release any emergency powers that that have taken? Undoubtedly, they both have risks.well, provide value and raise themselves and their families.

3) Models for healthcare are really bad. I find it hard to believe it is the industry (healthcare for data science). I believe it must be that we are trying to put mathematical models against a reality that is far more random than normal. People are unique. The public models miss even the obvious; age and current health. But add in heredity, socio-economically, cultural variables and we are not even close to predicting outcomes. To get any confidence in the numbers we end up with outrageous large ranges; from 10,000 deaths to 2.5 million in the US alone.
The only way to get to 95% confidence is to expand the ranges: i.e. 10,000 to 2.5 million deaths in the US alone. This one is new and media-hyped (no math skills at all) so I have tried to explain some of that away. However, the annual flu numbers, which we know a lot about have wide ranges as well [i.e 2017 -> 29,000 or 61,000].
To try and summarize it all; I saw this interesting article about Swine Flu studies during my research. 12,197 papers, trimmed down to 422, then further to 120 full length reviews and then down to 50 specifically non-biased studies. And the result is a mortality rate “ranging from less than 1 to more than 10,000 deaths per 100,000 c7) A huge number of people die every year. I was stunned as I looked into numbers of COVID deaths to find that we lose over half a million people every year due to heart disease.ases.”

4) This is a good trial for Socialism and Communism; Green New Deal. We have seen personal rights and responsibilities removed; no air travel, massive reduction in automobile travel; shortages in the supply chains; 20% unemployment; no entertainment industry. Based on historical references, this is what government control of the economy brings. We now need to print money to pay people not to work; limit industries to those deemed “essential” by the central government. Is this not working working for you?

Thomas Sowell says that Economics is the management of the distribution of limited resources. We have differing ways to get products to market and to the most people at the best prices. This current environment does not fit that definition at all. And as such, I would argue this current environment is not an economy at all.

5) A huge number of people die every year. I was stunned as I looked into numbers of COVID deaths to find that we lose over half a million people every year due to heart disease. A similar number to cancer. A larger number of infants to abortions. And so far, still more to the flu. Imagine if we are hit every day with a tracking metric on the 56 million abortions performed worldwide. How would that impact society?

I know this is not “voluntary” and currently we are told it is hard to avoid. That lack of knowledge creates the fear. I am working up tracking line for many causes of death so that we can all understand this in context. Maybe we can all do a better job of not ignoring all the lives we lose every year for any reason?

6) Trump right man for the right time. You do not have to like him or agree with him, but he does act without political consideration. Stopping flights from Wuhan, China before others were willing (but after China already did), sheltering in place and harming the recovery. These were not political calculations, they were the actions taken by a leader to do what he thought was right. It is so odd to see leadership in DC that I thre some people for a loop.

Since then he has pushed for War Powers and Public Private Partnerships versus government running alone. See CDC original tests tainted with COVID as compared to the private sector ramp up in testing, companies retooling assembly lines (who knew you could even do that) and all the research. I do not believe that a government first and/or political calculation would have ever moved these mountains.

The next big move will be to retract these powers. It is in that action that we will really see the difference between leadership and political power. I am hopeful that President Trump is up to the task. He really may be the only one.

7) The environment might not be as fragile as many claim. The environment is a very very complex chemistry experiment that we barely understand. Our actions have consequences but they do not act alone. The planet adjusts, other reactions occur and the system re-balances. Look at the articles about smog lifting and the Himalayas being visible again, Venice and jelly-fish. As much as this is a trial balloon for Communism on a world-wide scale. It also proves that the Green New Deal, 100s of Trillions of dollars and other Draconian actions are likely not needed. If 2 months off can allow these areas of the planet to recover this much, maybe we can work to be a bit better.
I tend to believe “the environment” is not it’s own thing. It is the aggregated result of all of our local actions. Do the right things locally, India, Venice, NYC, Colorado, Main Street and the overall environment will improve; the chemistry will re-balance. Forcing the US to take it on the chin while allowing, China, India and more than half the world’s population to do whatever they like is not the answer; as the aggregate is not impacted. Additionally, polluting locally in Indiana and then paying for trees in Africa; not an answer. Destroying the rain forest to put up wind farms and subsidize solar panels; not an answer. Carbon offsets are a crock; unless you are “offsetting” within the same community that you are polluting. That is called, being a responsible business and that is all we ask.

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