Monday, April 27, 2020

Closing down the country

This is probably going to annoy a lot of people, but I’ve just read a couple of persuasive articles urging people to speak out about the general lockdown imposed on us in order to “bend the curve” of serious cases and deaths. And it’s probably too late to change anything, because I also read articles saying that more and more people are ignoring their state-imposed rules; consider the crowded beaches In California this weekend.

Small businesses and their employees are still suffering, though. So are the health care workers who are being sent home because their hospitals are all but empty. It’s mainly on their behalf that I’m speaking out.

First, full disclosure: my family is not seriously affected - yet - by the lockdown as implemented here in Texas. Both my husband and I are over seventy and hence, I am given to understand, in the high-risk group. We are both working at jobs that don’t require us to leave home. Furthermore, the local market has resumed grocery deliveries.

One of our daughters and her husband live in Brooklyn and I do worry about them. So far, though, they haven’t left their apartment in weeks, and they too can get things delivered; they too can work from home; and they work for large companies that haven’t yet made any noises about shutting down or laying people off. The other daughter is a stay-at-home mom with two children. I’m mildly worried about her because her husband is a grocery store manager and considered essential. However, the safety precautions at his store are intense. And he hasn’t missed a paycheck yet.

So it’s on behalf of others that I’m speaking. The owners of the small restaurants we used to frequent. The nurses who have been sent home because our hospitals are virtually empty. The waiters, cooks and bartenders who can ill afford to miss a paycheck and tips. The owners and employees of the nail salon where my daughter gets her nails painted in unnatural colors. The hairdresser who used to put streaks of even more amazing colors in her hair. How are these people managing?

Now, about this lockdown. The models we’ve been shown have vastly overestimated deaths. Furthermore, the people and institutions waving the curve we’re supposed to worry about don’t show us the data and algorithms they’ve using, and most of them lump all the states in with New York City, which skews the hell out of their models. I don’t give any more credence to the models than I give to models of global warming (which are known to use worst-case scenarios and tend to rely heavily on many nonlinear equations (mathematicians, you may tear your hair out now.))

It appears to me that most of the country is in for terrible economic suffering on the basis of what’s happening in nursing homes and one extremely overcrowded city. Speaking for myself, I’m perfectly willing to take reasonable precautions until a vaccine or a universally valid treatment is developed. But what about the people who are young, healthy, and staring at serious financial problems? Why should they suffer for the minority of people like me?

Maybe they’ll survive economically, given that more and more people are ignoring state-imposed restrictions.

But I can’t help noticing that these restrictions are mostly put in place by people who have the luxury of staying home without missing a paycheck. And many of them think ordinary working people aren’t worth paying attention to, and voice death wishes on those who complain. Anyway, those protestors mostly deplorables, aren’t they?

And I find that attitude, well, deplorable.

(crossposted at

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