The Experts Were Wrong: A Tale Of Two States

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We are told by the “experts” all the time that we need to listen to the science and pursue fact based approaches to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump was lampooned in the media regularly for his supposed failure to do so. It is more than a little strange, therefore, that facts that contradict the “experts” seem to be completely ignored.

Florida and California are two of the most populous states in the nation. They have pursued dramatically different approaches to dealing with the virus. Florida is effectively wide open and operating normally. California is in near-total lockdown, and its Governor seemingly finds a new way to tighten the screws every day. One would assume, therefore, that if the science behind the lockdown measures is sound and the “experts” know what they are talking about there should be dramatic differences between the states. California should be winning the fight. Florida should be a graveyard by now.

And, yet, that is not at all what is happening. In fact, it is California, a year into the lockdown that is now experiencing significantly higher levels of new case numbers and hospitalizations.

  • As of last week, Florida had recorded just over 1.5 million positive test results since the start of the pandemic, while California had registered nearly 3 million.
  • California’s seven-day average for daily deaths was 1.4 per 100,000 residents, compared to 0.8 per 100,000 in Florida.
  • California’s seven-day average for new cases was 105 per 100,000, while Florida’s seven-day average stood at 64 per 100,000.
  • California’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate was 56 per 100,000, while Florida’s was 36 per 100,000. Given that hospitalization numbers typically precede fatalities, California’s higher hospitalization rates likely mean there will be a rise in deaths in the near future.

None of this should be surprising. Writing in the Wall Street Journal months ago, Donald L. Luskin of the investment analytics firm TrendMacro, had this to say regarding a study his company had done of the correlation between lockdown orders and new cases of the virus.

“TrendMacro, my analytics firm, tallied the cumulative number of reported cases of COVID-19 in each state and the District of Columbia as a percentage of population, based on data from state and local health departments aggregated by the COVID Tracking Project. We then compared that with the timing and intensity of the lockdown in each jurisdiction….it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger Covid outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns—the District of Columbia, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts—had the heaviest caseloads.

Donald L. Luskin, TrendMacro

A study published in Frontiers in Public Health in November of last year was equally critical and candid regarding lockdowns. Researchers analyzed data from 160 countries over the first 8 months of the pandemic. They looked at a host of factors. They found no correlation between lockdowns and success in fighting the disease. “Stringency of the measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with death rate,” the researchers said.

Meanwhile, of course, the negative impacts of lockdowns are obvious and manifest. They include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health as detailed in the Great Barrington Declaration. That document, signed by thousands of medical professionals advocated for the abandonment of lockdown measures and a focused effort that would allow most people to go about their lives unrestricted and limit protections to identified at risk populations like those in nursing homes.

“Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19….A comprehensive and detailed list of measures, including approaches to multi-generational households, can be implemented, and is well within the scope and capability of public health professionals.

Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal. Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold. Schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, should be resumed. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home. Restaurants and other businesses should open. Arts, music, sport and other cultural activities should resume. People who are more at risk may participate if they wish, while society as a whole enjoys the protection conferred upon the vulnerable by those who have built up herd immunity.”

Great Barrington Declaration

Take a look at the studies, or just take a look at California and Florida and the results on the ground. The conclusions are clear. Lockdowns don’t work. The “experts” were wrong.

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