In this file:
· OpEd: Losing Our Fears, in War and Plague
· AP: European leaders are blunt: A vaccine won’t come soon enough
· OpEd: Open Up America!
· WSJ: As West Cautiously Reopens, New Coronavirus Infection Clusters Emerge in Asia
· SBG: 48 states will be open in some capacity in the next 48 hours
· OpEd: The US is Dramatically Overcounting Coronavirus Deaths
Losing Our Fears, in War and Plague
By Victor Davis Hanson, RealClear Politics
May 14, 2020
Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution
Seventy-five years ago this month, Germany surrendered, ending the European theater of World War II. At the war's beginning, no one believed Germany would utterly collapse in May 1945.
On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, German invaders were on the verge of capturing Moscow. Britain was isolated. London had barely survived a terrible German bombing during the Blitz.
A sleeping America was neutral, but it was beginning to realize it was weak and mostly unarmed in a scary world.
But by 1943, a booming U.S. economy was fielding vast military forces from Alaska to the Sahara. Britain and America were bombing the German heartland. The Soviet Red Army had trapped and destroyed a million-man German army at Stalingrad.
How did the Allies -- Britain, the Soviet Union and the U.S. -- turn around the European war so quickly?
The huge Red Army would suffer close to 11 million deaths in halting German offensives. Britain would never give up despite terrible losses at home and at sea from German bombers, rockets and submarines.
Yet the key to victory was the U.S. economy. It would eventually outproduce all the major economies on both sides of the war combined.
But how did the U.S. arm so quickly, build such effective weapons so soon, and from almost nothing field a military some 12 million strong?
Neo-socialist President Franklin D. Roosevelt unleashed American business under the aegis of successful entrepreneurs such as Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company, William Knudsen of General Motors, Henry Kaiser of Kaiser Shipyards and Charles Wilson of General Electric.
They were all given relatively free rein from New Deal strictures to work and profit without burdensome government regulations. The result was a military juggernaut that overwhelmed America's enemies.
Politics went on, but in less partisan fashion. Republicans picked up seats in the House and Senate in 1942, while Roosevelt won a fourth presidential term in 1944.
Roosevelt was able to dodge charges of rank partisanship during the war by appointing Republicans to key positions in his administration. Republican Henry Stimson became secretary of war. Former Republican vice presidential candidate Frank Knox was the all-important secretary of the Navy. Roosevelt stocked the War Production Board with Republican capitalists.
The media turned from either propagandizing the success of the New Deal or hyping its failures to warning Americans of the looming existential threat that would soon make their differences irrelevant.
Most importantly, Americans lost their fears.
From 1929 to 1938, the U.S. economy was in ruins. FDR's New Deal could not restore economic growth or consumer confidence. As late as 1938, economic growth had sunk to negative 3.3 percent. Unemployment soared to an unsustainable 19 percent.
Only the threat of war terrified Americans into taking a gamble -- to work feverishly and to ramp up industry.
By the end 1941, the early rearmament effort had spiked GDP growth to 17.7 percent. Unemployment had fallen to about 10 percent and would soon fall to about 2 percent.
Americans began losing their dread that they could do nothing against a decade-long depression. The less they feared the Axis powers, the more they restarted the economy and began to produce a plethora of goods and services.
After Pearl Harbor, Americans did not stay neutral, wait for government assistance or expect other nations to protect them.
Does World War II offer any lessons regarding our wrecked economy and staggering unemployment from the lockdown reaction to the coronavirus?
Perhaps. Government cannot restore prosperity. Only entrepreneurs and risk-takers can. Americans must master their fears of the virus and dare to go back to work.
Otherwise, locked-down states will continue to borrow to pay out public assistance without creating wealth from labor, production and investment. Bankrupt states will beg the federal government to print money that it doesn't have for bailouts to pay those who are not working and not creating collective wealth.
The media must stick to reporting on the virus and the ailing economy. Their often petty obsessions with destroying President Trump are long past monotonous.
Trump himself must keep working with any Democratic governors who realize they must put their states back to work in order to have the money to pay for the fight against the virus.
Interest rates are low. Gas is as cheap as it's been in years. Inflation remains moribund. People are tired of being housebound. They want to get back to work to make and spend money.
All that is missing is confidence -- or rather, the conviction that the coronavirus is no more dangerous than were the Axis powers and can be beaten far more quickly if we show the sort of will our grandparents had.
(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
document, plus audio [4:27 min.]
European leaders are blunt: A vaccine won’t come soon enough
By Colleen Barry, Pablo Gorondi and Kelvin Chan, Associated Press
May 17, 2020
SOAVE, Italy (AP) — In separate, stark warnings, two major European leaders bluntly told their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by the development of a vaccine.
The comments by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson came as governments worldwide and many U.S. states struggled with restarting economies blindsided by the pandemic. With 36 million newly unemployed in the U.S. alone, economic pressures are building even as authorities acknowledge that reopening risks setting off new waves of infections and deaths.
Pushed hard by Italy’s regional leaders and weeks in advance of an earlier timetable, Conte is allowing restaurants, bars and beach facilities to open Monday, the same day that church services can resume and shops reopen.
”We are facing a calculated risk, in the awareness ... that the epidemiological curve could go back up,” Conte said. “We are confronting this risk, and we need to accept it, otherwise we would never be able to relaunch.”
Conte added that Italy could “not afford” to wait until a vaccine was developed. Health experts say the world could be months, if not years, away from having a vaccine available to everyone despite the scientific gold rush now on to create one.
Britain’s Johnson, who was hospitalized last month with a serious bout of COVID-19, speculated Sunday that a vaccine may not be developed at all, despite the huge global effort to produce one.
“I said we would throw everything we could at finding a vaccine,” Johnson wrote in the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “There remains a very long way to go, and I must be frank that a vaccine might not come to fruition.”
Coronavirus has infected over 4.6 million people and killed more than 312,000 worldwide, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts say under counts the true toll of the pandemic. The U.S. has reported over 88,000 dead and Europe has seen at least 160,000 deaths.
In the U.S., many states have lifted stay-at home-orders and other restrictions, allowing some types of businesses to reopen...
Open Up America!
By Cal Thomas, Tribune Content Agency
CalThomas.com - May 14, 2020
The choice before us seems to be no choice at all: stay inside and have no human contact with another soul, keep businesses closed, denying a livelihood to millions, or step outside and risk death. Though I believe the risk is small when comparing the number of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and have recovered with the number who have died, fear may be the greater threat.
Some of a certain age may recall the fears promoted during the Cold War. There were newspaper stories and TV documentaries about how long survivors of a nuclear war would have to stay inside reinforced shelters until the fallout dissipated to a point it was safe to go out. Then, it was Geiger counters that would determine the level of radioactivity. Today’s Geiger counters are temperature gauges held to our foreheads. Symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing and fever, as well as high-risk factors, such as age and underlying health conditions, are also part of the diagnostic equation.
We are told to frequently wash our hands, not touch our faces, don’t shake hands with anyone, practice social distancing — we can recite these from memory — but then we are also told to stay inside and only go out for “necessities,” such as food and prescriptions.
Grocery stores where I shop require masks when entering and one-way traffic aisles. A hard plastic “wall” separates me from the cashier, who is also wearing a mask. Hand sanitizers and wipes are available at the entrance and exit where cart handles are wiped down after each use.
If these practices are almost as good as staying home, why can’t businesses employing these practices, including restaurants and bars, be opened so people can make a living and not rely on government, whose debt now exceeds levels that will never be reduced without spending cuts (and likely tax increases if Democrats win the November election)? Restaurants can place tables six feet apart. Those operating in warmer climates could add outside tables, benches and chairs. For the fearful, takeout orders could be ramped up.
Last Sunday, my wife and I went to a local restaurant. Tables had been removed. We wore masks as did staff behind the counter. We purchased our food, left the place and ate outside without masks where tables and benches were available. There were others there, not all of whom were six feet apart. People engaged in social interaction, which is what humans do and need to do. No one seemed fearful.
As experts have noted, it could be months and possibly longer before a vaccine is created. Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate committee Tuesday there is no guarantee a vaccine will work. And there probably is more than one strain, as with influenza, so a single vaccine is unlikely to protect everyone from every strain. Does that mean staying at home until perfect safety can be guaranteed? The public won’t stand for it. Demonstrators are already petitioning state governments to open up to redress their grievances.
Writing on his Facebook page, rock musician Ted Nugent expresses the growing frustration of many: “Why do I have to stay home just because 𝘆𝗼𝘂 are scared? How about 𝘆𝗼𝘂 stay home….𝘆𝗼𝘂 stay in 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 house indefinitely, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 wear a mask, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 socially distance yourself from me, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 avoid restaurants, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 avoid baseball games, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 stay off the roads, 𝘆𝗼𝘂 avoid malls and beaches and parks… I’m done playing 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 dumb game…I’m no longer going to be a prisoner of your fear. I’m no longer staying in my house or catering to 𝘆𝗼𝘂 because 𝘆𝗼𝘂 are scared…𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 fear is not an excuse to destroy America. 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 fear is not my fear and your fear does not have the right to interfere with my life, my job, my income or my future as a free American citizen.”
(Readers may email Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for Cal Thomas’ new book “America’s Expiration Date: The Fall of Empires and Superpowers and the Future of the United States” (HarperCollins/Zondervan). Readers may email Cal Thomas at email@example.com.
(C) 2020 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
As West Cautiously Reopens, New Coronavirus Infection Clusters Emerge in Asia
Authorities in U.S. explore a safe restart, but some countries that lifted measures face new clusters of Covid-19
By Talal Ansair, Xie Yu and Sam Schechner, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
May 17, 2020
While the U.S. and other Western countries tentatively resumed some activity this weekend after months of coronavirus lockdowns, Asian countries that enacted aggressive measures early in the pandemic were battling new clusters of contagion.
More than 4.6 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded world-wide, including at leaset 312,119 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopokins University. The U.S. death toll accounts fore more than a quarter of the global total...
more, with subscription
48 states will be open in some capacity in the next 48 hours
By Kristine Frazao, Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG)
via KATU (OR) - May 17th 2020
WASHINGTON (SBG) - From the spinning of the slot machines in casinos to the straightening of clothing racks in stores to the crashing of the waves on the shore, there are so many sounds starting to return to the rhythm of our daily lives.
As the phased re-opening continues from business to business, casinos from Mississippi to Las Vegas are taking a gamble with new social distancing measures will help keep people safe.
"A customer can't even stand here and play this game because the game is not even active," Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, told CNN, previewing how slot machine-social distancing will work.
In upstate New York, construction jobs put on pause are slowly coming back as well.
"I think the most i'm going to have on the job is four," said Joseph Dundon, the owner of Dundon Construction in a recent interview. "That's a lot different than we used to have, seven or eight. Things might take a little longer but at least we're going to be safe moving forward."
In the next 48 hours, 48 states have plans to re-open in some capacity. Most are making progress battling the spread of COVID-19.but numbers in some states, moving in the wrong direction, with new coronavirus cases on the rise in places like Texas, Alabama and Arkansas.
“We're going to continue to open our economy and expand it, but we still have to be mindful of this very serious virus that can take lives," Gov. Asa Hutchinson, R, Arkansas said in an interview with CNN.
On Capitol Hill Friday, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion dollar "HEROES Act" which includes $1 trillion for state and local governments, more money for testing , another round of direct payments for individuals, including undocumented immigrants.
Republicans in the Senate have all but said it will be dead on arrival...
The US is Dramatically Overcounting Coronavirus Deaths
John R. Lott, Jr.John R. Lott, Jr. Opinion, Townhall
May 16, 2020
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Over 86,500 people have reportedly died in the United States from the Coronavirus, and the fear generated by those deaths is driving the public policy debate. But that number is a dramatic overcount. Our metrics include deaths that have nothing to do with the virus. The problem is even worse as the Centers for Disease Control over counts even some of these cases and the government has created financial incentives for this misreporting. Relying on these flawed numbers is destroying businesses and jobs and costing lives.
“The case definition is very simplistic,” Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Department of Public Health, explains. “It means, at the time of death, it was a COVID positive diagnosis. That means, that if you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live, and then you also were found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death. It means, technically even if you died of clear alternative cause, but you had COVID at the same time, it’s still listed as a COVID death.”
Medical examiners in Michigan use the same definition. In Macomb and Oakland Counties, where most of the deaths occurred, medical examiners classify any deaths as Coronavirus deaths when the postmortem test is positive. Even people who died in suicides and automobile accidents meet that definition.
Still, these broad definitions are not due to a few rogue public health officials. The rules direct them to do this. Unlike other countries, “if someone dies with COVID-19, we are counting that as a COVID-19 death,” as Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, recently noted.
Classifications go beyond even these broad categories. New York is classifying cases as Coronavirus deaths even when postmortem tests have been negative. Despite negative tests, classifications are based on symptoms, even though the symptoms are often very similar to those of the seasonal flu. The Centers for Disease Control guidance explicitly acknowledges the uncertainty that doctors can face. When Coronavirus cases are “suspected,” they advise doctors that “it is acceptable to report COVID-19 on a death certificate.”
That isn’t just a theoretical issue. On April 21st, when New York City’s death toll rose above 10,000, the New York Times reported that the city included “3,700 additional people who were presumed to have died of the coronavirus but had never tested positive” – a more than 50 percent increase in the number of cases.
But the problem is worse than this broad definition implies. Birx and others believe that the CDC is over counting cases. The Washington Post reports they are concerned that the CDC’s “antiquated” accounting system is double counting cases and inflating mortality and case counts “by as much as 25 percent.”
There are additional reasons for concern. Some doctors feel pressure from hospitals to list deaths as due to the Coronavirus, even when they don’t believe that is the case, “to make it look a little bit worse than it is.” There are financial incentives that might make a difference for hospitals and doctors. The CARES Act adds a 20 percent premium for COVID-19 Medicare patients.
Incentives matter. When the government increased the disability compensation for air traffic controllers, a lot more controllers suddenly started claiming to be disabled. When unemployment insurance payments increase, more people become unemployed and stay unemployed for longer periods. When the government offers flood insurance that charges everyone the same insurance premium regardless of the risk level in their area, more people build homes in frequently flooded areas.
The Washington Post and others claim that we are undercounting the true number of deaths. They reach that conclusion by showing the total number of deaths from all causes is greater than we would normally expect from March through early May, and that this excess is actually due to deaths not being accurately labeled as due to the Coronavirus. But these are simply not normal times. Lots of people with heart and other problems aren’t going to the hospital for fear of the virus. Surgeries for many serious conditions are being put off. The stress of the situation is increasing suicides and other illnesses.
Deaths that have absolutely nothing to do with the Coronavirus count as virus deaths. Add to that claims that the CDC is double counting some of these improperly identified cases and the perverse financial incentives created by the government, and you have a real mess when crucial decisions are being made based in large part on this data.
Erroneous data unduly scare people about the risks of the disease. It keeps the country locked down longer than necessary, which destroys peoples’ lives and livelihoods in many other ways. Exaggerated fears of the virus endanger lives by keeping people from obtaining treatment for other medical problems. It also makes it impossible to accurately compare policies across countries.
It is hard to believe that we are basing such crucial decisions on such flawed data.
Lott is the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center. Allen is a Governor of the College of American Pathologists and Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He is also on the Board of Directors and the Academic advisory board for the Crime Prevention Research Center.
document, plus links