As Democrats and their sycophantic cheerleaders in the mainstream media criticize protesting Americans who want their elected leaders to open up their states and their economies, one Stanford University researcher says that’s exactly what we should be doing.
Carefully and “thoughtfully,” of course, but definitely opening things back up. And what’s more, Dr. Scott W. Atlas thinks that, based on empirical evidence, total lockdowns weren’t good policy to begin with.
In an op-ed for The Hill Friday, Atlas — who has been studying the virus’ behavior and the policies implemented to ostensibly slow its spread — writes:
The tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be entering the containment phase. Tens of thousands of Americans have died, and Americans are now desperate for sensible policymakers who have the courage to ignore the panic and rely on facts. Leaders must examine accumulated data to see what has actually happened, rather than keep emphasizing hypothetical projections; combine that empirical evidence with fundamental principles of biology established for decades; and then thoughtfully restore the country to function.
He lays out five basic facts about the virus that he says should guide the reopening policies set forth by governors and the Trump administration:
Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people are not at significant risk of dying from COVID-19.
“The recent Stanford University antibody study now estimates that the fatality rate if infected is likely 0.1 to 0.2 percent, a risk far lower than previous World Health Organization estimates that were 20 to 30 times higher and that motivated isolation policies,” he writes.
Fact 2: Protecting people who are older and at greater risk of contracting the virus eliminates hospital overcrowding.
Again, that’s because younger people just aren’t susceptible to the virus or, at least, the most serious infections caused by the virus.
And, for what it’s worth, “Even early WHO reports noted that 80 percent of all cases were mild, and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness,” Atlas writes.
Fact 3: Developing ‘herd immunity’ for our country is not possible while keeping people locked down.
That’s only going to prolong our problem, Atlas says. What’s more, it will make these dingbats in the mainstream media and their Democrat allies look like savants and prophets; in truth, saying there will be “a second wave” while keeping people isolated is a self-fulfilling prediction.
Indeed, that is the main purpose of widespread immunization in other viral diseases — to assist with population immunity. In this virus, we know that medical care is not even necessary for the vast majority of people who are infected. It is so mild that half of infected people are asymptomatic, shown in early data from the Diamond Princess ship, and then in Iceland and Italy. That has been falsely portrayed as a problem requiring mass isolation. In fact, infected people without severe illness are the immediately available vehicle for establishing widespread immunity.
Fact 4: People who need medical treatment but can’t get it due to hypothetical projections (that have consistently been wrong) are dying.
One of the biggest ironies is that, during the coronavirus epidemic, hospitals are laying off hundreds of thousands of workers and many are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy because they’ve been told to clear out their wards and keep them clear so they can handle the ‘coronavirus surge’ — that never came (and isn’t coming).
So-called ‘elective surgeries’ that aren’t really elective have been postponed. But worse, Atlas says, the data show that people who had life-threatening conditions were never diagnosed:
Most states and many hospitals abruptly stopped “nonessential” procedures and surgery. That prevented diagnoses of life-threatening diseases, like cancer screening, biopsies of tumors now undiscovered and potentially deadly brain aneurysms. Treatments, including emergency care, for the most serious illnesses were also missed. Cancer patients deferred chemotherapy. An estimated 80 percent of brain surgery cases were skipped. Acute stroke and heart attack patients missed their only chances for treatment, some dying and many now facing permanent disability.
Fact 5: We know who the vulnerable among us are and we can continue to protect them without keeping the country on lockdown.
Exhibit A: See Sweden.
But beyond that, Atlas notes we can and should continue to protect those vulnerable populations — older Americans, people with pre-existing conditions and known comorbidities — without subjecting the vast majority of the country to stay-at-home restrictions.
“The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place: Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions,” Atlas writes. “Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter.”