E What Our Leaders Should Be Saying...

A few days ago, I was a news junky. Now all I see is the race by politicians and others to describe the danger of coronavirus. The news makes me sick. Not because of fear of the virus, but because of a fear of something far greater - and totally avoidable.

I don't deny the danger of the virus. It is real and it is very present. But our reaction is worse. In recent days I've spoken about the loss of hidden lives and I've done a deep dive into the risks posed by both corona and an economic shutdown. Many on this platform have reacted to my words.

Well, today, I'm doing something new. Today, I'm delivering the speech I wish our leaders would deliver. Not a speech in which we promise ever greater levels of sacrifice in the face of fear, but a speech in we offer battle in the face of adversity.

Video Length 00:08:15

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Craig Newman 2 months ago Member's comment

Trump now wants to re-open America. Could be millions of deaths, but at least his stock portfolio will go up. That's what matters.

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

What #Trump should be saying:

"Sorry I screwed up and ignored all the warnings millions could die. Oops."

Adam Reynolds 2 months ago Member's comment

You make a number of excellent points. But how do you feel about the South Korean solution of mass testing? As I research, it seems to be by far the best solution. This article explains it very well. What do you think about it?


Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

It can be great for tracking and controlling. But the Koreans have also kept their borders open. They have stated that they will not stay in shutdown mode - even as the virus remains in other countries. I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to open up even if the virus remains. They are managing it all much more effectively than anybody else.

South Korea knows what shutdown looks like.

They can see it 20 miles north of Seoul.

Adam Reynolds 2 months ago Member's comment

I hadn't heard that. If they don't keep the borders closed, more infected people could still come in. That seems self defeating. But what if they close the borders? Then it should work. I thought the article I listed above made a lot of sense.

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

I basically agree, we should open up society - maybe in a few weeks - and we should spend heavily to combat the disease. We are a long way from universal testing. I believe, once we have it, we'll discover the disease isn't quite as dangerous as we've been calculating. We just aren't seeing many of the mild cases.

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

Current Korean restrictions (from the NYT):

South Korea has restricted the entry of travelers with passports from China’s Hubei Province as well as anyone who has visited that region in the past 14 days. Additionally, Korean visas that were issued to travelers in Hubei are canceled.

Visa-free entry to Jeju Island for all foreigners, as well as visa-free entry for Chinese nationals and travelers who are headed to China, are both suspended.

Backyard Hiker 2 months ago Member's comment

It sounds like you value the economy over human life :(

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

Of course not. Economies enable human life. How much does it cost to save a kid with cancer? To help somebody recover from addiction? To feed someone? We have over 7 billion people. That is only possible because of our advanced economies. There is a reason poorer countries have shorter life expediencies. We can have economic downturns, but we are plotting a course for a downturn on par with the great depression. And that killed people.

Backyard Hiker 2 months ago Member's comment

This is all so depressing. I guess it's like you said - there are no good choices :(

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

A longer write up I just did based on this...

Economies enable human life. How much does it cost to save a kid with cancer? To help somebody recover from addiction? To feed someone? To care for a highly disabled person?

We are used to spending on these things - and that is a beautiful and wonderful thing.

But when we have 30% unemployment where will the resources come from? Already, 10% of Israel's workforce has been laid off.

We can have economic downturns, but we are plotting a course for a downturn on par with the Great Depression - or even greater.

The Imperial College in London has said 18 months of shutdown will be necessary to control the virus. Why? Because you might be able to stay at home but people with no savings, no food in the fridge (if they have one) and no credit won't. This describes about 30% of Americans - but they can get short-term government support. Before long more and more people will fall into that boat. But how about the billions of others in poorer countries. The virus will rip through their societies and it will remain within them because they can't afford to lock down. It will threaten to return to us that entire time. We'll have to maintain the lockdown.

Before long we'll be just like the third world - with 50, 60, 70% of our people out of money and desperate. Can our government feed them and provide decent healthcare then?

Forges and mills will shut down - and they can't be restarted easily or cheaply. Aircraft will be destroyed en-masse (they require maintenance to remain airworthy even if not flying). Our economy will break down. And it won't be able to just magically restart.

Before long the services we can provide to the marginal in our society will vanish.

And their desperation will claim far more lives than the virus will.

Let's make a clear plan. A week or two of isolation to buy us some time and then we get back to life.

We use our economic power to fight back. We ramp *up* our health capacity as quickly as possible.

We spend freely to support those in need.

People will die.

But there are threats other than corona.

Alexis Renault 2 months ago Member's comment

I don't understand. Why would 1st world countries be able to stop the virus, while 2nd and 3rd world countries won't. Why would a lockdown be more effective here than there? In fact I think I heard on one of your other videos (or perhaps someone else's), that it will be harder for Americans to cope with these restrictions, while other countries are used to such hardships.

Joseph Cox 2 months ago Author's comment

Because the 1st world can afford to lock down and have the organization to do so while those other countries don't. If you have a choice, now, between going out to try to find food to get by another day or staying at home because the government says so and you might avoid getting ill - what are you going to do? Can the 3.4 billion people who live on less than $5.50 a day afford not to go out? Of course not. So no lockdown will work.

Other countries are more used to hardships. But they will have less wealth in a global economic collapse. They will turn from poverty to starvation.