Strong Responses to RIWFP’s COVID-19 Survey


Three weeks ago, Rhode Island Women for Freedom and Prosperity conducted a survey of its Members and Supporters about COVID-19 and Rhode Island’s response.  The fifth and last question of the survey was the option to offer a comment on the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.  Many people responded to this question and took the opportunity to articulate the serious impact that the lockdown has had on their life.

On June 5, the Governor of Rhode Island attended and addressed a rally of 10,000+ people without wearing a mask or socially distancing, thereby casting doubt, however inadvertently, on the need for the state’s onerous, highly impactful lockdown.  This set the stage for the release late last week of the responses to the last question of RIWFP’s survey.  Below are the first three.  All responses can be viewed here.

Member: We have turned into a monarchy overnight- the General Assembly should in session acting as a check and balance on the Governor.

Supporter:  I have lived through 6 pandemics in my lifetime, some of which were deadlier than COVID-19, yet we’ve never shut down our economy before. Mitigation of the virus should have included lockdown of nursing homes and government recommendations for the elderly and/or those with comorbid diseases to self-isolate. Not only have we destroyed our great economic engine, but more importantly, this lockdown has been a flagrant violation of our Constitutional rights.  NEVER AGAIN!

Member:  I have been a nurse specialist for over 30 years. Never in the history of medicine have we quarantined the healthy. I questioned it from the beginning but bought the inaccurate prediction that our health care system would be overwhelmed. Never have they been so wrong!  Some hospitals had to furlough staff and many were operating at only 30-40% capacity.  My physician colleagues were stating that they were pressured to write COVID 19 on death certificates. The handling of this pandemic from the beginning has been an abomination. Governor DeSantis of Florida handled this pandemic in an exemplary fashion. Check the Florida Department of Health website. It is excellent.

  • Mario

    Meanwhile, the actual results point to RI’s methods as one of the few successful models in the country (at least as far as the non-group home population is concerned). We’re less than three weeks away from complete eradication of the virus, yet some will still argue that we should have taken the hit straight to the face.

    It would be nice if the people who were arguing back in January that we should do nothing, and in February, and in March that we were doing too much, and again in April & May, despite the rapidly rising death toll, would go back and consider that maybe, at some point, they were wrong. The antibody test indicated an infection rate of little more than 2%, which is a lot lower than even I would have assumed, and that is with the state closing in on 900 deaths. What would that have looked like at 20%, or 60%? Even just 10%?

    The results speak for themselves. We will soon be safe and secure while the rest of the country is probably less than halfway through.

    • Justin Katz

      You’re overly confident that Raimondo’s particular solution was better than some alternatives… indeed, all alternatives. Applying the number of dead without differentiating infection rates between those who died (on the whole, the elderly, specifically in nursery homes) and the general population overtly skips over the core of the matter. What would the death rate have been if we’d protected the vulnerable better while not worrying as much about everybody else?

      … unless the point of view is that vulnerable populations could not have been protected better, but that would be kind of like saying the government picked the best option because the government would have been incompetent to enact anything better.

      • Mario

        The death rate would have been lower, sure, but the number of deaths would have been significantly higher. The idea that the virus could be kept out of nursing homes while allowed free access to the rest of the state is just absurd. The only chance to keep those people safe was with a lockdown of everyone else. The fact that they failed doesn’t negate that it was the only option. And it’s not as if the people in nursing homes were the only vulnerable people, there are almost certainly more at-risk people living in the general population that would have been, to put it nicely, screwed. But the vast majority of them are still alive.

        I’m only confident that this was a success because we can see it happening. We know what real failure looks like thanks to New York, and we’re seeing what a more basic failure looks like thanks to the many other states that had plenty of warning and still are failing to keep it contained. Rhode Island did not have that early warning advantage, and is managing to drive it away better than states that did regardless. I’m sure it’s not the only good state, and there was a genuine catastrophic failure when it comes to nursing homes, but very soon the only new cases we’ll see will be people bringing it in from the outside. So while the rest of the country suffers, Rhode Island will be free. You have to work hard to see that as a problem.

  • Mario

    Check back on that figure in two months. I suspect that a state that basically doesn’t have the virus at all will be doing a lot better than those that have continuous community spread.

    49,000 people is only 5% of the population. I’ll do you a favor an assert that the actual death rate for the non-nursing home population is actually a lot lower than 1.4%, but even then it would take very little for the virus to spread far enough to hit the 8% of the population it might need to. That’s nothing. It hit 20% of the population in New York, and they weren’t completely negligent, why wouldn’t that happen here?

    • Justin Katz

      Nobody’s calling for complete negligence, and we aren’t New York City.

      Let’s say the actual death rate for those outside of nursing homes is somewhere around 0.5%, which seems to me more likely, in general. Now we’re up to 15% of the population needed to catch it to produce the same number of deaths. We take lower-level precautions, help people in bad situations make better decisions, and also factor in the reduction in activity people would natural have engaged in. Now factor in the other side of the ledger, which is the destruction caused by the governor’s response.

      • ShannonEntropy

        I’m turning into a Lou-level broken record, but here is the same message about this virus that I’ve repeated here fifty times at least since April:

        [I]rrespective of whether the country quarantined like Israel, or went about business as usual like Sweden, coronavirus peaked and subsided in the exact same way…. His graphs show that all countries experienced seemingly identical coronavirus infection patterns, with the number of infected peaking in the sixth week and rapidly subsiding by the eighth week.

        • Mario

          I’m glad your article from April still brings you comfort.

          • ShannonEntropy

            That article is two months old so obviously all the information & data in it are now totally wrong, is that what yer implying ??

            OOoops !! Here is the the exact same conclusion from an article printed TODAY:


            Notice that the source is from a UK publication. Try to get out of the habit of getting all your news from CNN [“Communist News Network”] & MS-DNC, Mario

            Your brain’s been washed enough; try rinsing it with some trvth now & then

          • Mario

            Well, not TODAY so much as May 22nd. But close enough, I guess. A result showing a decrease in transmission rates after the lockdown is ended doesn’t surprise me as much as you think it would, no more than getting a lower temperature reading after the fire department leaves the scene than while they were working. Most of the time you would expect that the lockdowns were ended for a reason, not arbitrarily. What you want to find are the places that didn’t just fight off the virus by attrition but by actually dragging it down forcefully — a peak followed by a sharp drop rather than a slow deflation.

            It’s a little early for final conclusions, but I’m not going to put much stock in the policy ideas of people who from the very beginning were looking for a reason to oppose fighting the pandemic, from denying its very existence, to imagining ways that it would all just disappear on its own, to fake miracle cures, to angry demands that we stop fighting back. Frankly, some people are just on the virus’ side.

    • Justin Katz

      And wait a second… how are you supposing we’re more done with the virus than other states? Having shut down, most of our population is not immune to the virus, and if a handful of cases were enough to scare us into shutdown, there’s no reason we won’t ramp back up just as much as other states, so the whole shutdown would have been for nothing… unless we’re going to do it repeatedly until there’s a cure/vaccine, which is not an option.

      • Mario

        No one’s population is immune to the virus. But we have a working health care system that is actively attempting to trace contacts, a robust testing capacity, and we are slowly but reliably reducing the infected population. Other states had a huge head start and still have none of that, in addition to not having a working containment for what they have. I don’t expect it to come back here because we are prepared now. If what we have now were in place back in February, there would have been no need for a shutdown at all. There will be a few new cases here and there from people traveling back from other states, but there’s no reason to think that it will lead to the kind of community spread we had this time.

        Let’s say the actual death rate for those outside of nursing homes is somewhere around 0.5%, which seems to me more likely, in general. Now we’re up to 15% of the population needed to catch it to produce the same number of deaths.

        Well, it’s probably higher than that, but even so, 15% is hardly a crazy value. Again, New York hit 20% while trying to contain it. They found that rate of infections for hispanics in RI was over 8%, and that’s with a highly successful containment/shutdown. And once the infected population gets that high, keeping it from getting into nursing homes is impossible. This just isn’t a serious suggestion, it’s a fantasy. I know you don’t think you are calling for negligence, but from the first cries of “hoax,” to “it’s just the flu,” to “the cure is worse than the disease,” the non-shutdown option has always been “let ‘er rip.” That would have led to thousands of deaths. I won’t just ignore that.

        As for the destruction of the governor’s response, we’ll be better able to judge this compared to other states in a year when the full destruction, here and elsewhere, has been tallied. I’m not saying it was perfect, I think limiting the death count to 400 was well within the government’s capacity with only stronger nursing home policies in place, but RI was an early victim of this, and I think once everyone else catches up the overall wisdom of the approach to it here will be apparent (we could look at the destruction caused by the President’s lack of response that made the shutdown necessary in the first place, but I know you are still convinced that this is something that was done to him rather than to us, by him).

        • Justin Katz

          But that’s to my point… If other states’ per capita deaths come to exceed ours, it isn’t because of the shutdown.