As COVID-19 numbers in Rhode Island continue to improve, we should note that those at risk from the disease are different from those at risk from an economic shutdown and realize that we may have made a terrible mistake in our response.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for May 4, included talk about:
- The governor and reopening
- Hospitalization counts
- The General Assembly peeks its head out
- Mattiello and the AG
- Achorn drops from the Providence Journal editorial branch
- A big budget hole
As noted, the survival rate of COVID-19 in United States is over 94%. Now for the implication of this data point with regard to our government’s choice of course – an onerous and heavily damaging lockdown.
This is to offer an important data point about COVID-19 that doesn’t get much attention. The United States has, to date, experienced 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19. 64,283 of those cases, or 5.88%, have resulted in death. To be clear, 5.88% of people who got the disease have died from it, not 5.88% of the US population as a whole. (If you want that figure, divide by 328,200,000.)
This is not the picture that you are getting from the mainstream media. They largely mean well but if you notice, when reporting on this subject, the MSM crafts headlines that invariably include the words “COVID-19″ and “death” and content that is comprised of the number of new cases and new deaths. Most people only pay attention to the news with half an eye or ear. So they understandably may have gotten the impression that the death rate from COVID-19 is sky high.
So let’s repeat this figure because it is important. Of the 1,092,815 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the United States, 64,283 deaths have resulted. That means that over 94% of people who got the disease have survived it.
And 94% is almost certainly on the low side because the figure of 1,092,815 only includes medically defined “confirmed and probable” cases. People can have the disease or get it and recover from it without ever knowing or being tested. As they were not counted, those are not included in that denominator of 1,092,815. Anti-body test surveys unanimously point to COVID-19 being far more infectious and, therefore, far less deadly than originally feared. Accordingly, that case fatality rate of 5.88% will almost certainly drop.
Next for our consideration is the very serious implications of this data point with regard to our government’s choice of course (not to mention that the original goal of the chosen course was accomplished weeks ago). Those will be laid out here a little later this morning.
The budget for next year is one of the worst produced in the last twenty years. This budget is characterized by the Council’s complete lack of interest in reducing costs to prepare for the economic downturn and its continuing emphasis on the growth of Town government. In fact, the only changes over a routine year are using the Fund Balance to provide revenue for routine spending and to cover any shortfalls in State funding. Currently the budget is at the Provisional stage and there are further votes, but significant changes after this point are rare.
The budget that begins next July 1 has a residential property tax increase of 4.43% at a time when the unemployment rates for Portsmouth taxpayers are probably at least 16%.
A video from the onset of the COVID-19 crisis complaining about the early arrival of wealthy summer residents highlights progressives bizarre economic vision.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 27, included talk about:
- Nesi’s interview with Gina
- The propaganda poister
- The threat of mail ballots
- Protests on a Saturday, organized versus genuine
- Identity politics as the constant
WPRI Channel 12’s Eli Sherman and Walt Buteau reported on April 17 that 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Rhode Island have occurred in nursing homes. (All deaths from a pandemic are awful but somehow a nursing home setting is especially horrifying both because of the vulnerability of the residents and the perception, normally correct, that nursing homes are safe places.)
This disturbing pattern continues with the most recent COVID mortalities announced by the state yesterday: 10 of 13 were nursing home residents.
Contrasting Roger Kimball’s calm erudition with the hysterics demanding “how many people do you want to die” points to a need for us to be able to consider difficult questions in public.
The desire to open up the economy isn’t selfish or reckless; it’s humanitarian.
“Non-essential” businesses in Rhode Island remain shut down by order of Governor Gina Raimondo even as unemployment filings shoot up and COVID-19 projections drop markedly. While much of trucking has not been directly impacted by the shutdown order, as an industry that interacts with all businesses in Rhode Island – manufacturing, farms, restaurants, small shops, big box stores – trucking has a unique position and voice as Rhode Island looks to re-open.
The governor has said that she doesn’t know what regulations will be issued to allow businesses to re-open. But this is quickly and easily fulfilled: the state simply need to tell all businesses to follow the manufacturers’ lead and take the same pledge that was exclusively afforded to this sector several weeks ago.
On March 16, the White House issued “15 Days to Slow the Spread” guidelines.
On March 28, Governor Gina Raimondo issues a stay-at-home order for Rhode Island.
At that time, the IHME’s model projected 100,000-240,000 deaths from COVID-19.
At that time, the goal of the lockdown was to “flatten the curve” of the disease so as to not overwhelm our hospitals with cases. Note, critically, that reducing the overall number of cases was NOT part of this goal but simply to spread them out.
Since March 28, the IHME’s projections have collapsed and the new projection for COVID fatalities is 60,000.
Since March 28, the results of numerous COVID-19 anti-body surveys have come in.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 13, included talk about:
- The governor’s handling of the virus crisis
- The silence from everybody else
- The RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity’s suggestions
- The decisions facing the governor and the people of RI
If models projecting the hospitalizations and deaths in Rhode Island from COVID-19 keep being revised down, they’ll start to get into the range at which deaths from our response are a larger number.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 6, included talk about:
- The governor’s tough tone
- Unemployment skyrockets
- The General Assembly shirks its duties
- Bad optics from Cranston mayoral candidate
- Tyranny in Tiverton
In these trying times, with well over fifty thousand Rhode Islanders recently laid-off, common-sense public state-based policy can help mitigate the destructive economic impact of the Rhode Island COVID-19 crisis … and can help restore a sense of normalcy and financial security.
We need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.
The disconnect between the warnings of government officials and the experiences of the people could make it more difficult to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
The legislative proposal by Warwick/Cranston Democrat state representative Joseph McNamara has made the news rounds, but it deserves a stronger point to be made. The press release says he’s “drafting new legislation that would help businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by guaranteeing that business interruption insurance would cover their losses regardless of policy language.”
It’s kind of a dishonest move. Insurance companies charge their clients rates based on the risk involved in their policies. These charges go toward a fund to cover the estimated payouts based on the risk for each thing that’s insured. There is competition in insurance just as there is in every other private-sector market, so companies can’t charge fees that are so high they’re disconnected from this relationship to payouts.
If the General Assembly and governor pass a law that requires insurance companies to pay for events that were deliberately left out of the calculation of risk, the insurance companies will have to find that money somewhere. One way or another, that means distributing the cost among other clients. The complications of reinsurance (insurance for unexpected insurance payouts), do not change this fundamental fact; they just mean the spread is broader.
If government officials want to insure Rhode Island businesses against a loss during a crisis, they should do it the more-honest way of using government funds. The legislature and governor should make the statement that this is a worthwhile priority and will therefore either displace lesser priorities or require tax increases.
Of course, cost comes at a political price, which politicians prefer to avoid. Thus, these sorts of mandates that make other people pay for government policies (aka hidden taxes) ensure that the McNamaras of the state can pat themselves on the back for giving away money while hiding the fact that it has to come from somebody.
If we rely on American innovation in the private sector, our state can weather this horrible COVID-19 crisis! Our Center has ten proactive policy ideas that can help Ocean State businesses and families survive the crisis, while also paving the way to recovery. And, we need your help to tell lawmakers you want them to take action.
State lawmakers must find a way to get back in the saddle, demonstrate calm and deliberate leadership, and consider emergency legislation to help our citizens and businesses lead the way back. We’re recommending:
On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Changing Gears hosts Mike Collins and Chris Maxwell offered a different view on Ocean State goings on and beyond!
- Governor’s 2A Executive Order extends background check from 7 to 30 days.
- Bob Duva of R.I. Echo checks in.
- Mike Stenhouse: which path is state going to take to get out of this
crisis? Time for “government distancing.”
- Rob Cote: cities cut services but, unlike private sector, no layoffs.
- Don Culp with tips for staying focused and mentally strong.
- Scumbag US senators dump stocks during national crisis.
- Bring manufacturing back to US.
Contrasting conservative and progressive proposals for dealing with fallout from COVID-19 reveals the stark choice that Americans face.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for March 23, included talk about:
- Public cash running out
- Gun purchases withheld
- Taxes, booze, and responses
- Government distancing