Perhaps a commerce communications director could craft a better message for anxious business owners, but that wouldn’t be the tone his boss is promoting.
I applaud the decision makers, at all levels of government, that quickly responded to the medical crisis. But health issues only represent one component of the challenges in front of us. We all hunkered down for weeks to ‘flatten the curve.’ Our common goal was to ensure that, as a community, we had enough hospital beds for those most vulnerable. Well, we’ve flattened the curve. (And we know now that the survival rate of COVID-19 in the United States is almost 95%.) Why then are governments having a hard time moving to the next stage during this time of testing? I can only believe that most people were more familiar with the fears and responses to the medical side of the crisis.
Let’s explore the impact on small businesses. Almost half of all employees in the United States work for a small business. In fact, 96% of Rhode Island businesses are small businesses. They are the engine of our economy. Business owners can feel in their bones, the impact of this shutdown on Rhode Island. We owe it to the rest of the citizens of Rhode Island to communicate this feeling.
Perhaps the biggest failure of government in the COVID-19 crisis has been the suspension of regular politics, which helps leaders respond to public sentiment and invests the public in the decisions.
An interesting discrepancy can be observed between the way Governor Gina Raimondo’s decree that everybody must wear face masks in public places was reported yesterday and the text of the order itself.
Rhode Islanders should take the indicted ex-mayor of Fall River as a warning sign as our governor assumes authority to review the business models and safety plans for every organization in the state.
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.
Governor Raimondo wants Rhode Islanders to take on faith that she actually has the authority she’s wielding and that she’s basing decisions on “science,” but the public, and the news media, should not follow the cult of personality.
The COVID-19 shutdown is financially decimating hospitals. End it now.
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.
Our very different Easter experience this year presents an opportunity to ask our elected officials to renew their vows, so to speak.
“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.
The governor only has her dictatorial authority to micromanage every organization and civil right in our state if the rest of us pretend along with her.
The emerging question when it comes to the daily data releases for COVID-19 in Rhode Island continues to be: which metric should we be watching? Today, the number of cases continued to outstrip my prediction as did, tragically, the number deaths. However, the number of hospitalizations, which is the focus of my model, went down one from yesterday and was, therefore, substantially lower than my prediction.
The reason the model I developed shows what looks like an upward correction and the predicted decline spreading out has to do with the number of cases. The rate of growth is slowing, but not as quickly as it had been, which means there are more “active” cases than expected, and that’s the foundation of my hospitalization predictions. (By the way, here’s the original post of this series, with my methodology.)
The three key metrics now look as follows:
- Projection for 4/21: 5,311
- Actual for 4/21: 5,500
- Projection for 4/22: 5,731
- Projection for 4/21: 296
- Actual for 4/21: 271
- Projection for 4/22: 302
- Projection for 4/21: 162
- Actual for 4/21: 171
- Projection for 4/22: 178
The level of power Governor Raimondo is claiming for herself is huge, and it is noticeable in subtle ways. For example, in an article on GoLocal about how she’s had her hair done even as Rhode Islanders are prevented from doing the same, the governor tells “hairdressers, barbers, gig economy workers” to file for unemployment “until I can find a way to get you open safely.”
Notice that it’s all up to her. She is going to find a way. She is going to tell you when you can work again. If she is going to do that, she should give Rhode Islanders detailed information and data about how she is making decisions so we can judge for ourselves whether what she is concluding is reasonable or ridiculous.
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.
Is the cure worse than the disease? Research Director Justin Katz of the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity joins CEO Stenhouse on in “In The Dugout” to discuss the coronavirus crisis in RI. Katz is also the managing editor of the Ocean State Current, an he offers an analysis of the data of Governor Gina Raimondo’s data.
My weekly call-in on John DePetro’s WNRI 1380 AM/95.1 FM show, for April 20, included talk about:
- Executive orders from the governor
- Models projecting the illness
- A cowardly General Assembly (looking for incumbent security)
- Talk of a Raimondo VP pick
- The idea that killing unborn children is an essential procedure
Rhode Islanders can make decisions as adults and don’t need Constitutionally suspect impositions from our chief executive.
As “state of emergency” becomes more a legal term of art than a fact, we need our free press to challenge government authority rather than just conveying its message.
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