As you probably know, the original justification for the COVID-19 lockdown was to prevent the overwhelming of hospitals. This never happened; not in Rhode Island nor in any state other than hotspot New York (where it got close); not even at the height of the pandemic. Click here to view Justin Katz’ latest, very informative tracking graph of COVID-19 trends in Rhode Island. You’ll note that hospitalizations in Rhode Island, in fact, peaked THREE WHOLE MONTHS AGO.
Keep this critical piece of information in mind as we move now to Rhode Island’s COVID-19 press conference yesterday. At it, Governor Raimondo made several disturbing announcements, including new restrictions on bars; new benchmarks for school re-openings which will keep Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls schools closed; and a warning that she would impose additional restrictions on beaches and restaurants if Rhode Islanders didn’t get “really serious” about social distancing.
One of her shortest statements was also perhaps her most disturbing one. Governor Raimondo yesterday effectively extended her highly destructive lockdown of Rhode Island indefinitely by noting that overwhelming of the hospitals COULD still happen if we do not comply and stay locked down. If her new metric is to prevent something that MIGHT happen – even though it didn’t even happen at the height of the pandemic – that means the lockdown never ends. This isn’t a shifting of the goalposts, it’s ripping them out completely.
Meanwhile, the lockdown has started taking a serious toll; in deaths (US deaths; also here; worldwide deaths) and on people’s lives via the devastated economy. (As of this morning, total new unemployment claims hits 55,000,000; holy moses, the destruction.)
Governor Raimondo and certain governors and mayors around the country have abandoned the original goal of the lockdown – preservation of hospitals – and have turned to citing secondary, narrowly focused metrics such as number of cases and positivity rates to justify the continuation of their lockdowns, their highly damaging decisions to keep K-12 schools closed and implement ludicrous interstate travel bans.
There is only one statistic that matters: the survival rate of the disease is over 99%. No matter how many positive cases there are, this is immutable: over 99% of the people who get COVID-19 will survive.
I still refuse to look for a nefarious motive for their actions because, ultimately, all that matters is the action and its impact. And, absolutely, the ending of the lockdown, which should have happened long before now, must include protection of our precious vulnerable populations.
I would simply note it is indisputable that by continuing their lockdowns, Governor Raimondo, Governor Baker and other lockdown governors are engaging in a massive, highly destructive over-reaction to COVID-19 as they studiously disregard the most important science and data – a 99%+ survival rate – pertaining to the disease.