[Paul Fromm sent me this. I totally agree. Only a complete idiot
would try to flatten an exponential curve. It is complete
stupidity. It makes no sense. And it makes things worse and gets
people killed. Jan]
The Canadian Red Ensign
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Only Morons Try to Flatten Curves
Straightenin’ the curves
Flattenin’ the hills
Some day the mountain might get ’em
but the law never will.
- Waylon Jennings as “The Balladeer” in the theme song to the Dukes of Hazzard. This quote has absolutely nothing to do with what I am discussing in this essay and is thrown in merely for my amusement.
In most – not all – countries, public health authorities have responded to the Wuhan Flu pandemic by issuing “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders to the entire population, closing public facilities, shutting down all businesses and services that they declare to be “non-essential” and requiring that people stay at least six feet from each other when they must go out to buy groceries, get medical attention or the like. The end to which these are the means is expressed in that ubiquitous phrase, one of many that I wish never to hear again in my life after this pandemic is over, “flattening the curve.”
The curve that they are trying to flatten is that of the graph indicating the projected pattern of numbers of persons infected with COVID-19 from when the coronavirus first enters a population – or at least when it is first detected there – to when the pandemic peters out and ends. As is usual for an epidemic/pandemic the numbers infected are small at the beginning, then as it begins to spread faster they rise, at some point reaching a peak, before dropping back down again. Plotted on a graph, it forms the familiar bell shaped curve that statisticians use to represent a normal distribution in probability theory.
To “flatten the curve” means to alter the pattern by slowing down the spread of the virus so that the peak is much lower. This does not necessarily mean that the total number of people infected will be any less – just that the largest number of people who will be infected at the same time will be less. The point of doing this, is to prevent the medical system from being overburdened all at once and collapsing.
It should be observed that this strategy is designed to save the health care system rather than to save lives. It is important that we remember that, as much as our public health officials would prefer that we believe otherwise, these things are not synonymous. When it comes to saving lives, the big question with regards to flattening the curve is which is most likely to produce the most fatalities – a short-term, temporary, overload of the health care system during which treatment will not be available to everyone who requires it or an artificial extension of the duration of the pandemic and the lifespan of the virus giving it more opportunities to mutate and do more harm. To flatten the curve is to produce said artificial extension of the duration of the pandemic.
Our governments are being rather less than honest with us about the fact that the absurd time frames – up to two years – that we are seeing in their projection models are the result of the strategy of flattening the curve rather than the reason for it. The only way to push the peak of curve down is by slowing down the rate of infection and thus extending the duration of the pandemic long past the virus’ natural cycle. Even if doing this were to prove to be less fatal in terms of those who ultimately die from the virus it is an incredibly stupid and insane thing to do because it maximizes the myriad sorts of other damage that will be done by the shutdown.
Shocking as it will be for the many Canadians who worship at the altar of Tommy Douglas to hear this, the collapse of the health care system would not mean the end of the world. The hospitals would recover from such a collapse a lot quicker than the economy will recover from the shutdown, our social and communal lives will recover from our being brainwashed into fearing ordinary human contact, and our heritage of Common Law rights and freedoms will recover from our having willingly surrendered all of our most basic freedoms the moment some Hitler with a stethoscope told us to do so to avoid catching and spreading a bad bug.
The long-term negative consequences of the means being employed to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic so outweigh the benefit of saving the health care system that those who for whatever reason have decided upon this strategy have been trying to sell it to the public by pretending that it is the only option for dealing with this pandemic that is available. Consider, for example, the way in which our Dominion and provincial governments have released over the past couple of weeks the projection models that they have been working with. In the press conferences where these models were released contrasts were drawn. On the one hand, we were given the numbers of those that these models predict will be infected with the virus and die under the measures currently being taken. On the other hand, we were given the numbers of those that according to the model would have been infected and died had we done nothing at all.
All of this is, of course, an obvious example of bifurcation, of the logical fallacy of the false dilemma. It is hardly the case that the only options available to us were to do what we are presently doing or to do nothing. A strategy of protecting the most vulnerable, while letting everybody else go about their daily lives, would reduce the number of deaths expected from the pandemic without the numerous ill effects of flattening the curve. The Kingdom of Sweden is following such a strategy and it appears to be working for them. It has not been often in the last century that Sweden has been a model of sound and sane public policy. It figures that after following their bad example on any number of other issues, usually having something or the other to do with gender politics and political correctness, that when they actually get something right we would ignore them.
Dissenting epidemiologist, Dr. Knut Wittkowski, who was the head of Rockefeller University’s Department of Biostatics, Epidemiology, and Research Design for twenty years, has argued that there is no good reason to extend the duration of a respiratory disease’s run through the population and that the present regime of extreme social distancing and shut down, far from being the best or only response to the pandemic, is the worst. He is far from being the only epidemiologist to think this way and to disagree with the strategy being pursued by most public health authorities. As is generally the case, when the mainstream media claims that a consensus of scientific experts is behind a policy which they and the government support, they are lying through their teeth.
That there is a great deal of uncertainty about this virus and pandemic is acknowledged by all. That the measures being taken to combat it will have devastating effects of their own, which will only get worse the longer they are kept in place, is a certainty. Yet the strategy which underlies these measures, requires that they be kept in place for a very long time. This is hardly grounds for the blind confidence in our public health authorities that they are demanding from us at this moment.
Indeed, they are starting to give the impression that we would have been better off seeking the advice of that alternative medicine practitioner whose answer to everything is “ooo eee ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang.”