It has already become a cliché to assert that the United States (and other advanced western countries) must not catapult their economies backward into debt-ridden depression in emancipating themselves from the specter of the coronavirus, and it has become a political pinata sadistically assaulted by President Donald Trump’s enemies that America must not be reopened prematurely, (to ensure that the whole country is in such a desolated economic condition on election day, even so tired and unprepossessing a generic Democrat as Joe Biden might have a chance of election).
The contest between these two already tiresome refrains in public discourse is already clangorous and can only become less euphonious with repetition and increased volume. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leaving no barrel unscraped, added on CNN on Sunday that the president should be investigated for his administration’s tardiness in enhancing the ability to test for diseases, that was in the anemic condition that, (to quote the putative Democratic presidential nominee) “the OBiden-Bama administration” left it in.
This is the Democratic strategy: nominate a semi-comatose party wheel-horse with a peppy African-American female running mate and throw red meat to the Trump-haters by accusing the president of dithering about testing while the momentum of the coronavirus accelerated, and then of stamping on the windpipe of the American worker, investor, and middle class with a totalitarian shut-down of the economy needlessly prolonged by the regime’s short-sightedness and obduracy.
If this is their game-plan, we have seen the Democratic future and it won’t work. Trump was accused of “racism” and “xenophobia” by prominent Democrats (including Joe Biden), for shutting down direct access from China in January, and his economic relief measures will hold the country together at least through April.
Unless the same powers that be in the Democratic Party that carried Biden to the finish line ahead of the democratic Marxist Senator Sanders, now revisit their candidate and convince him that duty requires that Biden withdraw, presumably in favor of New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who might make a respectable race against Trump, the whole ramshackle, punch-drunk, Trumpophobic Democratic gerontocracy is headed for the last round-up on election day.
What April Holds
Instead of a war of platitudes—“cure worse than the disease” and “throwing the baby out with the bath-water” against “lives are more important than dollars” and “how many deaths are acceptable”—we have to spend April, when the shut-down will continue and the improvised emergency social safety net will be tested, putting the country in a position to make an informed decision about going back to work and school and, for those so-minded, church.
The high-light of authoritarian leftist political absurdity for the week was New York Mayor Bill de Blasio threatening to shut permanently any church that dared to hold a religious service. He narrowly edged out the mayor of Washington, D.C. Muriel Bowser, who threatened to jail anyone who ventured out of doors. Not even Hitler or Stalin tried that one.
The coronavirus has so far cost the United States about 3900 lives as of Tuesday night, 800 in the previous 24 hours. It had seemed on Monday evening on the evidence of only a couple of days and therefore too brief to be dispositive, that new coronavirus deaths in the United States might have plateaued at 400 to 500 daily.
Monday spiked that and the chief presidential medical advisors, Dr.’s Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, told the country on Tuesday to be ready for 100,000 coronavirus deaths, that is to say that fatalities to date are only four per cent of the total to be anticipated. The doctors (and the president) are sensibly trying to cap peoples fears, but defeat complacency.
While prepared for 100,000 fatalities, they clearly expect fewer and are now in the important work of trying to refine best and worst cases, narrow those brackets as daily incoming data permits, and take the debate away from the hysterics and fear-mongers and also from the blasé and the over-confident.
The incidence of fatalities is heavily concentrated in New York City and a few other places, and the latest California figures indicate that the state may have peaked in deaths now, not on April 27. This would cut the model’s high estimate of death to 84,000.
To gain some perspective, the normal flu has apparently cost the country 24,000 dead already this year and may be expected to take at least that many lives in the balance of the year.
The opioid crisis cost nearly 47,000 American lives last year and may be expected to do so again, and automobile accidents cost 34,000 lives last year (these figures were produced and very sensibly weighed in a piece for RealClearPolitics on Tuesday by Bill Bennett and Seth Liebsohn).
In Arkansas there have been seven dead, out of 300 identified cases, and there are equally sparse occurrences in many other inland states. This may mean that the president’s initial thought of reopening the country in stages, which he revised to a uniform reopening policy for the whole country on Monday, may have merit.
The burning question, hotly debated but unprovable until we have the collective testing experience of seeing how the virus responds to the national quarantine strategy, is whether New York City, pandemically speaking, is in the future of all parts of America, is a medical falling domino that will knock down the dominoes of all the other large cities of America, or whether Arkansas will be more widely replicated.
On what we have seen in Italy, South Korea, and elsewhere, there is no reason to think that what happens in the most afflicted region of a country must spread throughout the country, and both Italy and South Korea seem both to be over the peak of the coronavirus now, Italy just in the last few days.
As of now, the probability seems to be that as the battle against the coronavirus is growing more comprehensive and becoming more firmly based in clinical experience and better armed in professional and scientific terms every day, it is very unlikely that most, or possibly any, other part of the country will have such a challenging experience with this virus as New York has had. That would mean a substantial decline in the rate of expansion and the fatality rate throughout April.
As long as the corona virus could be represented as almost unstoppable and often incurable, panic spread like fire in kindling. Now that finite limits appear measurable and there is a chance to confine real pandemical status to New York City, rationalism gains strength.
If the next two weeks produce stern figures but seem to get the country to a peak, pessimism will abate and political discourse will be more civilized.
The Democrats’ fear that the coronavirus will not serve them as a deus ex machina that will give President Trump the hook (after all their pseudo-legal machinations have failed to do so), is fading. Indicative of the Democrats’ crumbling morale and in keeping with their surging authoritarianism in the antics of de Blasio, Bowser, and less egregious Democratic officials, is the new practice of CNN to do their own edited coverage of the president’s daily press briefings.
The evidence of the last four years is that the only time CNN viewership numbers get above the waterline is when they cover Trump, (almost always disparagingly). Banning him, partially or altogether, will cost CNN more than it costs the president.
Conrad Black has been one of Canada’s most prominent financiers for 40 years, and was one of the leading newspaper publishers in the world. He is the author of authoritative biographies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and, most recently, “Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.