The pandemic has created the perfect pretext for enacting economically destructive policies.
On January 19, 2020, Washington state reported the first US case of coronavirus. By the end of March, 245 million Americans were under stay-at-home restrictions to “flatten the curve.” Mainstream news terrorized the public with exponential graphs, threats of a medical supply shortage, and displays of hygiene theater. Appeals to science were weaponized to enforce conformity, and the media portrayed anti-lockdown protesters as backwards, astroturfed white nationalists bent on endangering the public.
Today millions of Americans have fallen into poverty or are on the verge of destitution. Stimulus money has largely been used as a handout to corporations, and over 160,000 small businesses have closed. In March and April 30 million Americans filed for unemployment. Now temporary job losses are becoming permanent. 12 million unemployed people may see their benefits lapse even if Congress passes a new aid deal. Homelessness is spiking, 11.4 million households owe $70 billion in back rent and fees, and 40 million people are at risk of eviction. In some states, food bank lines stretch for miles, and 1 in 4 children are expected to experience food insecurity.
Meanwhile, Walmart and Target reported record sales. Amazon tripled its profits and Jeff Bezos made $70 billion. Billionaires have collectively made over $1 trillion since March. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft now make up 20% of the stock market’s total worth. The tech industry has achieved an unparalleled level of wealth and dominance. Data, which has been more valuable than oil since 2017, is expected to expand its economic footprint.
Unemployment, hunger, institutional breakdown, and the destruction of social bonds are not symptoms of a virus. They are the indirect violence of class warfare. The pandemic is a convenient scapegoat for the largest upward wealth transfer in modern human history. Under the pretext of a public health policy, elites have successfully waged a counterrevolution that will result in the erosion of working conditions and quality of life for generations to come.
Death, disease, and pandemics have always been part of human life and they always will be. 2.8 million Americans die every year and 56 million people die worldwide. Each year 1.3 million people die of tuberculosis, 445,000 die of malaria, and 290,000-650,000 die of influenza. In 1968 1-4 million people died in the H2N3 influenza pandemic, during which businesses and schools stayed open and large events were held.
Indefinite closures have never before been used as a disease control method on a global scale. These experimental restrictions were shaped by the discredited Imperial College Model which predicted 2.2 million US deaths. Many epidemiologists and doctors questioned these doomsday projections and pointed out that there was not sufficient data to justify lockdowns. The virus has a low mortality rate, especially for people under 65, and 94% of US covid deaths have occurred with comorbidities. Most statistical analysis does not show lockdown measures to be an effective strategy for reducing mortality.
In March unprecedented policies were rationalized through shocking stories and videos from northern Italy. The region’s crowded ICUs were presented as a warning for the rest of Europe and the US. Unknown to many was the fact that Lombardy had been severely impacted by ongoing privatization efforts and a shrinking hospital system regularly overwhelmed by influenza. This omission by mainstream media played a key role in developing the mythology that economic shutdown could magically eradicate a virus. In reality lockdowns have accelerated a cycle of austerity and created a self-fulfilling prophecy of perpetual crisis.
Chronic understaffing and lockdown-induced layoffs in nursing homes severely exacerbated covid’s death toll. 40% of US covid deaths are linked to nursing homes. 1 in 6 covid deaths in Vermont were from a single facility. In New York (the state with the second highest covid deaths per million) hospitals sent over 6,300 elderly covid patients back into nursing homes. Unprotected, underserved, and alone, the elderly are also afflicted by the “slow killer” of loneliness. Isolation increases risk of heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. It is as deadly as obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Financial insecurity will exacerbate these health risks for the elderly. Economic shutdown has weakened global pension funds and they may not recover. Millions of Baby Boomers have been forced into early retirement without adequate savings. Many Americans are dipping into their retirement funds early. The Congressional Budget Office projects that $2.8 trillion in Social Security funds will be used up in a decade due to the impact of un- and underemployment on lowering contributions.
I hate this moronic conspiracy thinking. There is no evidence that elites deliberately inflicted class warfare using Covid as an excuse. Instead, our government reacted with various improvisations to a destructive influenza the likes of which have not been seen for about a century.
When commentary like this piece encourages people to feel like victims, it simultaneously releases them from moral moorings because those who’ve been screwed over don’t usually feel that they have any responsibilities. When people believe the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, they are freed from normal constraints because they believe the whole system is rigged against them. There’s no rational reason why one would protect a rigged system.
“Food insecurity” is the gayest term. This author uses it as a synonym for hunger. We don’t have hunger in America. I’ve never seen anybody emaciated in America akin to what we saw in Ethiopia in the 1980s.
Overall, with regard to dealing with Covid-19, I have had tepid opinions because I don’t feel like I know much. I’m not a fan of lockdown policies but I don’t know enough to passionately oppose them. When in doubt, I follow the guidance of thinkers such as Steve Sailer and Greg Cochran, and both of them took Covid seriously. If it turns out that Covid only cost the people who died from it one year on average of life expectancy, then I over-estimated the severity of the illness and obviously our lockdown policies were massively wrong. On the other hand, if Covid costs on average ten or more years of life expectancy per death, then my understanding of Covid and my mixed sympathy for lockdowns would seem aligned with reality.
Small businesses go out of business all the time because many of them are hobbies, vanities and passion projects more than rational businesses. People will often do anything to say something prestigious in response to the perennial question, “What do you do?” Many people have a desperate need to be a star and operating their own business is frequently a way people live in delusion. A rational business has more than 27 days of prudent reserve. A business with fewer than 60 days of cash reserves is not serious. According to JP Morgan: “The median small business holds 27 cash buffer days in reserve. Half of all small businesses hold a cash buffer of less than one month. Moreover, 25 percent of small businesses hold fewer than 13 cash buffer days in reserve.” If you can’t handle some turbulence, you should go out of business. Many small businesses are acts of delusion by people who have no business trying to be entrepreneurs. Most people are not suited to being entrepreneurs. They are better off working for others. The reason that the Big Tech companies have thrived during Covid is that they have services that people desperately want. The primary reason that small businesses went under is that under changed circumstances, they were no longer viable. The strong survive and the weak die. The sooner people get in touch with reality and abandon failing businesses, the better.
On a 1-10 scale with 10 being equivalent to the 1918 Spanish Flu, it seems to me that Covid is a 3 to 6.
COVID-19 reduced U.S. life expectancy, especially among Black and Latino populations.
A new study finds that due to COVID-19 deaths last year, life expectancy at birth for Americans will shorten by 1.13 years to 77.48 years — the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in at least 40 years.
The researchers project that, due to the pandemic deaths last year, life expectancy at birth for Americans will shorten by 1.13 years to 77.48 years, according to their study published Thursday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
That is the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in at least 40 years and is the lowest life expectancy estimated since 2003.
The declines in life expectancy are likely even starker among minority populations. For Blacks, the researchers project their life expectancy would shorten by 2.10 years to 72.78 years, and for Latinos, by 3.05 years to 78.77 years.
Whites are also impacted, but their projected decline is much smaller — 0.68 years — to a life expectancy of 77.84 years.
Overall, the gap in life expectancy between Blacks and whites is projected to widen by 40%, from 3.6 to more than 5 years — further evidence of the disease’s disparate impact on disadvantaged populations…
In the decades before the COVID-19 pandemic, annual improvements in U.S. life expectancy had been small but overall life expectancy had rarely declined. An exception was the annual reduction of 0.1 year for three consecutive years — 2015, 2016, and 2017 — which were attributed in part to increases in so-called “deaths of despair” among middle-aged whites related to drug overdoses, including opioids, as well as alcohol-related liver disease and suicide.
The projected pandemic-related drop in life expectancy is about 10 times as large as the declines seen in recent years.
The last major pandemic to significantly reduce life expectancy in a short period of time was the 1918 influenza pandemic, which research indicates reduced life expectancy by an extraordinary 7-12 years.
What would a hypothetical 1 million US deaths in the COVID-19 epidemic mean for mortality of individuals at the population level? Life expectancy for 2020 would drop by 2.9 y. Those dying would lose an average of 11.7 y of expected remaining life, while for the general population the loss of remaining life would be 0.2 y for elders (at age 80) and much less at younger ages. Mortality per person would be less than that of the Spanish flu, but closer to that of the opioid and HIV/AIDS epidemics, while far more concentrated in time. The standard valuation of averting 1.75 million deaths would be many trillions of dollars….
Whereas all-cause mortality tends to follow Gompertz’s law, increasing exponentially at a constant rate of about 10%/y of age, COVID-19 mortality increases at about 11%/y of age…
The most direct indicator of mortality is the number of deaths. This count is often given relative to population size. In the absence of the epidemic, recent levels of mortality suggest there would have been about 3 million deaths in the US population of 330 million, giving a crude death rate of about 9.1/1,000.
An additional 1 million deaths from COVID-19 would increase the total annual deaths to 4 million, raising the crude death rate to about 12.1/1,000 (or to 9.9/1,000 if there were 250,000 COVID-19 deaths). The increased risk to the average person is small in absolute size but large in relative terms, with a proportional increase of 1/3 for 1 million deaths and 1/12 for 250,000 deaths. Epidemic mortality in a given region may be compressed into a small portion of the year: If most of the deaths occurred within a 3-mo period, the daily risk of mortality implied by an additional 1 million deaths during this time would be more than double its normal level…
It is evident from Fig. 1 that COVID-19 mortality risk is many times higher for the old than for the young, and indeed the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths are of older people. But the same is true for all-cause mortality—the vast majority of deaths are of the elderly. About 70% of all US COVID-19 deaths are to age 70 y or above, somewhat above the 64% for normal mortality. In fact, the age distribution of deaths attributed to COVID-19 is quite similar to that of all-cause mortality, which tends to increase by about 10% every year of age after age 30 y. Fig. 1B shows that in South Korea, Italy, France, Germany, England and Wales, and Spain, virus-attributed mortality rates rise by about 12%/y, while the United States and Wuhan, China show a slower rate of increase (about 9.5%/y of age)…
The estimates in Table 1 tell us that a scenario of 1 million COVID-19 deaths over the course of 3 mo exposes a 30-y old to the risks of a 38.5-y old in normal times and exposes an 80-y old to the risks of an 88.5-y old in normal times. The same numbers of years of temporary aging, however, pose different absolute increases in risk. For the 30-y old, the absolute increase in mortality would be small, but for the 80-y old it would be large…
Based on Social Security Administration projections of cohort mortality and remaining life expectancy (9), we calculate that the 2020 American population of 330 million people has on average 45.8 y of remaining life expectancy, totaling 14.9 billion person years. We calculate, using these same cohort life tables, that the average person dying of COVID-19 had 11.7 y of remaining life expectancy, so if the epidemic kills an additional 1 million people, it will result in a loss of 11.7 million y of remaining life expectancy. This represents a loss of less than 1/1,000th of the population’s remaining years to live. Older individuals ages 70 to 89 y, taking those who die and those who survive together, would on average lose about 0.2 y of remaining life, and younger individuals would lose far less.
How could such an enormous loss of lives produce such a seemingly small loss of remaining life expectancy? Two factors play a role. First, even with substantial additional COVID-19 mortality, death will still be a statistically rare event. Most people will survive and they will, if mortality returns to normal, have many years of life ahead of them. Second, those who die of COVID-19 are older and have on average fewer years of remaining life expectancy than the average person (11.7 y instead of 45.8 y)…
Both of the above calculations may overstate the loss of remaining life in that they assign the remaining life expectancy based only on age, without taking into account that COVID-19 deaths are disproportionately occurring among those with compromised health status. Hanlon et al. (10) estimate that those dying from COVID-19 have only about 1 y less of remaining life on average than those at the same age in the general population, which would mean that the overstatement is not very large, around 8%. On the other hand, our calculations will be an understatement if the epidemic damages the health of survivors…
With a hypothetical 1 million COVID-19 deaths, it is possible to portray the epidemic as unimaginably large—the biggest killer in American history—or small, reducing our remaining life by less than 1 part in 1,000. However, when the loss of life is put into comparative perspective, we see that the scale of an epidemic with 1 million deaths would be as large as that of the recent opioid and HIV crises but much smaller than that of the Spanish flu. The 1918 epidemic killed more people relative to population size, and it also caused a much greater loss of remaining life expectancy because those who died were so young.
A February 2, 2021 study says: “Our medium estimate indicates a reduction in US life expectancy at birth of 1.13 y to 77.48 y, lower than any year since 2003. We also project a 0.87-y reduction in life expectancy at age 65 y. The Black and Latino populations are estimated to experience declines in life expectancy at birth of 2.10 and 3.05 y, respectively, both of which are several times the 0.68-y reduction for Whites.”