A Front Line Opinion on the COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Lockdowns

[EDIT-09-01-2020: Our site was blocked from Facebook for sharing this opinion in May of 2020. We took it down so that we were not censored, however, once censored by Facebook it is all but impossible to get off of their naughty list. With that in mind, we are republishing this article. Of note, much of what we projected back in May turned out to be true now in September. COVID-19 has become a political tool, and with open ended “quantitative easing” the greatest wealth transfer in US history has occurred, voices questioning it silenced from mass media. If you search for our website you’ll find the site at the very top of every search engine except–Google. Censorship is very real, and although we are not yet at the level of some, it is a slippery slope that we are all headed down if it remains unabated.]

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Benjamin Franklin

This quote resonates with countless social media posts and a preponderance of news outlets tilting the discussion left or right. The context behind the quote is actually quite different and almost runs contrary to the implied meaning. But nonetheless, the message it conveys at face value does indeed lend itself to a good deal of debate among the two camps.

Firstly to answer this question we need to look at what we know about the Coronavirus/COVID-19. Although I am not a physician, my training is in medicine and I do have good deal of education in the field. That and the twenty years of experience in medicine helps to cut through the mud. But let’s face it, most physicians do not have the training in this field either, save those in epidemiology or infectious disease. But even then, our knowledge is entirely limited by the fact that we cannot effectively test. Without testing we have no accurate representation of incidence and thus no calculation of an actual fatality rate. Regardless of that fact here’s what I can tell you as fact. Most ICUs I have been to, ranging from one of the biggest cities in the US to some outliers, are at no more capacity than before, most are actually less acute/less occupied. This is my experience in a few dozen ICUs. Each one has had maybe one or two COVID patients, and very few deaths. The ones that have been particularly sickly have significant comorbidities. This is fact. While NYC is an isolated case, I will contend that it is due to the incredible proximity that people live in in NYC, that I can attest to having lived there myself. A confluence of the density and timing of the infection spread give it a higher peak, though likely much higher herd immunity.

My sources for writing this essay are from direct experience of not just myself, but the dozens if not hundreds of other healthcare personnel throughout the country who have shared their experience with me. The long and the short of it is this–outside of a healthcare facility you won’t catch me wearing a mask unless I am asked or required. Why? I am not afraid. I have been watching CNN feverishly in my travels, watching the body count rise from 2400 at the start, to 80,000 or so now in the US as the months go by. And although I used to trust CNN for unbiased coverage, it has become clear that it is not the place to get it anymore. Don Lemon, Andrew Cuomo, and nearly every talking head on the channel is working to instill fear. Why? Mr. Cuomo himself recovered and is now back in the studio. Mr. Lemon, though much older since the last time I had regularly watched cable news, is furious at those criticizing the lockdown. They Fear. And I do not mean Don and Andy, I mean They. They who set the agenda.

Most ICUs I have been to, ranging from one of the biggest cities in the US to some outliers, are at no more capacity than before, most are actually less acute/less occupied. This is my experience in a few dozen ICUs. Each one has had maybe one or two COVID patients, and very few deaths. The ones that have been particularly sickly have significant comorbidities. This is fact.

I watch these opinions in disbelief, because here I thought I was in the US of A. ‘Murica. The land of the free. And now we’re in a protracted lockdown. Shutting out political opposition with the rabid opinion of a journalist with an agenda. Mocked by the public at large. How is this possible? I’m not afraid of COVID. I’m not afraid of choking to death from a virus. Because I know I probably already had it being a frequent traveler in the hotspots long before the quarantines started, having battled my own virus that went through my family at a breakneck speed, but left nobody permanently harmed. But what I fear is our government, the same government that gave us family court and indefinite confinement for the indigent, to have the power to choose which segments of society can continue to operate. This is exactly what our founders had feared, irrespective of the context of Ben Franklin’s quote.

Dr. Fauci actually wrote the book on medicine.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Fauci. He is an exemplary human being who deserves every rung on his career ladder. But I value his opinion as a physician, not as a politician. I do not disagree with the risks he presents, I disagree with the risks a government having total control presents.

Let’s examine the economic impact of the COVID pandemic and the resulting lockdowns in the US. Small businesses are all but shut down. Most have laid off or furloughed their staff, and realistically that means they are going to go under or perform very poorly in the coming year or more. These business are not publicly traded, their impact on the economy is not directly reflected by the Wall Street indices. While the extent of this will not be known for quite some time, preliminary it is not looking good. Next up we have the ones who these businesses are indebted to. Most of these will be landlords, insurers, and employees. The employees obligations have been mostly discharged through layoffs. Now paying rent/mortgages on some of these large properties with no income? Who suffers there. Now we’re to the landlords and the banks. These entities are wealthier and have much of their wealth tied up in equities, bonds, and other investments. And then you have the top 1% and above, whose value rests entirely on the value of their assets, not their productivity. These people can furlough themselves as much as needed, they are not reliant on income, just protective of their portfolios. So where have the bailouts been focused? Not where it is needed.

The last twelve years the stock market has been in a bubble unknown to history. Near zero interest rates have caused massive debt, and although middle class salaries have not moved much, actual inflation has very much happened. The price of gold had more than doubled, the cost of living (real estate, produce, gas) have all gone up substantially. And although relative to other currencies the US dollar has remained stable, relative to a middle class income, it has gone down substantially. But when you look at those who hold investments, their wealth has gone up massively. “But Mr. MAS, I benefit too, my 401k is also up!” Dear reader, if your 401k is anything like mine, you have seen moderate gains, but nothing of the sort that your fund manager has. Those fees you pay? You are absorbing all the risk, but only getting a portion of the gains.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr. Fauci. He is an exemplary human being who deserves every rung on his career ladder. But I value his opinion as a physician, not as a politician. I do not disagree with the risks he presents, I disagree with the risks a government having total control presents.

So the bailouts/CARES act/HEROES act…let’s look at those. The CARES act provided $1200 to some families, plus $500 per kid or so. Unless you’re behind on child support. It also provided SBA loans that would turn to grants if you did not lay off your employees, but again, not if you’re behind on child support. Oh, and if you happen to live in a high cost of living area such as San Francisco or NYC, where a six figure salary can mean poverty, you don’t get anything either. So where did the majority of the funds from the CARES act go? You can read it here and many other sources. But basically a whole lot went to pet projects of the various politicians. Where did this money come from? You and your children. Although unlikely to actually be paid, it will instead manifest itself as inflation. But we’re not done. Our Federal Reserve has a lot of friends in the banking sector. What do those people have? Investments. When the economy faces collapse not only did the politicians nefariously make some trades, but they ensured that the man running the ship would not let these failing business do what they should–fail. Thanks to Jerome Powell’s Money Printer, the stock market has been profoundly manipulated. While those soon to retire may appreciate it, this again will set the stage for massive inflation, and gives those on the inside an ability to structure their assets in a way that we will socialize their losses. So regardless, ourselves and our children will be the ones to pay.

A lot of people die every day. Sometimes good, young people, and for no reason. Those who work in end of life, intensive care, cancer centers, hospice, and similar fields can tell you that is just how it is. While no doubt the COVID pandemic has killed many people, the response can never be that the government can solve this problem. In 1917 a very talented and well spoken individual by the name of Vladimir Lenin had an answer for the problems the society faced, and twenty years later his successor had enslaved a massive swath of the world and killed millions of dissidents. We live with this false notion that another Stalin or Hilter can’t exist, but it just isn’t true. Humans will be just as gullible today as they were only a hundred years ago for Russia, only 80 years ago for Germany. We watch this amplified in social media, where there is no penetration of either bubble. It can happen again, and I will argue that it can happen just as easily now as before. With the arsenal of surveillance that our agencies have it will only take one bad actor to fill the top with untouchables. And if we allow this apparatus unquestionable authority in the name of “safety” when we do not even know the true danger of our enemy, then we are only making it easy for the taking.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

I want to finish this article with the above quote, because this will hold true no matter the era. Those of us in family court who have been robbed of our families and our future already know that it can happen, and it happens on a massive scale daily. The only question is when, who is next–and who is last. We’re actively throwing away the very thing that had made this country a promise of something great to so many seeking relief from repression. And yet we are handing it on a silver platter to those who seek to take it away from us. We are human. Many of us will be killed by viruses, car accidents, diabetes, and afflictions of all sorts. Our government can help, but should never be allowed to utilize these trials of life to usurp authority, and shape the economy in favor of the oligarchs. As we allow these chips off our freedoms as we have with the Patriot Act. Stop the madness. Let nature take its course, it has a far better track record than authoritarian regimes.

Thank you to Anna for providing the header image used for this article.

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