Gun-tote’n, law abide’n Americans prepare to die for freedom

Let’s make no bones about it, they’re nuts (though on occasion I do admire their ‘freedom at all costs’ credo), via Domain:

The governors of several US states – including close allies of President Donald Trump – are moving to rapidly reopen businesses and churches as protests against government-mandated lockdowns spread throughout the country.

The Republican Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, has announced that gyms, churches, bowling alleys, tattoo parlours, barbers and nail salons would be allowed to reopen by the end of the week in his state.Scroll left through recommended storiesScroll right through recommended stories

…Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, also a Republican, announced that his state’s stay-at-home order would finish at the end of April, and that some businesses would be able to reopen this week.

…Henry McMaster, the Republican Governor of South Carolina, announced that furniture, clothing and jewellery stores could operate in his state as long as they limited customers to 20 per cent of fire capacity

…protests have been held in Maryland, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington and other states. Many have been organised by gun-rights advocates and conservative activists.

Let’s look at the state of virus curve for each: 

They’re all going to die.

David Llewellyn-Smith


      • Can’t believe the communist mentality here. You don’t think people should protest about being forced to put unknown chemicals into their body? I am certainly not against vaccination as it has eradicated many diseases but you should have the right to choose to be protected or not. If Americans want to get working again thats their choice too let em do it most will get over the virus with little or no symptoms anyway.

        • “I am certainly not against vaccination as it has eradicated many diseases but you should have the right to choose to be protected or not”

          That is called a free ride on herd immunity. Of course, everyone wants to privatize gains and socialize losses.

        • These lockdowns are precisely what the Founding Fathers warned against — and why so many own guns. Americans are taught from the outset to fear the creeping power of the Federal Govt — and that’s no bad thing. If you look through history, there’s nothing so permanent as a ‘temporary’ withdrawal of citizens’ freedoms.


            Gotta say, there’s seems to be a lotta these love Island watching, tabloid reading halfwits that have a sh1te job, a massive mortgage, addicted to booze, junk food and prescription drugs, banging on about vaccinations and 5g and “they takin our freedoms” like they ain’t already under complete control.

      • Oh come now. It’s well documented that it will be those less educated and gullible who are more likely to be vaccinated.

        • I wouldn’t say I am ‘worried about’ those who choose not to be vaccinated if they don’t use hospitals or other medical resources after contracting the preventable diseases.

        • Vaccines are specifically tailored to deliver conserved viral proteins (antigens) into the body that allow the adaptive immune system to recognize those specific antigens (conserved proteins that exist in the same form each time the virus replicates) . Each time a virus replicates when it is transmitted there is a tiny probability that that DNA/RNA of the virus will mutate, which in turn mutates the proteins on the virus. With enough mutations vaccines are made redundant. Therefore those people not vaccinated are directly increasing the probability of mutations to accumulate. And indirectly contributing to the creation of a viral strain the requires new vaccinations to be developed and the population re-vaccinated. The influenza virus a great example of this, it is highly transmitted, mutates frequently (proteins are not conserved in replication rendering previous vaccines ineffective) and requires seasonal vaccination. The idea that not getting vaccinated should be some kind of personal freedom is insane to me.

          • Are you suggesting that people who don’t get the flu vaccine are irresponsible?

            I contracted the flu a number of times as a child and have never had it since.

          • AllblackMEMBER

            @Dominic Of course I am not suggesting people who don’t get flu vaccinations are irresponsible. Influenza was used only as an example of viral mutation. As there are so many strains of the influenza virus, clinical effectiveness of flu vaccines are debatable anyways. If you imagine a world where influenza maintained conserved proteins that were a reliable vaccine target then in that instance it would be irresponsible not to get it. One that is certainly irresponsible not to get in this reality is polio for example. It was close to being wiped out until it re established itself in unvaccinated populations.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Almost certainly.

      Likely they don’t have a particularly high opinion of euthanasia either.

  1. Good. Open hte churches!! The blessed ones will flourish no matter what virus is out there.

    • 🌼 Extinction Rebel 💀

      The Trumptards and freedumb-loving Libertardians want to Let ‘er Rip. I say, LET THEM. Then grab the popcorn and watch them die. 🍿

      • While you submit and kow-tow to your Rulers? I love the smell of popcorn and serfdom in the morning.

          • What is a liking of freedom got to do with science? I would have thought it had more to do with psychology (an emotional response). Oh, well, ya live and learn

          • 🌼 Extinction Rebel 💀

            That’s the problem with right-tards: emotional responses to science topics like climate and infection.

            Their hearts overrule their (tiny) minds.

  2. Title of article reminded me of the meme.

    National sports of Australia:

    Housing Auctions
    Giving cringey and patronising lectures to Americans on how they should conduct themselves.

    All it needs is Chris Becker to come along with his usual smug cringe shtick about Donald Trump.

    • Well, I had a conversation with a good friend of mine from Minnesota, he thinks that it’s is too dangerous to open up and that they are going to kill a lot of people. It’s not American bashing.

      • darklydrawlMEMBER

        Agree. I know numerous US citizens who think this action is nuts. According to polls the vast majority are ok with the lockdowns to prevent the spread.

      • I’m American. I think that relaxing the restrictions in the US is playing with fire. But the head of this article is like catnip for a huge percentage of Australians who don’t like to call themselves bigots, yet continuously practice the last acceptable cultural prejudice. It’s in here every day. It doesn’t need this kind of cartoonish reinforcement of that prejudice.

        How can anyone look around the Australia of the last 15 years and think that you’re superior to anyone?

        • It’s largely ignorance of the history of the US — knowing some of the background helps clarify situations and attitudes.

        • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

          Just to clarify Kodiak, when Australia’s educated liberal globalist class call out ‘stupid Americans’ and Trumpeters, they aren’t calling out their fellow global trotting liberal classes that reside in America, that caste of educated know it all know nothings, they’re simply sneering at the working classes.

          Because nothing makes educated liberals feel better than looking down their noses and sneering at (lower class) people they perceive to be yokels and bogans. So long as their targets are white and working class, then they are fair game (can’t make fun of working class browns because ‘racism’).

          Those same sneering ‘Australians’ have more in common with some IT worker in San Fransico or a Banker from London or Lawyer from NY, then they do with any Australia who lives outside the inner ring of Sydney or Melbourne suburbs.

        • mikef179MEMBER

          “How can anyone look around the Australia of the last 15 years and think that you’re superior to anyone?”

          But, but… we are rich because our houses just keep going up and up in price and we haven’t had a technical recession in 30 years… we’s are the bestest in the whole wide world

        • If real push comes to shove you might be surprised to see how many have been shouted down & playing Possum to keep the peace. Mind you I doubt anyone want’s another manipulated WMD Johnny moment.

  3. If businesses are allowed to open, that doesnt guarantee everyone is going to be out and about shopping. But will be interesting to see what happens without the authoritarian state forcing everything to close. Be interesting to see what stays closed, – after all the individual business owners get some say in this – and what stays open with some social distancing.
    Many parts of small town and outer suburban america you could remain in a reasonably tight bubble anyway as you travel by car everywhere. So long as dense crowds can be avoided which would be key.

    • China PlateMEMBER

      and if that’s the case you will find yourself in front of the supreme court defending yourself against a “my right to shop has been violated” type

    • This.
      Just cause the shops and cinemas open doesn’t mean you have to venture out. You are free to make your own decisions — what happened to self-reliance? Oh I know, self-reliance is just another casualty of creeping involvement by Gubmint in ever more aspects of citizens’ lives. On current trend, in the years to come citizens’ will ring a helpline and ask an operator to send someone round to wipe their ar$eholes for them.

      • Actually, I am for personal freedom and personal responsibility. Today’s No. 1 problem is general lack of accountability. The lack of accountability led to moral hazard which in turn made everyone lazy and stupid.

        I am fine with someone who refuses to be vaccinated, contracts a preventable disease because of it, and then refuses to seek help or treatment, and self-isolates. I have no problem with that consistency.

    • Yes, I suspect even in those states most will still stay home given the risk to them & their loved ones, despite God’s protection, those protesting are a loud but small minority.

  4. Tiananmen Square Massacre

    “furniture, clothing and jewellery stores could operate in his state as long as they limited customers to 20 per cent of fire capacity”

    Sounds reasonable. I don’t see the danger.

    “The Republican Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, has announced that gyms, churches, bowling alleys, tattoo parlours, barbers and nail salons would be allowed to reopen by the end of the week in his state.”

    Gyms and churches seem the only real danger, but I assume congregations are discouraged. Australia has unfettered access to supermarkets and schools soon to reopen. A gym or church is no more dangerous.

  5. – Are these people REALLY that stupid ?? or are they betting on “the unwashed” to die (from the virus) before they can collect their pension ?

  6. – Brian Kemp (Georgia) is a well known “white nationalist” who loves to see the position of the white part of the population dominate the rest of the “coloured” part of the population.

    • desmodromicMEMBER

      Well maybe sheep aren’t as dumb as you think. Most of your countrymen don’t see the need for natural experiments that affect them just to prove your point of view correct. Make a compelling argument for your ‘let it rip’ strategy and you may get a less derisory responsefrom your fellow commentators here. In the meantime, Trump appears about to give it a go and you might be able to say ‘I told you so’. Any updates on how things are working out in Sweden?

    • Coming,

      Now is the opportunity for you and DoctorX to set up a Facebook page.

      “Head the Herd”

      Joiners can volunteer to be infected with COVID-19 and then sit in a tent together out in the long paddock until you achieve recovery…….though lasting immunity is not guaranteed.

      A basic medical kit will be provided but that is all as we want a tough herd not some sook cows who need advanced medical treatment for something that is not even a flu.

      Rolling rolling rolling….

  7. TightwadMEMBER

    Horrific that people should have the right to choose. Imagine that in a democracy.

    • Concur.

      But is it a choice? When you need to get out there to work in order to service debt. Because there is no actual support for the majority, in either country, right now.

      The same freedom as that Duracell in The Matrix.

      • Tiananmen Square Massacre

        No-one had a gun put to their head and told you must sign this loan.

        Most people are in debt because of unrealistic lifestyles.

      • Is it really commie and dictatorship?

        Perhaps more that you are asserting a false binary of your notion of freedom vs not your notion?

        I think many people here are very pro-freedom but also look at how personal freedoms often unintentionally negatively affect others; whereas the kind of American hyper-freedom critics here are against focuses much more on its own sense of liberty and cares less how it affects others, as long as it gets what it wants and feels like.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      Horrific that people should have the right to choose.

      Exactly. I can’t get incoherently drunk and drive past a school at 3:15PM. I’M BEING OPPRESSED !

      • Flog that Smithyian straw man. Whip it good.
        Because clearly opening some shops at 20% capacity (social distancing) is Smithyian slam dunk logic that shows the next step is driving loaded past schools.

        • Or, he’s implying that such freedoms are excessive in the face of such a contagious virus; and, perhaps, that the types of people advocating for loosening in the US at this point are also the types fairly unlikely to take the sort of personal restrictions required to avoid spreading the virus.

          Indeed, from my point of view, people preoccupied with what they want, personal freedoms, etc, to this degree, are exactly the sorts of personality types most likely to spread the virus.

          My 2c

          • Round my way all the younger people sub 50 are in isolation but the local coffee strip is choc a bloc with BBs… no social distancing. Seems our very own BBs are thinking like these American people you speak of.. my 2c

        • Flog that Smithyian straw man. Whip it good.

          One stupid broad generalisation deserves another. What’s the point in attempting discussion with someone who clearly isn’t interested in nuance ?

  8. I love this site and David’s analysis of the economy have taught me heaps… but he should stick to commenting on the economy because he gets this virus wrong.

  9. This is their minds on ideological zealotry … empty unthinking vassals to be filled with the most vacuous novelesque narratives [waves at Ayn Rand et al] in a hyper Pavlovian response.

    Best bit is the need to constantly brandish guns, but were first in line to give away rights to Corporatists and the Security state because of ev’bal hoards in far away lands being jealous of their freedoms and liberty’s [rings little bell].

    On the other hand this is a small but vocal minority in the population, although they do but on a good show.

  10. Tassie TomMEMBER

    They’ve been dying for freedom for years – 15,000 gun murders per year.

    That’s less than their coronavirus bodycount, but when you factor in “years of life lost” and the average age of murder victim being in their late 30s (median age in their early 30s) there are significantly more years of life lost every year due to their gun freedoms than so far this year to the coronavirus.

    So far ….

  11. They’re all going to die.

    No they are not, not even 1% of them, maybe not even 0.1% of them, possibly not even 0.01% of them

    on the other hand, those wealthy social liberals from north east so afraid of CV were more than happy to scarify as many of these people by sending them to overseas wars every time they even suspected they may lose some money or potential gains.

    level of freedom people around the world enjoyed before the Covid19 measures has been paid by millions and millions of lives,

    it’s getting so bad that those heavily armed American rednecks are world’s only hope to preserve some human dignity, sounds paradoxical and it is, but also true

        • What is your plan? How we are going to end the epidemic?
          To have a valid critic against an idea, one does not have to have an alternate idea.

          I am still perplexed as to why those that advocate deliberate acquiring immunity don’t lead the herd and actually acquire immunity before they spread the “gospel” of immunity mate!
          It would be a wunderbar idea to ask survivors to find out if they think it was a good experience…

        • DoctorX,

          I have explained the plan many times.

          It is pretty close to the actual plan now being implemented.

          1. All arrivals to Australia to be subject to strict quarantine for at least 2 and preferably 3 weeks. There are some reports that the bug can take longer than 21 days to bite and if we find that is the case make quarantine 4 weeks. A long quarantine is no barrier to students or immigration as both those groups intend a long stay.

          2. Lots and lots of testing both for the bug and antibodies. Testing capacity is growing by the day and more testing is always better.

          3. Lots of careful tracing and getting infections off the street.

          4. Aim for eradication and detecting and stomping fast on new infections.

          5. Progressively relax restrictions until normal social and economic activity is resumed.

          6. Send care packages by drone to the “Head the Herd” heroes living in tents in remote locations.

    • BoomToBustMEMBER

      The lockdown and information provided is half truths and misinformation with the WHO front and centre. The current DG of the WHO is a Chinese funded front man with deep links to communism and not medical qualifications. You cannot trust a word he says. They need to provide much better information around the demographic and pre-existing medical conditions of those dying from Covid-19 to enable us to make better decisions. To date it appears that the majority of those dying are the elderly and those that have pre-existing conditions (known or unknown), so allow society to re-open and work to protect those in this category with extra support services.

      For those who die they need to be more accurate around the reporting of what killed them in the end, saying Covid-19 killed them but they had stage 3 lung cancer is wrong information. In a normal medical situation you would say you died of cancer with complications from Covid-19.

      The economic damage that is being wrought upon our country based on false or misleading information that is doctored to suit a narrative is astonishing, the fact Australians citizens are cheering on their own loss of freedom and not questioning this is even more astonishing. And dont get me started about the herd mentality of bullying others or reporting them to Police because you believe they are doing something they should be, that has all the hallmarks of the Nazi era socialist society returning. If you think living in such a society is a good thing maybe you need to go and read up on history, sure we wont have the SS dragging you out of your home, but it will have other insidious consequences that result in more loss of freedoms.

      • TightwadMEMBER

        Not sure if the graphic will publish but if not it shows that only 0.8 of mortalities had no known underlying illness.



        Well phrased BoomToBust!
        Those protesters lining the roads of America have a ‘sense’ that something very sinister is happening. They may not have all the facts (who does) but they’re smelling smoke and know there’s a fire burning somewhere.

        Certainly, a driver of their behavior is to let Beijing know they’re not happy with how the C19 story has been drafted. It was hoped that China years ago would begin to emulate the ‘west’ with representative government, personal liberty and responsibility and more transparency of action in exchange for the handshake and enormous resources provided and getting assistance to rapidly industrialize and build a better future for her people and hence the planet.

        Many would argue that China has NOT fulfilled that part of the bargain and has now (demonstrably) become a serious threat to all. Obliquely, the demonstrations are also a message to the Chinese people; that when a government becomes ‘destructive’, it is the right and *obligation* of the the governed people to rise up and demand and effect change.

        Perhaps it will be reasoned that the dictatorial Chi Comm government no longer suits the China of today and their ambition of implanting it worldwide will be unsuccessful if enough show some gumption to push back in any way they can.

    • desmodromicMEMBER

      In theory that has always been the case. The bigger question Is what is the best strategy to get the the other side. Given what is about play out in the US we might get an answer.

      • our leaders definitely don’t any strategy to get the the other side. He explicitly rejected building immunity via spread aka “flattening the curve”, and he also doesn’t plan to eradicate the virus – so there is no strategy to end the epidemic either way.
        He just hopes he can suppress the epidemic to few dozen cases a day and easy a lockdown at the same time and keep it like that forever – I think he and majority of Australians (and large number of people on MB) are baked in for a surprise.

        “We are not in an eradication mode nor are we in the other mode where we would just see some sort of herd immunity approach, these are not the approaches we are following in Australia,” he said.

        Despite predictions Australia is on track to eradicate the virus in parts of the country, the Prime Minister said virus suppression, not eradication, remained the government’s preferred strategy.
        “We like our freedoms, we like to be able to do what we want to do. We like having a barbecue, we like going out, we are very social beings Australians and we really miss it and we miss our kids being able to get together and go to school and be with their friends, and we miss all of that. But the suppression path is the best Australian path.”

    • That was always the idea?
      It’s not about ‘saving lives’ it’s about having the medical capacity to cope.
      What would you do if you were in need of hospitalisation; at the back of a queue of 1,000 people; waiting for a bed after someone else had been discharged, and were told ‘it could be a week or two until you get a bed”?
      The idea is that your wait should be minimal. That’s what Flattening the Curve is all about.

      • If that was the case, why our government decided to reduce number of new cases to a few a day?
        Our health care was never even close to capacity to cope and can easily handle 50k positive cases (with our level of testing) at any point of time. Yet our leaders decided to suppress the epidemic when we had 30 ICUs in use for covid 19.

        flattening the curve approach can be seen in Germany, Sweden, Belgium, … but what we see in Australia and NZ is definitely not that. We don’t have enough new cases daily to even fill a single ICU. At this rate we’ll gain immunity in around 800 years

        Our leaders decided to go for detain the population to suppress the epidemic until a miracle happens strategy

        • DoctorX – We do not understand all that much about this virus particular “Corona” virus, but vaccinations/herd immunity against this corona virus may never be achieved. Corona viruses attack the upper respiratory tract which is basically “external” to the rest of our internal immune system. As such your body is fighting a virus which like a crown sits on the outside of your cells and infects them. Unlike other viruses which attack our cells inside our bodies and our immune system produces antibodies that may last even a lifetime, corona virus antibodies (like the common cold) usually only last a few months – and then you can get re-infected… As well as this, this particular Corona virus possibly has some “HIV” genetic material and may lead to the virus hiding in our DNA only to strike again (similar to HIV) – there have been multiple incidents of re-infection… Until we understand more and have better treatments in place, what you are suggesting i think is not the right way to go and we are on the right path.

          • We know more about this coronavirus than other 4 combined. Some of the others we discovered few years back and know very little about.
            This one doesn’t look much different at all, it’s just that’s new so we have no immunity. Other can also reinfect us but symptoms are so mild – that’s why call them common colds.
            Sars-cov2 looks just like another glorified common cold

      • desmodromicMEMBER

        From a Swedish epidemiologist….

        “The concept of herd immunity – which I know the government has said is not the strategy, but will be a result of the strategy – is problematic because there is just not enough information yet to know that we can achieve it.

        “Saying this pandemic will only end when we get to the point of herd immunity ignores the huge amount of research that’s going on with vaccines and better treatment. By trying to obtain herd immunity much quicker, there may have been lives that could have been saved in the long run if we had slowed down the transmission.”

        She added that the World Health Organisation was also not convinced that herd immunity could be achieved, and cited emerging reports that suggest the long-term impacts of infection – such as damage to organs – are still not known.

        “I hate that saying ‘it is too early to tell’, but it really is too early to tell.”

    • Groan at Heartland institute flunky Watts going from making packet on AGW denial to Covid19 denial … without skipping a beat.

      Its like watching people volunteer for mental Saw movie treatment where everything and one is trying to “Steal” from you and only the hyper aware paranoid can make it out of the game.

      Imagine spending ones life like that …..

    • Stephen Morris

      For the record, the argument concerned life-months saved under each strategy.

      The original BBC article is here:

      The lockdown, itself, however could cost lives.

      Prof Robert Dinwall, from Nottingham Trent University, says “the collateral damage to society and the economy” could include:

      mental health problems and suicides linked to self-isolation
      heart problems from lack of activity
      the impact on health from increased unemployment and reduced living standards

      Others have also pointed to the health cost from steps such as delaying routine operations and cancer screening.

      Meanwhile, University of Bristol researchers say the benefit of a long-term lockdown in reducing premature deaths could be outweighed by the lost life expectancy from a prolonged economic dip. [emphasis added]

      And the tipping point, they say, is a 6.4% decline in the size of the economy – on a par with what happened following the 2008 financial crash.

      It would see a loss of three months of life on average across the population because of factors from declining living standards to poorer health care.

      This analysis may or may not be correct.

      As drsmithy has pointed out, immediate intervention retains the “real option” (to engage in economic measures later, which may or may not be successful) whereas you certainly can’t remediate the dead.

      Whatever one’s view on that, it seems clear that we are looking at an interesting example of salience bias (

      Accessibility and salience are closely related to availability, and they are important as well. If you have personally experienced a serious earthquake, you’re more likely to believe that an earthquake is likely than if you read about it in a weekly magazine. Thus, vivid and easily imagined causes of death (for example, tornadoes) often receive inflated estimates of probability, and less-vivid causes (for example, asthma attacks) receive low estimates, even if they occur with a far greater frequency (here, by a factor of twenty). Timing counts too: more recent events have a greater impact on our behavior, and on our fears, than earlier ones.

      — Richard H. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (2008-04-08)

      Cornoavirus deaths are very salient. Each one is reported, often with a photograph of the victim.

      Those who die “soul by soul and silently” from the effects of an induced recession are not nearly as salient.

      It will only be in retrospect that we can assess which strategy reduced lost life-months by the greatest amount.

      There is also an issue of adjusting for “quality of life months”. Someone who commits suicide at age 35 from losing their job as a result of induced recession will not only lose more life-months than someone in their 80s whose death is accelerated from coronavirus. They will arguably have lost higher quality life-months, especially if the elderly victim already had significant co-morbidities.

      It’s a grim calculus. But that in itself doesn’t make the dilemma go away.

      • While all of this is right it misses one important point. Our current strategy of suppressing the spread is not capable to end epidemic so it is not saving lives but only delaying equal number of deaths

        • What are you talking about?

          The current strategy is CLEARLY not only suppressing the spread of the infection but looks like eradicating it as well.

          There are now less than 2000 active infections in Australia and that number is dropping by several hundred every day. Each of the active infections are tagged and bagged and are as good as dead right now.

          Testing is expanding every day and is struggling to find new infections.

          The Bat virus’ days in Australia are numbered.

          Sure this will cramp the style of those industries dependent on short stay arrivals but they will find other things to do soon enough and welfare payments will keep them afloat until they do.

          • Aro you saying our leaders are lying? MP, premiers and CMO clearly stated eradication is not on the table.
            2000 cases spread across a giant country
            Singapore had few hundred cases spread in few suburbs yet eradication failed and now they have thousands of cases


          • Our leaders are not promising eradication but they will once it is eradicated.

            The rates of infection are already so low that Bat Virus is on borrowed time.

            Singapore has a problem with its cheap labour sweat shop dormitories and they are in the process of cleaning them up. Apart from our Universities we don’t run similar sweat shop suburbs but if there are some clusters test and isolate until the Bat Virus dies out.

            You should take some comfort from the success your advice has had overseas.

            Italy, Spain, Russia, UK, USA must be very close to Herd immunity by now and it only took 100,000 deaths to get there.


      • Stephen Morris

        Someone who commits suicide at age 35 from losing their job leaving a spouse and young children will arguably cause greater loss of quality-of-life-months than an elderly coronavirus victim with significant co-morbidities and no direct dependants.

      • There seems to be an implication here that the alternative to “lockdown” was “business as usual”.

        Places like Sweden and especially the USA hopefully highlight the folly of that.

        The other obvious point is that it’s very easy to tie a “direct” death to the WuFlu. Tying an “indirect” death to it (suicide, etc) would seem much more difficult.

        • There seems to be an implication here that the alternative to “lockdown” was “business as usual”.

          I’m certainly not assuming that. In fact, exactly the opposite.

          One of the plausible options was to isolate the vulnerable without complete lockdown. This is especially applicable to Australia where the population density – even in the metropolises – is low, and where there is no cultural background of having multi-generational families living in the one dwelling unit (as in Italy).

          Also, it is by no means clear that Sweden’s approach (or the Netherlands’) is “folly” (especially measured in terms of ultimate life-months lost).

          Also, the ease of tying a death to coronavirus is precisely the sort of cognitive bias at issue here. Recession-induced deaths may not be obvious but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Econometric analysis (of the sort undertaken by University of Bristol) aims to identify statistical relationships between death rates and economic recession.

          • Then what is the “baseline” against which the additional deaths of “coronavirus lockdown” is being measured is not “business as usual” ?

            The point is the Sweden and the USA show that even doing nothing (or mostly nothing) still produces an economic downturn. So if the “baseline” is BAU then that assumption is wrong.

            It is highly likely “isolating the vulnerable” is impractical. Assuming we can even define “vulnerable”, present that in a way that allows people to make a reasonable educated decision, and provide them with the support to do so.

            As I understand it salience bias is an issue of perception (deaths because of X seem more significant for emotional reasons than deaths because of Y therefore we need to do more about X). I am talking about the actual mechanics of a death directly attributable to coronavirus today (eg: ventilated but didn’t survive, triaged to no treatment due to overloaded hospital, etc) vs deaths indirectly attributable either today or at some arbitrary point in the future (eg: suicide due to job loss, death or injury from higher DV risk, etc) .

          • The Dutch approach is discussed here


            Only those businesses that require touching, like hairdressers, beauticians and red light brothels, have been forced to cease trading.

            Schools, nurseries and universities are closed until at least 28 April.

            Bars, restaurants and cannabis cafes are shut, although they seem to be doing a roaring trade in takeaways.

            “We think we’re cool-headed,” explained Dr Louise van Schaik of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations. “We don’t want to overreact, to lock up everybody in their houses. And it’s easier to keep the generations apart here, because grandpa and grandma don’t live at home with their children.”

            The last point is even more applicable to Australia.

            As I said, I’m not assuming business as usual. A light-touch approach like the Dutch might still cause some economic downturn but it may not be as severe as that caused by a total lockdown.

            In retrospect we will be able to examine the various approaches and use econometric techniques to estimate life-months lost under each.

            What has characterised this debate is the dogmatic ideological certainty of some people that they have the one-and-only solution to what is in fact a highly uncertain situation.

            And that certainty is driven in large part by the higher salience of immediate deaths compared with those who die inconspicuously – but who are still prematurely dead – some time in the future.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            The Dutch approach is discussed here

            The Dutch approach sounds little different to ours. Their infection and fatality rate is certainly a lot worse though.

            What has characterised this debate is the dogmatic ideological certainty of some people that they have the one-and-only solution to what is in fact a highly uncertain situation.

            Yeah… Nah. I’d have to say there’s at least as many people with “ideological certainty” about “no lockdown” (actually I’d say more, but happy to accept some “salience bias” there). We have several of them regularly posting here.

            The people most aware that it is an “uncertain situation” are the ones erring on the side of caution rather than the “it’s just another flu” crowd.

          • Stephen Morris

            The ideological certainty is on both sides here.

            Ironically, those most certain are those least likely to be aware of their own sense of certainty.

        • And another thing . . .

          . . . this event has highlighted the danger of accepting supposedly “expert” advice uncritically.

          For the first month of the pandemic we had “experts” telling us that face masks were ineffective as protection against coronavirus.

          I spent the first month telling anyone who would listen that the expert analysis was irrelevant to the problem at hand.

          The experts were considering the problem from a particular perspective: can a face mask provide reliable protection for a health worker dealing with an infected patient? The expert answer is that it can do so only for about 45 minutes and even then it requires protection for the eyes.

          But that wasn’t the issue. The issues were actually:

          a) whether face masks could provide some protection to the wearer – even if that meant reducing the risk of infection by only 50% or even 25% – to slow the rate of transmission throughout the community; and

          b) whether face masks could provide protection from the wearer by limiting their ability to pass on the virus to others.

          Even the experts now seem to have come around to accepting the value of face masks for the latter.

          This serves as a warning to those who go around chanting, “We must accept what the experts are telling us.”


          We must always be on guard and use our critical thinking skills to ensure that what we are being told by “experts” is actually relevant to the problem at hand.

          • I remember these same points / caveats being made by “experts” (maybe not all, but certainly some) at the time, so I have to disagree.

            The third benefit even a simple mask provides – also raised by some “experts” – is that it makes people more aware, if not effectively prevents, about touching their face, particularly their nose and mouth.

          • If you search hard enough you might turn up an expert who mentioned those caveats, but that certainly wasn’t the consensus “expert advice” passed on the media in the first month.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            I’d propose that what the media “passed on” was a soundbite distilled version suitable for clickbaiting.

            Much like they do with, say, climate change information (how often do you see error bars in a newspaper graph ?).

          • Stephen Morris

            A typical article from January


            Public Health Wales (PHW) spokesman said: “There is insufficient evidence to suggest that there is any benefit to members of the general public from wearing a face mask.

            “The risk to the general public from the N-CoV infection remains low.

            “Public Health Wales would not encourage people to buy or start wearing face masks unless they have been directed to do so by a clinician.”

            Another common cognitive bias amongst human beings is to eliminate (often quite quickly) any memory of having held a belief which was subsequently falsified.

            This enables them to maintain an image of themselves as being always correct and wise.

      • Tiananmen Square Massacre

        “There is also an issue of adjusting for “quality of life months”. Someone who commits suicide at age 35 from losing their job as a result of induced recession will not only lose more life-months than someone in their 80s whose death is accelerated from coronavirus.”

        Give me a break.

        Many people in the developing world work 60 hour weeks for $80 per month and don’t kill themselves.

        Some people need to toughen up.

        • Stephen Morris

          That’s a moral argument that has no bearing whatever on estimates of the difference in life-months saved under the different intervention scenarios.

          I have been sentenced to life imprisonment on a planet inhabited by primates which can think only in illogical moral terms.

  12. billygoatMEMBER

    Zero rational thought re Sharona aka (T virus…P Resident Evil)
    In any case looks like con $ piracy nutters on oo tube are way ahead of curve on this one:)
    Either way lots of drivel & alarmist stuff to ignore, think, talk, and write about as folk go jobless & rents fall

  13. I know when I read a covid post I’m guaranteed to read some absolute drivel in the comments

    • It’s starting to remind me of the Climate Change posts. After awhile I didn’t even bother any more.

      • 🌼 Extinction Rebel 💀

        Likewise. I kept running up against Brandolini’s Law: The amount of energy necessary to refute bullsh↑t is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it

  14. This is very typically American.
    Remember the “mission accomplished” sign and speech after the Iraq war?
    “The vast majority of casualties, both military and civilian, occurred after the speech.”

  15. stimulus there consists of a one-time $1200 cheque and not everyone is eligible. Sure the conservative activists are leading the charge to reopen but I can understand the attraction when the alternative is … literally … starve? Think about that.

  16. rob barrattMEMBER

    Y’all git out thar and buy somethen in a bigga calibre. That’ll fix it. Ah gat me a .5 browning auto. That’ll sure fix any virus headin ma way…. Gad bless America.

  17. I wonder if US health care insurance premiums have been increasing? Does anyone know?

    I wonder if ‘premature’ relaxation of controls will increase health insurance premiums?

  18. robert2013MEMBER

    I’m surprised that none of you have mentioned the obvious. The USA doesn’t have a sufficiently supportive welfare state for people to just accept lockdown. For many, if they don’t work they don’t eat. If you’re in that situation, lockdown is the greater evil.

    • rob barrattMEMBER

      I was talking about just that with a friend who is a lawyer from the US. He hates Donald with a vengeance but even he is talking about Hobbs choice, a choice between their excuse for a public health system (you can pay $75,000 for hospitalisation) and an often inadequate (depending on the state) Social Security system. Being out of work in the US is very bad news indeed..

  19. Display NameMEMBER

    Darwin awards for these states.

    Sadly when the facts are examined retrospectively, they will have no affect on the remaining nutters. They are impervious to facts or common sense.,

  20. I’l just leave this here –


    A US man who claimed COVID-19 was a political ploy and called lockdown restrictions “bullshit” has died after contracting the virus.

    A dad who reportedly said the coronavirus was a political ploy, and called his state’s lockdown “bulls***” has died of COVID-19.

    John W. McDaniel, from Marion County in Ohio, was diagnosed with the virus in late March, and died in hospital on April 15, The Sun reports.

    The 60-year-old man had allegedly posted several times on Facebook regarding the coronavirus, and the posts have been circulated widely on social media.

    On March 15, he seemingly commented on Ohio governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at home order, which required shops, bars and restaurants to close.

    “If what I’m hearing is true, that DeWine has ordered all bars and restaurants to be closed, I say bulls***!,” the post reads.

    “He doesn’t have that authority. If you are paranoid about getting sick just don’t go out. It shouldn’t keep those of us from living our lives.

    “The madness has to stop.”

    In another post, also believed to have been written by McDaniel, he asks: “Does anybody have the guts to say this Covid19 is a political ploy? Asking for a friend. Prove me wrong.”

  21. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Good on them for protecting their freedoms at all costs. It’s the American way. I wish we had even a little bit of their guts but we are mostly cowards needing gubbermint protection from everything!

    • C’mon tough guy. Show us how kinky you really are, go to a COVID-19 isolation ward and find someone to lick, all sexy like.

  22. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Practically every US Company and State Pension Plan is underfunded. Covid19 will solve that problem and lower taxes for the workers. #winwin

    • – But it will also REDUCE demand in the (US) economy.
      – #WinWin ??? What about #loselose ?

      • kiwikarynMEMBER

        Sick, elderly people dont shop much. Heaps of savings in the healthcare sector too (which is publicly funded for retired people), especially considering covid10 eliminates fat people as well. Another win.