Early distancing can be very potent

Finally a rainfall paper that perhaps you can believe in!?:

We test whether earlier social distancing affects the progression of a local COVID-19 out-break. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend before statewide lockdown. After controlling for state fixed-effects, temperature, and historical rainfall, current rainfall is a plausibly exogenous instrument for social distancing. Early distancing causes a reduction in cases and deaths that persists for weeks. The effect is driven by a reduction in the chance of a very large outbreak. The result suggests early distancing may have sizable returns, and that random events early in an outbreak can have persistent effects on its course.

Here is more from Rolly Kapoor, et.al.  Here is a relevant Twitter thread, via Gaurav Sood.


Authoritarians like Trump, Xi, Putin, and Bolsonaro are greatly impotent during a crisis. Strongmen make weak leaders.

Yeah, it was quite evident that what the populists can do is win elections, but actually governing is not their cup of tea. Any little crisis shows that. The coronavirus has shown that the emperor has no clothes. Trump and Bolsonaro seem to be getting more unhinged, while Putin seems to be hiding out.

Standard "How about that Orban and that PIS then?" response.

Yup. And Venezuela, with ten deaths (not a surprise: no tourists visit and anyone who can leave usually doesn't come back). And Vietnam has no deaths. Belarus is also doing OK so far.

And China is actually the poster child for ruthless effectiveness in throttling the pandemic, after their early missteps in not taking it seriously enough.

Meanwhile there's authoritarian Western Europe and fascistic Sweden.

So many people with raging confirmation bias agendas... "This pandemic proves that I was right all along". OK then.

China wasn't very effective since they started this whole catastrophe and let it spread. I hope the world sues their ass. They owe the world bigly.

A lot of countries "let it spread." Most US cases came from Europe. Actually, a huge percentage of cases in the US heartland came from New York. And there are known positive cases of the virus in Europe from December, before anyone in China even knew what was going on, so it's not clear what China could have done to prevent an outbreak in Europe (which then spread to the US).

If this virus is so hard to control that we're basically giving up on controlling it, then I think it would've been impossible for China (or any other country) to avoid some cases spreading to other countries.

maybe shouldn’t have built the virus in the first place if they couldn’t control it. Or disallow bats shitting on pangolins in their wet markets or whatever.

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Belarus is an interesting case because although its government is authoritarian in general, it has arguably taken the least authoritarian approach to the virus out of any country in the world.

> Authoritarians like Trump

Oddly, the man focused on production of supplies and the generation of guidelines. And left each state to make their own strategy. Nobody ran out of beds, ICUs or ventilators. Test ramp has been unprecedented and nearly 20X faster than what we saw for H1N1.

Among the states, we've seen some do really, really well: We have shining global examples in CA, TX and FL. And we've seen some states do really, really poorly. NY leads the world in poor performance. But they all have one thing in common: A president that let them set their own policy, and a president that did everything humanly possible to ensure none ran out of beds or ventilators.

That is about a million miles away from an authoritarian.

Hungary and Sweden each have about 10 million residents. Hungary has had 467 deaths to date. Sweden has had 3743 deaths to date. It is hard to generalize about strongmen and faux-strongmen (Trump).

Surely early mask wearing has the same effect, by creating "distancing without distance".

Smokers tend to be more distant.
Rain impedes virus transmission.

Non-random events too - small differences in policy, media coverage, which then affect voluntary distancing, which then....

But anyway, slight differences in early conditions -> big differences in downstream results = bankruptcy of picking "the countries that did best" through "global search" and then copying them in some sort of psychological cargo cult, at a very different time and stage.

Some smaller countries, however, have gained newfound recognition as the world takes note of their early, and still tentative, successes. Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, put it this way: The largest and most powerful nations will need to study what went right among smaller and less powerful ones.

“I’d like to paraphrase what Leo Tolstoy said, that all successful countries are alike; each unsuccessful country is unsuccessful in its own way,” Huang said.


Well, that seems dumb; all successful countries are not particularly more "alike", and the ways they are not particularly due to policy.

You all should know that by now.

Publishing those precise words in an editorial titled When it comes to coronavirus response, superpowers may need to study smaller nations written by Adam Taylor and Miriam Berger.

OK, it is fake news and the White House cancelled its subscription, but some people still prefer to read - "The coronavirus pandemic has upended the international hierarchy. Three of the world’s great powers — the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia — have the largest and most deadly outbreaks. Other major players on the world stage struggled with their initial responses. China is on the defensive, as rivals levy blame for its lack of transparency."

Though if one looks aggressively enough at every bon mot under a (Canadian) nursing home bed, you too can find America being attacked.


According to this, there are 35 countries with 0 deaths, 86 with fewer than 10 deaths, and 147 with fewer than 100 deaths. It's hard to see anything all these countries have in common. If you just look at the 35 countries with no deaths, they exist on every continent except for arguably South America. Many of them are remote islands, while others are countries that border China. Some are rich and others are poor. Some of them took aggressive action early like Vietnam while others never took aggressive action like Cambodia.

In fact, the opposite statement would probably be more true: all unsuccessful countries are alike while successful countries are all successful in their own way (including some by luck). There are 40 countries with an above-the-global-average per capita death rate, and they do have a lot in common: namely, almost all of them are developed countries in Europe and North America.

+1, good summary.

I think the data is not entirely accurate. It's virtually assured that some of the third world countries reporting 0 cases have some cases, but it seems likely that they don't have an enormous amount of cases either.

I think we'll no a bit more in 6 months when the seasons cycle.

At this point it feels that people are attempting to draw correlations through random signal noise.

Yes, there’s a lot more randomness and noise than people seem willing to accept. The seasonality thing is interesting and seems supported by the recent surge of cases in Brazil, though that is a bad omen for the fall.

Brazilian cities such as Manaus (in the Amazon basin and basically next to the equator) or Sao Paulo do not really have much seasonality at all.

Manaus has a humid tropical rainforest climate (Af) according to the Köppen climate classification system, with average annual compensated temperature of 27.6 °C (82 °F) and relatively high air humidity, with a rainfall index around 2,300 mm (90.6 in) annually.

Sao Paulo - According to the Köppen classification, the city has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). In summer (January through March), the mean low temperature is about 19 °C (66 °F) and the mean high temperatures is near 28 °C (82 °F). In winter, temperatures tend to range between 12 and 22 °C (54 and 72 °F)

Basically, Brazil is providing concrete evidence that seasonality is not really all that relevant to mass corona virus outbreaks, at least at the simplistic level of warm and humid air means minimal transmission. Unfortunately, the Australians and New Zealanders seem unwilling to participate in an experiment to see if more variable weather than found in Manuaus or Sao Paolo between summer and winter has a major impact on covid19 transmission.

Maybe things will get a lot worse in Brazil, but the trajectory they are on suggests they will fall well shy of the world champs in terms of per capita deaths.

I've never been to Brazil, but I don't think it's blessed with a surplus of state capacity or "orderliness" generally, prolly a lot less than the USA let alone Japan or Norway.

Careful. There are some seasonal factors. São Paulo is known to have occasional spells of very low humidity. I think this happens primarily in fall and winter in the southern hemisphere (i.e., now).

The relative humidity sometimes falls below 19%, which triggers a state of alert. Even in normal pre-pandemic times, this occasionally led authorities to issue PSAs. For example, this article from July 2018 (winter) that recommends using wet towels and other methods to increase humidity in a room: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2018/07/baixa-umidade-continua-em-sp-veja-como-aliviar-sintomas-do-tempo-seco.shtml

The relative humidity fell to 30% around April 23 and April 24 this year: ( https://www.climatempo.com.br/noticia/2020/04/23/secura-do-ar-aumenta-em-sp-nos-proximos-dias-3107 )

São Paulo's low humidity spells are known to create health risks. They increase the concentration of pollutants in the air, and increase cardiac risk: https://www.hcor.com.br/imprensa/noticias/tempo-seco-aumenta-o-risco-cardiaco-e-potencializa-doencas-respiratorias/ .

All of the above (air pollution, comorbidities like heart health, low humidity) are hypothesized to raise Covid-19 risks significantly. Low humidity means that aerosolized droplets encounter less water vapor in the air.

Careful indeed, as none of that applies to Manaus, which is the first city where the pandemic overwhelmed local health care. And Brazil's estimated (not specifically Manaus) Rnought is 2, as of a week ago.

There is basically no evidence from Brazil that the pandemic cares much about heat and humidity, though of course there may be other reasons why a rain forest city has such a high rate of transmission.

You claimed that São Paulo does "not really have much seasonality at all" and "has a humid subtropical climate". That's the part I challenged.

Who knows what's going on with Manaus.

Just to be clear, I don't know if the seasonality will actually effect the virus transmission or not. A lot of people have taken positions but the data is still thin.

Just given the case of Florida, it's hard to argue that weather doesn't mean SOMETHING, likely something like the seasonality of the flu.

Most infections occur indoors, congregating in confined spaces for extended periods of time is probably the #1 risk factor. Vitamin D is very good at fighting viruses and good for the immune system generally. Exercise improves fitness.

Any direct impact (UV rays kill virus, transmissions increase in cold, dry weather) would be on top of the factors listed above.

Someone has rediscovered that exponential growth is a thing? As noted by media figures like McCardle a couple of months ago.

Just how potent is hydroxychloroquine as a game changer?

I bought mine in March after watching the Medcram videos on Zinc Ionophores.

If you sprinkle it on people who are already dead, it doesn't bring them back to life (as noted by the "study" 2 weeks ago).

In Italy, Out of an audience of 65,000 chronic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis patients who systematically take hydroxychloroquine, only 20 patients tested positive for the virus and zero died.

Hi this is a really interesting claim. Do you have a link to some details?


Also medcram 34 and 35 on YouTube was what convinced me in March.
And I strongly recommend the medcram number

Let's assume for a moment that the president of the United States really did believe that hydroxychloroquine was protective against covid 19.

What should he do, say "I'm taking it and you should too?"

Should he actually roll out a national plan which would include the necessary health prescreening, custom prescription levels, and follow up blood tests?

Would the impact on the national healthcare system, which is kind of busy right now, be good or bad?

Is there enough hydroxychloroquine to even find out?

Or would it rapidly devolve into a "I've got mine" led by the president?

Or better, just let the medical community work it out, like he has. He mentioned this possibility, and others, because some people are overwrought and need to see there is an end to this.

You do understand that if production of that drug could not be scaled, then people who currently take it would probably lose out in a bidding war.

When you make it free market rather than health allocation.

In the worst case they lose out in that bidding war, suffer as a result, while the drug proves to do little or nothing against covid 19.

For the suggestion to even be moral, you have to be sure that the suggestion improves overall health outcomes for the nation.

For the suggestion to be moral it has to be paired with a distribution system that is moral.

If it works maybe 80-year-olds should get all of it!

Dude, lots of people knew the score all along. Countries have been hoarding this stuff for months. Given the speed of German recoveries, I suspect they've been sloshing it around pretty good over there.

Here, we got a regulatory ruling prohibiting use until the treatment does more harm than good or studies that didn't pair it with zinc claiming it is ineffective, all cuz Orange Man made some passing comment so he must be making a buck off a generic, well known treatment or ordering people to drink fish poison or something.

The stuff is complicated enough without people importing their political obsessions into every fucking thing.

So now it is a "political obsession" when I ask you to name a moral plan?

No, the political obsession predates that question by a good stretch.

Shrug. It's not a get out of jail free card either.

The President of the United States doesn't deserve special dispensation *because* he's an idiot.

So he's an idiot for promoting hydroxychloroquine and yet you're complaining there isn't enough of it. How do you maintain the cognitive dissonance so long?

Everybody knows he's an idiot. I am exonerated of all "TDS."

We've just been exploring the ways he's an idiot:

1) He's promoting an unproven and dangerous drug.

2) He's made no provision, if that dangerous and unproven does turn out to be effective, to get it to the people who need it most.

His not-a-plan fails two ways here. If it's not effective and he's just wasted everyone's time. If it is effective and he's made no effort at national distribution to the vulnerable and/or front line workers.

"1) He's promoting an unproven and dangerous drug."

And yet in this very thread, you are critical of Trump because you believe the drug isn't widely available. Why do you care if it's not available if it's an unproven and dangerous drug.

As TMC said, your own stances are contradictory.

Actually they aren't necessarily contradictory. If your only goal is to bash Trump. In that case, you ignore all the other factors and just take whichever position can be construed as critical of him.

Come on man, try to follow the logic.

It's a simple enough if-then-else.

Multiple people have pointed out that your statements are contradictory.

But sure, you are playing 9th dimensional chess and we are all chimpanzees.


All anyone has done here today is handwave away the need to allocate hydroxychloroquine, if it does prove effective.

Nobody but me has even spoken for the front line workers. For the Walmart cashiers.

Well maybe you're right and it's ineffective. Let's hope so, so no one is left out. Maybe no treatment at all if all goes well. We'll all die together so there's no hurt feelings. One can only hope. Bonus: Trump will be wrong.

I've never said it is ineffective. I've said it is unproven, which leaves us with the if-then-else.

I'm often baffled on how he maintains his contradictory stances.

I know, buddy. (Pats head.)

anonymous is only here to the fight the Culture War.

Hence his only actual stance is: in-group good, out-group bad.

That's it

It's a SARS virus, something we've known all along but we were too delicate to call it what is was because we didn't want to panic people.

This is from 2005 for crying out loud:


Those numbers in Italy didnt sound right to me, or lots of others, so someone emailed the president of the Italian Rheumatology Society. There were 150 pts, 20 of whom were taking HCQ.


It's not treated. It's the people who use it alreay

It's not treated for covid. It's the people who use HQ already for lupis or arthritis.

This letter supports what you are saying:

My answer is that his "I've got mine" is immoral six ways from Sunday.

He is really just preening in his personal privilege. He is doing something he knows 300 million of us cannot do.

What are you talking about?

The president United States has a doctor in his office available at any moment.

He can get as many blood tests as he wants during the day.

He can get custom prescriptions for anything.

He can require that everyone who sees him have a covid screening the day before.

he is making use of all of that custom privilege when he talks about taking his special dose of hydroxychloroquine.

Does little old lady down the street have the same opportunity?

It is definitely implicit that world leaders get the best health care.

But it is saying the quiet part loud when you mention you are getting more care than a random citizen's grandmother.

When you make it clear you have more options.

You're babbling.

No, I think have a very simple question. If hydroxychloroquine is effective, and there are limited supplies, who should get it?

Is it markets red in tooth and claw?

Or perhaps there should be a non-market allocation to health care and other front-line workers first?

Like all medicine, let the doctors decide. That OK with you? How about those with covid first? There should be enough for that. Your screaming about things that aren't even an issue.

"He is really just preening in his personal privilege. He is doing something he knows 300 million of us cannot do."

Hydroxychloroquine is widely available. The VA is treating patients with it currenlty.

Hydroxychloroquine for everyone?

Got a link for that? Or are you really just saying that while a few, including the President, take it, we aren't running out.

It's weird, right? We're talking generally a medication which has to be prescribed by a doctor, who is then responsible for prescribing it. This isn't a case of Trump smashing the worlds most valuable and irreplaceable Fabergé egg or something, with no one to stop him, somehow resulting in extreme hardship.

I mean, I know the US has some weird issues with advertisers directly telling patients "If you want this, get your doc to prescribe it" (weird and probably bad) but if it is a prescribed medication, the docs are responsible here (and if it's not, Trump is hardly doing anything which is dangerous to anyone).

"The VA is treating patients with it currenlty."

Sort of, in light of this information later April were not good - "The study by VA and academic researchers analyzed outcomes of 368 male patients nationwide, with 97 receiving hydroxychloroquine, 113 receiving hydroxychloroquine in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin, and 158 not receiving any hydroxychloroquine.

Rates of death in the groups treated with the drugs were worse than those who did not receive the drugs, the study found. Rates of patients on ventilators were roughly equal, with no benefit demonstrated by the drugs.

More than 27 percent of patients treated with hydroxychloroquine died, and 22 percent of those treated with the combination therapy died, compared with an 11.4 percent death rate in those not treated with the drugs, the study said. The results were from an observational study of outcomes and were not part of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, which is the gold standard for testing drugs."

This is reporting from May 16 - Facing growing criticism, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday that it will not halt use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19 but that fewer of its patients are now taking it.

In responses provided to Congress and obtained by The Associated Press, the VA said it never “encouraged or discouraged” its government-run hospitals to use hydroxychloroquine on patients even as President Donald Trump heavily promoted the drug for months without scientific evidence of its effectiveness.

Still, it acknowledged that VA Secretary Robert Wilkie had wrongly asserted publicly without evidence that the drug had been shown to benefit younger veterans. The VA, the nation’s largest hospital system, also agreed more study was needed on the drug and suggested its use was now limited to extenuating circumstances, such as last-ditch efforts to save a coronavirus patient’s life.

In the first week of May, 17 patients had received the drug for COVID-19, according to VA data obtained by the AP. The department declined to say how many patients had been treated with hydroxychloroquine for the coronavirus since January, but a recent analysis of VA hospital data showed that hundreds of veterans had taken it by early April.

What a troll. Is your objective to make your position look bad?

You lead with this:

"The VA has basically stopped using it"

But your very own quote indicates your lead is misleading.

" said Friday that it will not halt use of an unproven malaria drug on veterans with COVID-19 but that fewer of its patients are now taking it."

Add in that it seems to work when paired with zinc, which many of the failed studies do not do. Also many of these studies give it patients who are end of life, when it's too late.

Hydroxychloroquine is available over the counter in India and the government there recommends its use for prophylaxis. India has 2 deaths per million population.

Even there,

"India currently has an annual installed capacity of around 40 tonnes of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of hydroxychloroquine. With this capacity, it can make around 200 million tablets of 200 mg, which can be ramped up, the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association (IDMA) had said."

200 million tablets and 1.35 billion people?

So if everyone can't get it, no one can? Apply that to every other good in the economy.

If there were only a blog where you could go to learn about pricing, and its effects on production....

If we stop feeding the troll, maybe it will go away.

Or you guys could step up and address the moral question.

If there are limited supplies, who should get it first?

I've suggested people, and not "no one." I've suggested the old first, or front line workers first.

If it's a prescribed medication, anyone whose doctor believes they would benefit (and it's their responsibility to not cave to patient pressure).

If it's unprescribed, anyone who believes they need it. People refraining from taking medicine they need or talking about it, because some other person out in the wide world may need it and they may be a shortage, is a stupidity, avoiding needed care due to hypotheticals.

If there's a shortage and it's unprescribed, it should probably go back on the prescribed list.

What should not happen is individuals should go around not taking medication because "someone else might need it".

There is a shortage.

There was a woman who shared her story. She had been taking hydroxychloroquine but her HMO worried they could not get enough for the pandemic, and pulled her off. They, within this one HMO, tried to do allocation based on need.

But obviously that doesn't work piecemeal. It means that hospitals and other providers do a bidding war, and then allocate what they get.

It's not the same as a national plan.

There are huge harms possible from these national plan, national service initiatives. In my own country Covid testing was prioritised in order of need, main result was underutilization (because capacity rationed towards those that didnt need it). The same has been said of nation scale canceling of cancer care etc. It's easy to end up with the same results from an overweight national rationing plan, for medicines and care. In the past there were claims of imminent doom if the US didn't centrally coordinate ventilators, which didn't end up happening.

It seems like you have a pattern of fetishising the illusion of control from centralisation while underrating the problems of sweeping, one size fits all judgements and decisions that ensue from such centralisation. "There is a crisis, we need more centralisation of powers!"

There's no shortage of this drug anywhere in the entire drug supply chain network.

Do NOT spread bullshit rumors about drug supply

They compare different counties within individual states. However those counties differ greatly from one another: say, New York City versus upstate New York. That heterogeneity surely has a much bigger impact than rainfall. So the effect they're claiming could just be a coincidence, or p-hacking.

It's not even clear that rainfall is a proxy for distancing. It might have the opposite effect.

Rainfall forces people indoors. That's dangerous. Aerosol droplets persist far longer in still indoor air.

Rainfall might discourage spontaneously going out, but not planned indoor activities. If you have a restaurant reservation or a party at a friend's place, rain won't make you cancel it.

Staying home means you don't catch the disease from strangers, but maybe you do catch it (or at least catch it sooner) from a family member. Remember the Italian-American family in New Jersey who were decimated by the virus after a family dinner on March 3? ( https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/nyregion/new-jersey-family-coronavirus.html )

Indeed, seems like an oddly strong conclusion to draw. Wouldn't rain increase the humidity? And isn't the virus sensitive to increased humidity? Hmm....

Yeah, agree with all you said. Other analyses have shown the strongest predictor for total deaths in a county is proximity to NYC --> http://jedkolko.com/2020/04/15/where-covid19-death-rates-are-highest/, and I'm not convinced their error clustering strategy adequately addresses that. Further, they rightfully do a Winsorized analysis (Table 5 in the supplement) to account for the fact there are outliers in the dataset (i.e., NYC and neighbors), and their reported effect of social distancing on total deaths per 100 K drops from 1.282 to 0.166 (i.e., 86%). Taking that result at face value would mean a 10% decrease in social distancing only reduces the total number of deaths per 100 K by 1.66, which would seem to suggest social distancing is *not* very effective.

> Even if both situations appear similar to the individual, they are, from a systems perspective, different domains.

My first thoughts too. In Seattle, if it's nice, everyone is outside. If it's raining, then the malls, movies, restaurants are packed. More rain means more transmission I'd think.

Rain as public policy. It threatens neither our libertarian friends nor our liberal friends; and as a bonus, it delights our evangelical friends. In my part of the country homeowners have signs in their yards that read "Faith Not Fear". I don't know: I've lived through a few hurricanes and they scared the Hell out of me.

Just came back from a walk. All those signs read "Faith Over Fear".

Finally you are giving up the nonsense of explaining the differences between regions by culture to the real scientific explanation: randomness.

To follow up on that idea, the graphs for Figure 1, seem pretty useless.

Covid19 broke out on the coasts, in metropolitan areas with lots of international travel. Those areas are expensive with a high cost of living but high pay and attract young educated workers, whereas retirees tend to move away.

Those graphs are causal, they are merely correlated with the most obvious path the virus took. And yet the authors don't state this. The authors don't really state what the hell the graphs even have to do with anything , other than a general: " States that Lock Down Earlier are Systematically Different on Baseline Characteristics ".

I think those graphs are just data they collected and felt like they needed to show some charts, but aren't particularly relevant to the actual topic; namely the effects of rainfall as a proxy for enforced social distancing.

The state who's experience has most closely tracked Illinois is... DC/Maryland.

Each area had (a) organic cases from overseas in urban centers, plus (b) a secondary wave emanating from New York. Similar latitude too, but these seem like the two drivers.

Differences in local or federal government response seem less important. Except for New York, which was hit earlier and harder, so a week delay might mean 3-4 times the death rate.

South Korea and Sweden, each in their own way, represent something more than pure randomness when looking for an explanation.

Yes they are some sorts of islands.

Japan is sort of an island but there deaths have soared to 750 and increasing at 2% a day (!) so Cowen was correct after all when he wrote disaster was bound to happen there.

For a population of 125 million with a ton of old people, that's hardly a disaster.

Far from "soaring", the government lifted emergency measures in 39 prefectures on May 14.

Wait... you were being sarcastic. D'oh.

Other natural experiments:

1. Border cities between states with different policies compared to cities within each state.

2. Restrictions on public transportation--limited subways.

3. School closings and openings.

4. Public facilities and parks openings and closings.

Add to the list by posting below.

I would also be interested in the incidence of covid among various front facing occupations: retail, public transportation, EMS, police, etc.

Do different states have college spring break/easter break on different weeks?

- the fbi bigly groped the newyorktimes.com
-under-rate the fbi as a media influencer
-think the effects of phony political investigations are underrated by
the left

“After controlling for state fixed-effects, temperature, and historical rainfall“....I’m hum. Somehow I doubt “state fixed effects” included nursing home residence.

did we miss the part where the elite sociologists consider the possibility that rain has a distinct physical effect on the virus unrelated to social distancing?

Wonkish bullshit.

Gatherings in closed spaces are more likely in which situation?

Econemtricnerds are awful.

Myth or not it's strongly believed in the restaurant industry that rain is good for business. People want to go out but they can't go outside.

I assumed this was headed in the direction of assuming rain, like cold weather, is bad for social distancing. But, no, it makes the opposite assumption!

In olden days, we would quarantine households, not entire communities. What we have now is extreme hysteria fomented by media and policy wonks. And of course leftist politicians who want to tank the economy and destroy the financial system so they can nationalize the banks and seize everyone's money. End game: Pelosi wins.

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