104 thoughts on “Does covid19 present us

  1. jim- says:

    With trolley problems I tend to side with the chain of events already in motion. Who am I to change the course of nature when in the end we usually only make things worse by helping nature out of its course. It also reminds me of that story you posted, “Appointment In Samarra”.
    Society has shown that they will forfeit living life for a longer one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ron says:

    No. But it presents tyrants and control freaks opportunity to institute policies that violate our civil liberties.

    Liked by 2 people

    • makagutu says:

      Are there situations where health officials or the state can intervene to protect public health? What should be the limit of this power?

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      • Ron says:

        My arguments are framed within the same starting premise:

        Does anyone possess the moral right to initiate force against another individual, or impose their will upon others via threat of coercion or violence? I submit the answer to that question is no — you do not. You only possess moral agency to govern your own actions. Nor can you delegate moral rights you yourself do not possess onto others.

        So state intervention should remain limited to safeguarding the rights of the individual — i.e., preventing one individual or group from initiating force against another individual or group.

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  3. Barry says:

    In a way yes. Singapore. Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and a few other nations have attempted to stop the trolley pushing the economy into its path. Others, notably the USA and Brazil have decided to let events take their course. Whichever way you go there’s going to be harm caused. We won’t know for sure for a little while yet which option will cause the least harm, but it’s beginning to look like stopping the trolley is the least harmful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      Tanzaniand, our neighbours, have said life has to continue as normal. They have thrown the track and the trolley away.

      Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      I think that is a serious exaggeration in reference to most of the United States, Barry. Donald Trump’s ignorant rants aside, the economy is largely still “shut down”, masks are everywhere, the media campaign is omnipresent. There are people whining about it. Individual sheriffs and County Executives and the States of Mississippi and Georgia aside, the idea that we have completely abandoned any attempts to control the spread of COVID is ludicrous.

      Now admittedly, we don’t have the Securitate shooting people for walking their dogs, but some of the more extreme efforts or calls for sanctions lead me to more sympathy then I should have with Ron’s “You Ain’t The Boss of Me” screed. And I agree with Ron that there is a degree of “control freak” in some of the demands for absolute isolation…and lefty purity policing worthy of a Bible Baptist Church in Alabama.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry says:

        I’m referring to the authorities, not the general population. But having said that, the public demonstrations, sometimes with the demonstrators heavily armed, that we see on the news almost daily, is in stark contrast to what’s happening here.

        The point is that you don’t need punitive regulations if those in authority clearly spell out what is required and, most importantly, why, and what the intended outcome should be. The police here have had a very softly, softly approach, seeing their role as educators in the first instance. Prosecutions have been few and far between and then only for serious breaches (such as the idiot that videoed himself deliberately coughing over supermarket shoppers and posting it to Youtube) or for deliberate multiple repeat offenses. There are no instant fines, summary imprisonment or, heaven forbid, “summary executions”. Everyone charged with an infringement will have their day in court.

        Essentially in The US, the stable doors were left open and the horse has bolted. The damage has been done to both the economy and to the means of controlling the transmission of the virus – community transmission is widespread. From the relative safety of the the south west Pacific, America is a place I really would not like to be right now. Fear brought about by the continuing spread of COVID-19 is very apparent in the blogging community (apart from the few who insist their own “liberty” trumps any one else’s (pun intended)), and from what we see in the news.

        Let’s expand the trolley problem. One example has several people tied to a railway track and a runaway trolley is approaching. You’re on an overbridge, and there’s a fat guy standing next to you. You don’t have enough time to rescue those tied to the track, but the fat guy is heavy enough so that if he was pushed from the overbridge into the path of the trolley, his mass would stop the trolley. The question is: do you do nothing, allowing the 5 tied to the track to die, or do you push the fat guy off the overbridge.

        In Aotearoa New Zealand, we pushed the fat guy off the overbridge, seriously injuring him but stopping the trolley. We call an ambulance for the fat guy, then go down and untie the 5 victims.

        In the US no one pushes the fat guy, but he too is aware of the situation. So he decides to jump. His intention is to land on the trolley and to apply its brakes. Unfortunately the jump seriously injures him and he’s unable to apply the brakes. However, he did manage to knock the trolley out of gear. The trolley slowly glides to a stop after running over 2 of the 5 people tied to the track. You untie the 3 survivors and call an ambulance for the fat guy. You’re still waiting for the ambulance.

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        • basenjibrian says:

          But you are ignoring that “the authorities” represent more than Donald Trump, Barry., That is what a federal state means. The authorities in many/most states are NOT acting in the way you describe. I know the governor of my state, California., for example, certainly takes COVID serious. The crazy loons do not represent the majority of the population.

          Now, if we had a serious, qualified President, we would have more of a federal response. And I am not denying that this was needed. Heaven forbid I defend that “thing” in the white House. But to make a statement that the United States is completely ignoring the situation is silly. Sorry.

          And, in some cases, the state HAS pushed too far, As crazy as the Rons of the world are…we need them. Because so many other people just counsel absolute obedience, no matter if a provision fundamentally lacks a rational basis.

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          • Barry says:

            I think I might not be making myself clear. “Authorities” in the way am referring to is a collection of independent administrative, regulatives and/or legislative bodies. That applies here just as much as in the US, although structured differently. For example, this country has 20 regional health boards that are responsible for overseeing and managing health services within their region including pubic health services and hospitals, and, includes the managing of outbreaks of infectious diseases within their region. That includes the power to isolate, quarantine, and close businesses and public places.

            It wouldn’t matter how serious any health board was about managing the COVID-19 outbreak, they simply don’t have the resources or systems to coordinate management of a nationwide outbreak. And no doubt different health authorities would have different approaches on how to manage the outbreak, resulting in piecemeal, uncoordinated and only partially effective management.

            We saw examples early on with the ability and inability of the various health authorities to trace contacts. It was similar with testing. Central government set up new national coordinating body specifically for tracing contacts. It also set up new testing facilities to increase nationwide testing from around a thousand a day provided by the various health authorities to over 10 thousand now.

            Unless all branches/levels/bodies of authority are working in unison, as one so to speak, in emergency situations, the outcome is likely to be piecemeal, chaotic, and at best only partially effective. And that appears to be the case in the US in regards to the current crisis.

            According to tonight’s news, 44 of the 50 American states are moving to relax at least some pandemic restrictions. That’s worth repeating: 44 out of 50 states are moving to relax restrictions. When you look at the current rate of new infections in the US, that is idiotic.

            On May 9, NZ had 0.2 new infections per million of population whereas the US had 130 new infections per million – approximately 600 times the daily infection rate of NZ. On health grounds alone, I can not see how the federal government and 44 states could even consider relaxing restrictions. New infections continue to exceed recoveries, whereas here recoveries are at least an order of magnitude greater than new infections. 92% of all those infected have recovered, and that continues to climb every day.

            I’ll concede that in America, infection rates vary considerably by state, but nevertheless, none approaches anywhere near our success rate. From this distance there appears at best to be little more than a half hearted attempt to get the pandemic under control. And the left hand not only doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, at times it seems that the left hand is positively undoing what the right hand has achieved.

            I accept that individually, US states may not have the resources to ease the financial hardship to businesses and individuals in the same way that central government in NZ can and this may be a factor that many states have taken into account when considering relaxations. But to even consider relaxation under current US conditions would be unthinkable here.

            As for the Rons of this world, if our levels of freedom should ever decline to the levels that exist in the United States (pre-covid) then I’ll consider taking them more seriously.

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            • Ron says:

              Here are the most recent stats from NYC Health:

              Click to access covid-19-daily-data-summary-deaths-05092020-1.pdf

              Please note that of the 14.5k deaths attributed to COVID-19, all but 93 people had underlying health problems. So the most logical course of action would be to isolate those who are most vulnerable (i.e., the elderly and unhealthy) rather than quarantining the entire population and destroying the world economy.

              IOW, he overreaction was completely unwarranted.

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              • Nan says:

                Isn’t it fascinating how armchair government and hindsight always have the edge?

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                • Ron says:

                  Well, as American journalist George Will once noted:

                  The American condition can be summed up in three sentences we’re hearing these days:

                  “Your check is in the mail.”
                  “I will respect you as much in the morning.”
                  “I am from the government and I am here to help you.”

                  Nor is this a “novel” proposition. To quote Jefferson:

                  The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. If it be said, his testimony in a court of justice cannot be relied on, reject it then, and be the stigma on him. Constraint may make him worse by making him a hypocrite, but it will never make him a truer man. It may fix him obstinately in his errors, but will not cure them. Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error. Give a loose to them, they will support the true religion, by bringing every false one to their tribunal, to the test of their investigation. They are the natural enemies of error, and of error only. Had not the Roman government permitted free enquiry, Christianity could never have been introduced. Had not free enquiry been indulged, at the aera of the reformation, the corruptions of Christianity could not have been purged away. If it be restrained now, the present corruptions will be protected, and new ones encouraged. Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food. Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vortex.

                  Although he was addressing religion specifically in that instance, the same questioning should apply to all edicts coming from high above.

                  Mr. Cuomo’s directive (ordering nursing homes to admit COVID-19 patients) cost the lives of many elderly residents, so why would I trust these government officials with my health and welfare?

                  Short answer: I don’t and I won’t.

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              • Barry says:

                One in three Americans have an “underlying condition” known as obesity, and 14% of Americans are over 65. How do you suppose quarantining/isolating somewhere between 100 and 159 million people for an extended period, perhaps up to two years, will affect the economy?

                IOW, [t]he overreaction was completely unwarranted. You’re conveniently ignoring the fact that the “unwarranted overreaction” slowed the rate of hospitalisation for everyone. If health services had been completely overwhelmed by the rate of admissions to hospitals, the number of otherwise healthy individuals succumbing to COVID-19 would have been much higher.

                As happened in Spain and Italy, ICU beds and respirators were rationed due to the demand, and those with “underlying conditions”, who require intensive treatment for much longer were given lower priority than younger and healthier patients. I’m sure such life and death decisions have also been made in New York. After all, If one respirator can be used to save the life of one person with “underlying conditions” or two otherwise healthy people, what choice would you make?

                If ICU beds and respirators were allocated on a strictly fist come, first served basis, I think the outcome would be very different.

                Finally when it comes to a choice between health and economy, I’ll choose health every time. The economy will recover, although in the case of NZ maybe not for a very long time as 25%-30% of our foreign exchange earnings come from overseas visitors (tourists and foreign students) and one in eight Kiwis are employed in the tourism sector. But that was inevitable regardless of what action the NZ authorities took. On the other hand, and mythology aside, no one has recovered from being dead.

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                • Ron says:

                  More accurately, the footnotes list diabetes, lung disease, cancer, immunodeficiency, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, kidney disease, GI/liver disease and obesity as underlying causes — most of which are preventable diseases because they’re often the end result of indulging in poor lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking, drug abuse, overeating, lack of exercise, or some combination thereof. It hardly seems fair to economically ruin the lives of healthy, young, low risk groups for the sake of the old, unhealthy, high risk ones.

                  Moreover, the majority of new cases being reported in NYC are coming from those who stayed home — a strong indication that the entire exercise was in vain.

                  Meanwhile, Sweden (which stayed open for business) has fared no worse than the rest of Europe (which closed down).

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                  • Barry says:

                    You’re free to interpret results any way you choose, but with regards to potential outcomes to epidemics and pandemics, I’ll listen to expert advice that is remarkably consistent consistent from epidemiologists around the world.

                    As for sweden, the picture for sweden is beginning to look less rosy and more shakey by the day. See the WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard and compare Sweden’s results to those of it’s neighbours. Also compare the swedish results to those of New Zealand, particularly the shape of the new infections graph.

                    As lockdown here ends in two days, it’ll be interesting to see the respective outcomes of the two nations in a months time.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      Compared to her neighbours, Sweden seems to have recorded higher covid19 deaths and I also did read that it is not the case they didn’t do nothing but rather the government let people decide what they want to do.

                      A month is too soon to know the outcomes of whatever option taken by a state

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                    • Barry says:

                      Deaths per million:
                      Sweden: 317
                      Denmark: 91
                      Germany: 91
                      Finland: 48
                      Norway: 41

                      In comparison
                      United Kingdom: 479
                      United States: 242
                      New Zealand: 4
                      Kenya: >1

                      So far, most of Africa seems to have dodged the bullet.

                      The reason I mentioned a month is that by that time about four months will have gone by since the first cases appeared in Sweden and three months here and we’ll have been at Alert Level 2 for a month. It certainly won’t be conclusive, but I think a trend in health outcomes will become clearer, especially if our infection rate remains between 0 and 5 per day while Sweden’s remains in the hundreds.

                      As to economic outcomes, I think comparing countries will be very difficult. Those that depend heavily on international tourism or education for income, or those that have high levels of international trade per capita will be more adversely affected than others where domestic economic activity is larger in comparison to international activity. Our international trade per capita is a little over twice that of the USA, and foreign visitors in the way of tourists and students are responsible for well over a quarter of our national income. No matter what course of action we took, our most serious threats come from a downturn in international trade and international travel in particular.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      Economic outcomes will be different for many countries. Our tourism sector will be as hard hit as yours. Our horticulture market may pick up. But then again, it depends on how long the restrictions stay in place. I think if it remains locked up for longer, there would be other political outcomes that were not expected at the beginning

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Sure. You’re free to listen to or follow the advice of anyone you choose. However, you are not at liberty to impose your choices upon others.

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                    • Barry says:

                      There is no absolute freedom. Every society is a combination of freedoms, obligations, taboos, responsibilities and privileges. The only way of being totally free is to live in a society of one.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ron says:

                      Freedom isn’t free. It must be fought for. And I’d rather live with “dangerous” freedom than “safe” serfdom.

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                    • Barry says:

                      Dangerous freedom as in absolute anarchy?

                      Safety does not lead to serfdom any more that serfdom leads to safety. There is no relationship. You do not need to give up freedoms to be safe.

                      I consider Aotearoa New Zealand to be one of the safer societies, particularly when compared to the Unite States, yet all the evidence suggests that we enjoy greater level of freedom than Americans.

                      I would argue that our freedom is guaranteed by the openness of our society and institutions, and by our mutually earned respect between individuals and institutions.

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                    • Ron says:

                      The liberties I speak of include the following:

                      – freedom of thought
                      – freedom of expression
                      – freedom of conscience
                      – freedom of movement
                      – freedom of association
                      – freedom of peaceful assembly
                      – freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures of your property

                      . . . and basic rights like:

                      – the right to privacy
                      – the right not to be unjustly detained
                      – the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation for which you are being detained
                      – the right to due process
                      – the right to obtain legal counsel
                      – the right to a fair and speedy trial
                      – the right to trial by an impartial jury
                      – the right to confront your accuser
                      – the right to call witnesses
                      – the right not to be compelled to act as a witness against yourself
                      – the right to be free from excessive fines or the infliction of cruel and unusual punishments

                      I deliberately put dangerous in quotes to highlight the fact that the freedom I speak of is the freedom to live your life as you please (i.e. free from the interference of others) so long as it does not infringe upon the life or property of another. If you can find fault with that position, please lay it out for us by explaining how possession of the above rights and freedoms leads to anarchy.

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                    • Barry says:

                      You refer to a limitation to freedom – namely that one can not infringe upon the life and property of another.

                      So the question is; with the current pandemic, what actions might infringe upon the life of someone else; what needs to be done remove such infringements; and what rules/regulations/laws need to be enacted to ensure they are complied with. The rub of course is that by removing Infringement upon the life of A might infringe upon the property of B, and where to draw the line is not always clear cut. Its clear that you and I have very different ideas where that line should be.

                      As to the freedoms you list, they are clearly spelled out as rights in the NZBORA (New Zealand Bill Of Rights Act), and no I’m not suggesting they lead to anarchy. But nether do I see any of them as being in any way dangerous, with or without quotes.

                      They are principles on which society cooperates and are no less observed here than in the US. I regard those as rights, not freedoms. Society and/or governments can impose measures or regulatory requirements that limit freedom in many ways while still adhering to those principles. And in this regard the US does not perform particularly well.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      To infringe upon the life and property of another means to prevent them from going about their business unimpeded. Naturally, the rules at hospitals and nursing homes will reflect the health needs of their patients and residents. But it infringes upon no one when healthy people mingle in public. And those who are reluctant to take the risk always have the option of staying at home.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      It must have been Mencken or Tocqueville who while commenting on the American situation must have said what they believe about their nation & reality are usually world’s apart

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • makagutu says:

                      This reminds me of the saying I would rather die standing than live on my knees.
                      What part of the restrictions resemble serfdom?

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                  • makagutu says:

                    Ron this

                    It hardly seems fair to economically ruin the lives of healthy, young, low risk groups for the sake of the old, unhealthy, high risk ones.

                    reads like it is taken out of the playbook of the eugenists(?). Is this your position that society should not take care of the weak, the dying, the old?

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Did I not write above that “most logical course of action would be to isolate those who are most vulnerable (i.e., the elderly and unhealthy) rather than quarantining the entire population and destroying the world economy.”? In Italy, as in NYC, most of the elderly died because the state sent sick patients to nursing homes — effectively sentencing their residents to their death. These are ultimate outcomes of the “experts” Barry and Nan want me to place their trust in. To which I say, “No thanks!”

                      Like

                    • Barry says:

                      I presume by “nursing homes” you are referring to what we call “aged care facilities” – places where the elderly who are no longer able to live independently with or without support, or in multi-generational family groups. If so, in the case of NZ, you are incorrect. The state does not put people in such institutions. They are privately run, and it’s up to the individual along with their family who make that choice.

                      When residents of such facilities became ill with COVID-19 and required hospital treatment they were transferred to a hospital as they would be with any other illness, or for that matter the same as you or I would be if we required hospital treatment.

                      Your claim of “effectively sentencing their residents to their death” is farcical. No responsible person/organisation/state sends a person with an acute and infectious condition to a facility designed for non- acute long term care. They are sent to the appropriate facility – a hospital with an intensive care unit.

                      So rather than the short sharp, and yes, economically painful 7 week lockdown, shared equally by the whole of society in NZ during which some 1500 people contracted COVID-19 and 21 people died, you’d rather see hundreds of thousands contract it and up to 50 thousand die, people of my age isolated for perhaps years, and an economy go into freefall as social panic sets in and communities take the law into their own hands to “protect” their loved ones from the real or perceived dangers of the pandemic. To which I say, “No thanks!” Because I can assure you if governments hadn’t acted, individuals and communities would have.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Yes, a nursing home is a private or public residential care facility for the elderly or disabled.

                      And one of the links I provided to Nan contains an embedded video of Mr. Cuomo insisting that nursing homes admit CV-19 patients long after it was known that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions were at greatest risk of dying. Here it is again, for your reference:

                      https://nypost.com/2020/04/23/nursing-homes-cant-reject-coronavirus-patients-cuomo-says/

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                    • Barry says:

                      If that is the situation in NY state then that’s absolutely crazy, but it most certainly isn’t the situation here.

                      But I notice he also states that if the facility isn’t able to provide the necessary total separation of infected residents and staff who support them then they have a legal requirement to transfer them to a facility that can.

                      My interpretation from the info provided was not that they were required to accept new residents who already have covid-19, but if one of their existing clients get it then they must accept the resident back. They responsible for the resident and if they can’t provide it within their own facilities then they must arrange alternatives. But it’s possible I have misunderstood the situation.

                      But what ever the situation in NY, is doesn’t mean it exists elsewhere, and especially not here.

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                    • Ron says:

                      The same situation played out in multiple states. And to add insult to injury, the Pennsylvania Health Secretary’s own mother was transferred from an elder care facility to a private hotel room as the bodies piled up due following a state order that mandated nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients.

                      Like

                • basenjibrian says:

                  “The economy will recover”: That must be of great comfort to those who have lost their homes, their chances at a good education, etc. Comments like this ignore the serious long term impacts, including HEALTH of severe economic contractions.

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                  • Barry says:

                    It’s of no comfort at all. But given that the (economic) system causes the same types of hardship all the time, over which those who face hardship have little or no control, it’s all a matter of scale. The pandemic was going to trigger a significant economic downturn no matter what choices governments made.

                    It’s a matter of making choices to mitigate the harm that the virus was going to cause both economically and health wise. Due to its novel nature, there’s been a range of measures different authorities have taken. It’s to early to know which is the best result.

                    For a while the Swedish model looked promising but the infection rate remains static and death toll continues to climb. Meanwhile its neighbours are seeing a significant drop.

                    Don’t forget that high death rates cause panic. Even here in Aotearoa New Zealand where our death rate is 4 per million compared to hundreds per million in Europe and America we had some communities set up illegal roadblocks to keep “outsiders” out. In less cohesive societies, the harm caused by people taking the law into their own hands to protect themselves would be far worse than any economic downturn caused by government coordinated lockdown.

                    I might add that government managed lockdown need to have support packages to help those who are the worst affected. For example our government subsidises wages to Businesses that have suffered a 30% downturn in turnover to the tune of $531 per week per employee, and the same to the self employed. Then there are support packages to assist businesses survive the shutdown and recovery periods. Our national carrier, Air New Zealand has received a 900 million support package for example. Yes, sure some businesses will still fail, but doing nothing may have resulted in more failures.

                    The circumstances in every country will be different but regardless of what action our government took we were going to be in dire circumstances. 1 in 8 Kiwis work in the tourism sector which accounts for 8% of our GDP and 21% of our foreign earnings. That was going to go into free fall even if our borders had remained open.

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              • makagutu says:

                there are people with underlying conditions who do not know. how are they to be dealt with?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Ron says:

                  How can those who’ve smoked for decades or become morbidly obese not know that they’ve compromised their overall health and increased their likelihood of becoming ill?

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                  • makagutu says:

                    there are those who have underlying problems and haven’t smoked or are obese

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                  • Nan says:

                    My other-half has childhood asthma. He has never smoked. I know someone who is obese simply because he is confined to a wheelchair. There are others who have compromised lung conditions due to inherited and/or childhood illness.

                    These people have not intentionally “compromised” their health, yet they are all highly susceptible to the virus … and death as a result. Your flippant attitude is an insult to those who must deal with conditions over which they have no control.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Which is worse for someone with a pre-existing health condition?

                      1. Having a job and health insurance?
                      2. Having no job and no health insurance?

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                    • Barry says:

                      Which is worse for someone with a pre-existing health condition?
                      1. Having a job and health insurance?
                      2. Having no job and no health insurance?

                      How about:
                      3. Having no job and having health insurance, free vocational retraining and a living allowance.

                      Your problem is that you are looking at the problem with blinkered vision. Perhaps it’s true that the two options you present are the only ones available in America, but that’s a choice forced on the less privileged by American society as a whole.

                      Option 2 is irrelevant here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and in much of the developed world. We pay collective health “insurance” through our taxes and “health coverage” is a universal right, not a privilege based on one’s ability to pay.

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                    • Ron says:

                      TANSTAAFL — There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

                      Who will provide the “free” vocational retraining? The vocational trainers? I assume they expect to be paid for their labours. And who will provide the free living allowance?

                      Your solution is immoral in that imposes a financial burden upon others to provide for these “free” things.

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                    • Barry says:

                      Let’s see: school children in the US receive a “free” education. Is that Immoral? If you are robbed, do you pay law enforcement services to seek redress? If no one commits a crime against me, is it immoral that I still have to help pay for a prison service?

                      In the other hand I believe it’s immoral to ignore the plight of others in need, and especially so if it is due to circumstances beyond their control. The parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind. If that necessitates vocational training and an allowance while undertaking the training, so be it. It’s a small price to pay and one I hope would be accorded to me in similar circumstances.

                      Far from your view of it imposing a burden on others we see it as a shared responsibility paid for through taxation. Don’t forget too that once they have new skills and a job, they will also be contributing to support others in just the same way.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Ron says:

                      How can public education be “free” when teachers and school officials expect compensation for their efforts?

                      What is really meant by the term “free education” is that those receiving the benefits of said education have passed the burden of paying for those benefits onto others.

                      And demanding that others service your needs by threat of force is most certainly an immoral act.

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                    • makagutu says:

                      They could have a job and no health insurance or a bad health insurance. I think there are more than these two choices

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      My point was that shutting down the economy deprives people of both their income and the ability to pay for the health insurance needed to cover their non-COVID-19 health needs.

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                    • Nan says:

                      Of course it does. I don’t think anyone would deny that. I suppose each person has to weigh their options … taking the chance of dying from a virus or not having any income. It’s definitely not an easy decision.

                      Although essentially, nothing is free, I tend to prefer the approach that Barry’s home country takes. At least I would be able to experience the benefits in a very personal way.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Then in essence what you are saying is that you’re ok with forcibly taking away the fruits of others labors for your own personal benefit.

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                    • Nan says:

                      If you don’t like my perspective, that’s your prerogative but stop putting words into my mouth.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Ron says:

                      Like and dislike have nothing to do with it. In stating a preference for socialist countries (like NZ) you’ve indicted yourself with your own words.

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                    • Nan says:

                      “Indicted” myself? Only in your eyes.

                      Look, Ron, we have a difference of opinion. It happens among the best of us. 😉 For whatever reason we see things through different lens. So be it. OK?

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                    • Ron says:

                      Well, I prefer to live in a world where individuals can go about their business unmolested by others subject to only one condition: they must do likewise for others.

                      This is in stark contrast to those who deem it their their “God-given” (or state-mandated) right to interfere in the affairs of others.

                      It’s a decision between those who espouse individualism and those who promote collectivism. So the pertinent question is: which camp do you support?

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      In some cases, people even fear going to hospital for non covid19 health related illnesses.
                      I don’t have a prescription for what should be done but I think it is possible to have a middle ground

                      Like

                • (I gotta do this.) Gas chambers and crematoriums, brother! Look, like I’ve been saying, there is NO other rational, realistic, FINALE solution to lazy, sick, poor, weak fucks who are a bane and a burden on America and her economy. Fuck these useless bastards. Gas ’em all!
                  Yours in the All-loving Arms of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, The Arm Chair Pontificator–a candidate for the US Presidency in 2020. Make America truly great: vote for me and wipe out sickness, poverty, and the elderly, permanently. $Amen$

                  Like

                  • makagutu says:

                    We will vote for you twice. You must win.
                    This is the final solution

                    Like

                    • Well, it’s the step right before the final solution. We’re gonna get there though. More and more people I speak with privately agree with my plan. (I’m not remotely kidding here, either.) It’s time for America to be free and great once more. Whining about poor people and sick people and shit online does NOTHING to end the blight and economic pain they bring to decent, Christian, economically stable people in America. Gas chamber and crematoriums: The Final, Sensible, Solution! $Amen$

                      Like

                    • makagutu says:

                      Should we call it the Green Solution

                      Like

                    • The True, American solution.

                      Like

  4. Once I’m elected President of the US in November, I will begin building gas chambers and crematoriums to wipe out 1.) Old people 2.) Poor people (The lazy fucks!) and 3.) Anyone with any sort of medical condition that makes them more susceptible to Covid-19 and things like it. The problem is the lazy fuckers who are getting sick and dying and draining our economy! The fuckers. Truly, once we eliminate old fuckers and lazy poor fuckers, Covid-19 will be rendered meaningless. All people who are compassionate, smart, caring, and Christian agree with me on this. We simply have no problem once these types of anti-American, lazy fuckers are eliminated. So, I say, put all the elderly, poor, and weak sick fuckers out there onto trolleys; drive them straight to state of the art crematoriums; gas the fuckers til dead, and, then, cremate the SOB’s immediately and toss their ashes in the face of Covid-19 while laughing and shouting, “Fuck you, Covid-19! Who ya gonna kill now, ya fuck!”
    Remember, we’d have no real problem with most illnesses like Covid-19 if not for elderly, lazy sum’bitches who get sick from it and drain our economy with their lazy-ass bodies taking up hospital rooms, doctors’ time, and medical supplies. Thanks for your time, and remember to vote for me this coming November. A vote for me is a vote to end the problem of elderly sick bastards and lazy fucking poor people, and it is a vote to strengthen what is pure and good about America: Jesus Christ and $$$ (also guns, but I’ll get into that another time). God bless you, Mak. Yours in the all-loving arms of Jesus Christ, The Arm Chair Pontificator. $Amen$

    Like

  5. It’s not the classic trolley problem, because the trolley problem deals in definite outcomes. The people already on the line will die. The people on the other line if you throw the switch will die.

    To make the trolley problem conform, you’d have to have an unknown population already on the line with a smaller unknown population on the other line. Added to that, the effectiveness of action has to result in an unknown weight of cost.

    This is why it’s tough to convince people to take precautions. Also, to clarify something, the US Federal response is not controlling or indicative of the entire nation (despite what might get reported internationally). Even here in Alabama where some things are getting reopened, many locals are going to take precautions for as long as possible. Some states haven’t reopened anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    • basenjibrian says:

      A very cautious reopening of some aspects of the economy may make sense. We may reopen on a very controlled basis my employer, which is a City government (we have all been working remotely except the boss and one admin secretary).

      I don’t know the Alabama situation. Our governor, Newsome (who I like quite a bit) has told the executives of three semi-rural counties (there are several deep red counties in this state) who are going too far that if they don’t consider the situation very serious, then they certainly do not have a need for state recovery funding! I have to admit I found that somewhat amusing, although it would affect people who maybe need help. 🙂

      Like

      • makagutu says:

        Cautious reopening of some aspects of the economy makes sense. Say the same guidelines that have been put for supermarkets can be applied to say libraries, or bars- masks, hygiene and social distancing.

        Like

    • makagutu says:

      I am almost certain that even in the places where there are protests, many people are likely to adopt a wait and see attitude before they go out fully

      Like

      • basenjibrian says:

        As the blog I no longer visit noted, when a local bar opened in Georgia, they had two customers the entire weekend. 🙂

        Part of the reason may indeed be the fatalism endemic in fundamentalist Christianity, which is dominant in the South and rural America. “God will provide//God will protect me/If I die I am going to Heaven anyway to spend an eternity at watching the sinners burn” Godless in Dixie had an interesting essay on this thread of Christianity.

        Like

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