There really are two Americas: The Risk-Tolerant America, and Zero-Risk America.
Before we get to that, however, I’m afraid I have some very good news for you: Americans are catching the Wuhan virus at record rates.
Now, if you’re a card-carrying member of Zero-Risk America, your panties just spontaneously wadded. Those of us who live in Risk-Tolerant America — and if you’re a regular VodkaPundit or PJ Media reader, I’m guessing that includes you — understand that this is very good news indeed.
Still, some details would be helpful in order to explain our Two Americas.
For that, let’s go to the famous (or infamous, according to our Zero-Risk compatriots) “Lockdown Skeptic” himself, Aaron Ginn.
1/ Houston, TX hospital capacity update:
“What you’ve been hearing is a report that we are at 97% or so capacity…Exactly one year ago, it was at 95%. It is completely normal for us to have ICU capacities that run in the 80s – 90s. That’s how all of us operate hospitals…”
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) June 29, 2020
As you probably know by now, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has paused lifting his state’s shutdown on reports of record numbers of new COVID-19 infections due to the Wuhan coronavirus.
Abbott’s decision isn’t very popular with Risk-Tolerant America. In fact, Texas bars are suing to get out from under the renewed lockdown.
(Something similar is going on here in Colorado, where Democrat Governor Jared Polis has made a similar decision for the same reason.)
Keep all that in mind as we revisit Ginn’s Twitter thread. The media — and no doubt Gov. Abbot caved in under media pressure — breathlessly reported that Houston’s ICUs were nearly maxed out at 97% capacity at a time when Wuhan was spreading, well, like a plague.
But given how expensive it is to run an ICU, that’s how they typically operate. You can’t have a bunch of expensive trauma doctors and nurses just sitting there 24/7, waiting for patients who might never come.
What ICUs have is the ability to rapidly and dramatically increase their capacity in case of a major emergency.
Even as Texans catch the Wuhan Virus as never before, there has been no need to surge ICU capacity.
Patients are younger, healthier, getting better faster, and not dying.
Being risk-tolerant is to understand that there are no perfect solutions, but only trade-offs.
Zero-Risk America believes that if they take no risks, nothing bad will happen.
But that’s nothing more than magical thinking — of the most dangerous kind.
1/ “We saw just a rash of people that came in for relatively treatable conditions that had just waited to the point that it deteriorated. That’s kind of added to the ICU stress on top of just having the COVID patients.” Dr. Robert Hancock, Texas College of Emergency Physicians https://t.co/2kM9LfOfeI
— Aaron Ginn (@aginnt) June 24, 2020
If your Zero-Risk tolerance leads you to skip an elective surgery until you’ve gotten so sick that your surgery is no longer elective, then you’re actually creating a greater risk by trying to avoid the lesser risk.
Risk-Tolerant America understands this and tries to plan accordingly.
There is no scenario — not one — where a long enough lockdown will somehow make the Wuhan pandemic go away without anyone getting sick and dying. In fact, there is certainly some minimum figure of how many will get infected, how many of those will get sick, and how many of those will die.
In places like New York, they busted right past the minimum figure by requiring nursing homes to take the infected in and put them right next to the most vulnerable.
Most other places, we’ve discovered that while the Wuhan virus is a nasty and highly contagious little bug, it isn’t nearly as deadly as feared.
Risk-Tolerant America sees the rising number of Wuhan-infected and the declining number of daily deaths, and thinks, “We’re past the worst. Time to get back to work.”
Zero-Risk America looks at those exact same facts and concludes it’s time for another lockdown.
Our problem as a nation is that our federalist system has become so centralized that there’s less and less elbow room for people of differing opinions. Two Americas, but increasingly one set of overly stringent rules.
Tens of millions of Risk-Tolerant Americans are being forced to live under Zero-Risk rules whether we want to or not.
In so doing, we’re delaying the onset of herd immunity, increasing the health and economic risks for the country as a whole.