Wednesday, May 20, 2020
The Second Wave
Just in time for the Memorial Day virus transmission festival, a new wave of ammunition is being fed to Trump's lockdown-hating base.
Treasury secretary Mnuchin is gilding it as a "balanced and safe way" forward. He points out the lethal side-effects of fighting Covid-19 such as a reduction in cancer screening in developed nations and a rise in diseases such as malaria and polio across the Third World as resources are siphoned away responding to the pandemic.
That's the "trade off" argument.
Next up is the "no safe way" campaign that picks up where the trade off argument ends. This goes into the dreaded second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. It repeats the meme that any choice, every choice is going to cost lives. It then strikes up the "Nearer My God To Thee" hymn played by the band on the Titanic as the great ship slipped beneath the waves into the cold, cold North Atlantic night.
The argument is that lockdowns merely "delay the onset" of the pandemic. Lockdowns do nothing but give us false hope. Such measures don't save lives. They merely buy a little time. The Grim Reaper is still just outside your front door. He'll get you, sooner or later.
Now, these arguments seem to directly contradict Trump's assurances that a vaccine is just around the corner. Trump's term is "warp speed."
But, hey, internal contradictions, irreconcilable claims aren't a problem. Every year the radical right wing Heritage Foundation hosts a gathering for climate change deniers. One by one they present a bevy of contentions. The tinfoil hat brigade might claim climate change is the result of sun spots. The next bunch will deny any link between greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric heating. You get the natural variation cadre and then there's the giant global conspiracy by tens of thousands of scientists with their fancy 5-figure incomes. Add a few PhDs who couldn't get many paying gigs after the "smoking cigarettes does not cause cancer" fizzled and you wind up with a motley crew. Even though the theories are often contradictory and irreconcilable, each is taken at face value. All are equally valid in a post-reality milieu.
It is said that when you have 12 people in one room each espousing a different reality you're either in a lunatic asylum or a convention of economists. These guys emerging from the pandemic strife aren't economists.