Coronavirus

Political Opportunists Are Using Coronavirus Fears To Push Whatever Policies They Already Wanted

No matter how bad the outbreak might turn out to be, politicians will find a way to make it worse.

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As politicians react to the coronavirus outbreak, more than a few seem to be following the old adage that you should never let a good crisis go to waste.

Since it is only a matter of time before Democrats and Republicans start accusing the other side of using a public health crisis for political gain, let's be blunt about something: Both sides are going to use the crisis for political gain. Indeed, both already are.

Much of President Donald Trump's briefing about the coronavirus on Wednesday night was incoherent, but he nevertheless managed to brag about how the stock market had risen after his election. More to the point, he repeatedly claimed that his administration had slowed the spread of the disease into America by cutting off air travel from China, and he suggested that further restrictions could be coming. That's a natural response from an administration whose signature non-coronavirus policies have included travel bans, immigration restrictions, and a general hostility to the free movement of goods and people across national borders.

But building walls doesn't stop the spread of disease. In fact, "travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies," advised Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, earlier this month. Slowing the spread of disease allows more time for hospitals to prepare, but historical evidence shows that travel bans don't actually reduce the number of people who get sick during disease outbreaks.

China hawks are seizing on the outbreak too. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) plans to introduce a bill requiring American medical device manufacturers to provide detailed information about their supply chains to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency would use that info to "assess the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain."

While it is presented as a way for the government to ensure America is prepared for a public health crisis, Hawley's bill is also a step toward greater central planning. It's not difficult to see how Hawley or Trump could, sometime in the future, claim that America's medical supply chain is too dependent on China—in the same way that Trump used a fictional "national security" risk to justify tariffs on steel and aluminum. Those tariffs haven't worked, but Hawley—who believes Trump's trade war is a long-term proposition—is barely disguising his attempt to lay the groundwork for more protectionism.

Democrats, too, are using the coronavirus as a new argument for old political objectives. Like defeating Trump, for example. While they offered little in the way of alternatives during Tuesday's primary debate, each of the candidates onstage were happy to blast the president for bungling the response to the coronavirus—even though it's still far too soon to conclude whether Trump's responses, or lack thereof, have made the outbreak worse in America.

Specifically, former Vice President Joe Biden has ripped the current administration for making "draconian cuts" to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Obama administration "increased the budget of the CDC. We increased the NIH budget," Biden said Tuesday night. "He's wiped all that out. He cut the funding for the entire effort."

Except he didn't. Trump has proposed budget cuts for the CDC and NIH in each of his budgets since taking office, but Congress never approved those proposals. That's a pretty important distinction.

If the NIH and the CDC aren't adequately prepared to handle a disease outbreak, it's probably their own fault. There is always going to be a finite amount of money for any government agency to use, so it's best not to waste your shares. Yet the CDC spent $15 billion during the Obama administration to nudge Americans towards healthier eating habits, and millions more on the creation of a "Hollywood liaison office" with funds that were supposed to be used to counter the threat of bioterrorism. Sure, it's possible that more funding would result in greater preparedness to face new and deadly diseases. So would making better choices about the money you already have.

But that's not going to stop Democrats from using the coronavirus outbreak to argue for spending more money that we don't have—and heaven forbid we actually pay for emergency coronavirus funding with budget cuts elsewhere. Just like it won't stop Republicans from using the disease to push their anti-trade agenda. No matter how bad the outbreak might turn out to be, you can bet that politicians will find a way to make it worse.

NEXT: The Feds' Bulk Collection of Our Data Records Has Been Expensive and Useless. But That Doesn't Mean It's Going to Stop.

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  1. But building walls doesn’t stop the spread of disease. In fact, “travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,”

    That completely idiotic. Since when is travel required to share information? And why does banning travel imply much less necessitate banning the shipment of medical supplies?

    Yes, banning travel does harm the economy. But a pandemic harms it a lot more.

    There is no way anyone is stupid enough to believe that statement. The person saying it must think everyone listening is that stupid. Sorry, but no one is.

    1. https://www.vox.com/2020/2/23/21149327/coronavirus-pandemic-meaning-italy

      “We are at a turning point”: The coronavirus outbreak is looking more like a pandemic
      Health experts say it’s time to prepare for worldwide spread on all continents.

      End headlines.

      That ship has sailed! Our Overlords want to gather more power over us all, while pretending that they can stop this thing. They might as well pretend that they can stop the propagation of light waves AND of gravity waves!

      Oh, yeah, I know… The news is from Vox, and Vox are commies. If Rash Limberger AND Breitbart AND Ann Coulter AND Trump do not ALL say it is true, it is “fake news”!

      1. It is a pandemic. Everyone knows that dumb ass.

        1. “But a pandemic harms it a lot more.” That’s what you said… If you are NOT in favor of Government Almighty trying to stop it, then why did you point this out?

          “The spread of gravity waves harms the over-stressed feet and legs of grossly obese people.” Well duh! Let’s panic! We COULD just allow individual freedom, and encourage overweight people to eat less and exercise more! In which case, we’d pick our words more carefully. WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO about the spread of gravity waves?!!?

        2. Flu kills tens of thousands of Americans each year. This “pandemic” has killed zero.

          1. Yes. Not all pandemics are equal. Some are pretty mild. But Hihn is dangerous lunatic and doesn’t understand that.

            1. I’m inclined to agree with the article. Seems to me like a lot of opportunistic overreacting.

              1. I think you are probably right. But understand if they don’t overreact and we are wrong, there will be hell to pay. So in some ways the public is to blame for it by forever expecting the government to “do something”.

                That said, I don’t think stopping people from traveling to China for a while and making sure that we are not totally dependent on China or any other country for something vital is a bad idea.

                1. Since when did you support the Precautionary Principle?

                  1. Since forever. Just because it is foolish sometimes doesn’t mean you should never prepare or take precautions.

                    1. On an individual level, yes. But, like the article says, when politicians get all precautionary, more often than not they make things worse. I think we can agree that most politicians are opportunistic snakes that use crises as an excuse to ram through legislation that would otherwise face resistance.

                    2. But the precautions they are suggesting we take have almost nothing to do with preventing the spread of a disease that has already escaped borders. We don’t know where it will come from next, so, for example, banning Chinese travelers is just lip service to ‘helping’ or ‘precaution.’ It’s a political nod to the presidents supporters who are either already fearful of or just plain hateful toward China already.

                  2. Since we stopped air travel from China and have no outbreak, and the Italians didn’t and do have an outbreak.

                    Sometimes, the arguments here reach peak stupid

                    1. And the USA will never, ever, ever have an outbreak because…?

                      (Something other than magic unicorn farts slowly outgassing from Government-Almighty-Blessed, SPECIAL American soil would be helpful here).

                    2. We still haven’t stopped or controlled air travel from Italy, which has been the origin of cases like the one in Brazil and several more in Europe, but Italy only started exploding in the past few days, we probably will start seeing it in about 2 weeks.

          2. Bees kill more people than grizzly bears every year, that doesn’t mean I’m more afraid of a bee

            1. I carry a .357 when I go into the forest.

              1. And, yet, you walked out of the forest with your head intact, alive and well. This leads the rest of us to conclude that you’re misusing the gun.

              2. Which is just enough to make a bear really mad, but not rally enough to put one down.

                44 Mag or bigger or GTFO.

                Bear spray is far more effective than either, however.

                1. Depends on the bear. I think the latest grizzly might have been killed with a lot of 9mm from some hiker? I’d want at a minimum, 10mm Auto with something like 200 gr hardcast, and lots of it. Really, I’d want a medium caliber+ centerfire rifle or a shotgun with saboted slugs. And ideally not to have to use it at all.

                  Though usually most any loud noise will get one to want to be somewhere else. With bear spray, just accept that you’re going to get it on you too.

                  Usually, Mr. Bear will smell you long before you know he’s there. They are the weirdest things to watch move though: all shambling, lumpy mass and power. Like a big black ink blot, but one that can move surprisingly fast up a ridge.

        3. “It is a pandemic. Everyone knows that dumb ass.”

          Everyone except the WHO and that dumb ass Tedros.

          1. I mentioned this the other day, but the fact that the World Bank issued bonds around the time of the Ebola outbreak, that mature in July 2020 if no pandemic is declared, might have something to do with WHO’s reticence.

            Go read about it in Nature: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02415-9

            1. That’s certainly interesting. But truthfully, it isn’t really pandemic yet. It’s epidemic in China, Korea, Japan, Italy, and Iran. But even in Italy, Korea, and Japan, it’s not really a generalized transmission. eg in Japan, half the cases are in Hokkaido, Tokyo, and Nagoya. Most prefectures have one or two cases.

              Couple more outbreaks outside East Asia – or a mutation into generalized transmission (which is where the recent data lies from China are very unhelpful) – and then it will be a pandemic.

              This virus is still ‘learning’ how to be globally destructive.

            2. That Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility is appalling. An utterly corrupt cronyist game for financial vampires. afaics the pandemic designation only applies if covid19 reaches poor countries eligible for IDA lending. But those are precisely the countries that have reported no cases – almost certainly because they don’t have any healthcare infrastructure. And those countries are also the sorts of places that would provide the geographic spread to really declare something pandemic. But the vampires can pretend that its because they actually don’t have any covid19 cases and collect their 13% interest and get their money back in July.

          2. I hope that some serious people can handle this problem…

      2. Lol. God what a leftist retard. First The Atlantic, you stopped using after being laughed at. Then Wapo and Nyt. And now Vox. How fucking pathetic. Way to out yourself as a senile version of Jeff.

        1. Just curious… YOU of all people would know… For the closed authoritarian right-wing mind…

          If Rash Limberger AND Breitbart AND Ann Coulter AND Trump do not ALL say it is true, it is “fake news”! Is this true?

          3 out of 4 enough for you? 2 out of four? Or does it REALLY have to be 4 out of 4? Or is the “and all inclusive” list of sources even longer than that?

          1. You have some shit in your teeth Hihn.

        2. Says the guy unironically using breitbart and various freedom-patriot-eagle-blog.news sites.

        3. The Atlantic has some of the most successful, farthest reaching, and most accomplished staff writers out there. Even if you don’t agree with them, it would be educational for you to read it to understand what the ruling class thinks.

          I find them pretty even handed. They might seem like D party fans now, but only because they trust experts more than you do, and it is really, really difficult for a magazine with an intelligent readership to defend Trump’s actions.

          1. Right but you’re an idiot, and everything you think is moronic.

            1. Right, but you’re an idiot, and everything you think is moronic.

              Even more so than Stolen Valor, Hihn. You really are a sheep.

    2. Info doesn’t make sense to me eiter but travel ban could hinder medical supplies since people are still needed to transport them. Devil is in the details for supplies I suppose; will Asian ships be kept from docking for fear their crews may have coronavirus?

      1. There’s also the question of how long it can survive outside the host. But even that seems far fetched.

        1. According to the latest, about 9 days.

      2. Having a travel ban doesn’t mean you have no exceptions to it or don’t have any work arounds. The statement presents the false dichotomy of either letting everyone in or no one in such that even medical supplies cannot be shipped. And that is just nonsense.

      3. More likely – in the event of a pandemic (this is NOT a pandemic yet – it is an epidemic) China will just tell us to fuck off. Their own production may be shut down. Or they may divert the supplies to their own needs. Or they may decide to allocate a limited supply to places that are a little bit friendlier to China and also in pandemic.

        Being an asshole has consequences. And this really isn’t even about either the trade war or the travel ban -imo. It’s about the petty meaningless stuff that gets attached to those. That petty stuff is what ‘sends messages’ and what riles up political bases. The ‘show’ that is pasted over the actual conflict. And is what gets paid back in kind. It is why actual diplomacy is often needed – not bluster.

        1. “Libertarians” for being codependent pussies!

      4. Travel ban is not a freight ban. Can we make points above 3rd grade level?

      5. *buys stock in drone tech*

      6. The “travel ban” was stopping indivduals from entering this country. How do you think that could impact the transport of medical (or any) supplies, unless you believe they’re being brought by courier?

        The material is placed in a container by Chinese workers, the container is placed on a boat or in the airplane hold, and unloaded by American workers here.

        Nobody moved from China to the US.

      7. Do you utilize a pay-pal ? in the event if you do you can get an additional 700 /week in your profit only working from home for 4 hours every day… check out this link… Read More

    3. Reason: Open Borders and mass migration are the best solution to …
      A global pandemic.

      “Political Opportunists Are Using Coronavirus Fears To Push Whatever Policies They Already Wanted”

    4. John, you beat me to it. I guess the best way of transferring information is to have unrestricted travel of infected individuals so as to expose a geographically remote population.

      That will give the remote location all kinds of new data to work with as their population suffers an outbreak.

      Open borders solving problems again!

  2. And in other news, Philip Haney, a whistleblower under Obama, was found dead several miles from his house on a deserted stretch of rural highway from a gunshot wound. Some news sources are already calling it a suicide (not the one linked). Arkancide strikes again!

    https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article240615041.html

    1. He was going to publish a book this spring. But it made the Obama administration look bad so he must’ve felt so guilty that he took his own life.

      1. The Blaze, for what that’s worth, is reporting that he was engaged to be married and was going to return to the DHS as well. That doesn’t sound like a suicidal man. What also doesn’t make sense is why someone who lives alone would have driven a few miles from home to kill himself, instead of doing it in his home. It makes more sense if someone doesn’t want witnesses to hear the gunshot. The police aren’t saying where he was shot yet… here’s hoping that the rural cops out in Plymouth are less corrupt than the DC boys…

        1. Ive heard that he to,d Elle around him that if anything happened to him it would be made to look like a suicide. Which also doesn’t sound like someone who wanted to kill himself.

    2. “found with a bullet wounds to the back of the head in a burnt up car where gas was used as an accelerate”
      he really meant business, lou.

      1. And surely he just shoot himself in the back and then hid the gun.

  3. In fact, “travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” advised Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, earlier this month.

    So Reason is taking advice from unaccountable corrupt supra-gov’t bureaucracies now?

    1. But Tedros was the public health minister of Ethiopia and a communist!!! With a resume like that, why would he ever lie to protect a communist regime like China!?!

  4. Are we really believing that quarantine procedures do not prevent the spread of a disease at all?

    1. They just make things worse. That is reason’s position. That is anti vaccine level stupid.

      1. Quarantines are temporary. The point of this article is that politicians are using this as an opportunity to pass legislation that is anything but temporary.

        1. Anyone remember the Patriot Act?

    2. Viruses have an inalienable right to cross borders so they can open up delicious food trucks.

      1. Native born Americans carry communicable diseases so there’s no reason communicable disease carrying world-citizens shouldn’t be allowed to travel here.

        /Shikha

        1. She is going to be pissed you stole her thunder.

    3. It really has gotten to the point that we in this country will completely ignore and disclaim the obvious in order to avoid any semblance of praise for or agreement with our political opponents.

    4. Depends on if they’re done correctly.

      Take that cruise liner off of Japan. In that case, they weren’t quarantining sick people, they were infecting healthy ones.

      Which isn’t to say you can’t do quarantines right. By everything I’ve heard, the quarantine of re-patriated Americans has been going well. But that it’s something that has to be done right.

        1. Bernie Sanders would say that North Korea made “great progress” in stopping the spread of the disease.

  5. A good general read for y’all…
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/27/health/coronavirus-community-spread-us-response-explainer/index.html
    If coronavirus spreads within the US, here’s how daily life might change

    A lot of schools might close for some time, who knows…

    If HUGE numbers of schools close for a LONG time, it will be hard to get your MD degree, license, etc.!

    1. You lost me at “cnn.com.”

      1. Lost me at the handle-name.
        That is one fucked-up commenter.

    2. Why didn’t the last assholes who acknowledged your existence not bludgeon you sqrlsy? What kind of fucked up repugnant ass friend would allow for you to continue breathing and fucking up everything else you come across?

      That’s the real shame here folks. Sqrlsy can’t help himself from being a complete fuck chop. It’s whoever left him alone to die slow on the internet that deserves to watch his own kids get chippered.

      If sqrlsy off’d himself, would that make him a martyr?

  6. As a PARTIAL solution to this, maybe we could authorize HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES to issue you a prescription (permission) to blow on a cheap plastic flute, maybe?!? WITHOUT a full MD degree? Just a thought here…

    Meanwhile… Be good!

    To find precise details on what NOT to do, to avoid the flute police, please see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ … This has been a pubic service, courtesy of the Church of SQRLS!

    1. You can still shove a cheap plastic flute up your nether regions. Isn’t that good enough for you?

      1. Personally, I’d rather he shoved it in his ear than in his rear.

        1. With a 16oz hammer.

  7. Politicians exploiting a crisis. And dumb shits believing whatever they want to believe. Well I never.

    1. You just summed up the article and the comments in one line. Congrats.

      1. I do what I can. The Cliff Notes of Reason.

      2. If you know that about yourself why do you persist?

        1. Because he’s more intelligent than you.

  8. “In fact, “travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” advised Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, earlier this month. ”

    Seriously? You are quoting Tedros? The active shill for China. Come on, try harder.

    1. Didn’t Tedros commend China on there transparency in regards to the virus?

  9. You know, at the point in time Reason Libertarian’s actually act to thwart public health measures, they’ve jumped the Shark. Even rational libertarian’s understand that some issues do require a collective solution. A temporary travel ban to a heavily infected region of the world seems sensible and rational. When your ideology keeps you from being sensible and rational, it’s time to rethink your positions.

    1. ^ This

      Leave out the travel ban and focus on the other stuff like Hawley’s Bill or Democrats blaming Trump.

      Eric even admits later that it’s too early to tell what impact Trump’s policies had, so why bring it up a few paragraphs before?

      each of the candidates onstage were happy to blast the president for bungling the response to the coronavirus—even though it’s still far too soon to conclude whether Trump’s responses, or lack thereof, have made the outbreak worse in America.

  10. But building walls doesn’t stop the spread of disease. In fact, “travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” advised Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, earlier this month. Slowing the spread of disease allows more time for hospitals to prepare, but historical evidence shows that travel bans don’t actually reduce the number of people who get sick during disease outbreaks.

    What travel restrictions do and don’t do depends on the virus and who’s traveling. The great reduction in many communicable diseases in the past, and their recent rise, is clearly due to travel restrictions and immigration restrictions.

    The article doesn’t list “historical evidence” either; it lists counterfactual analyses of a number of hand-picked cases that depend on lots of assumptions.

  11. Hard to believe all those politician “working hard for the people” would try to take advantage of a crisis! LOL

  12. More “both sides” horse shit from Reason. Trump has been the responsible one in this episode. The panic-mongering lady from the CDC is Rod Rosenstein’s sister, FFS. This is all the Dems trying to sow fear.

    1. His sister? FFS, are they on a family employment plan?

  13. When an outbreak like this starts in a particular country, if every country in the world stopped non-essential travel to that nation (and all nations that refuse to participate in the ban), please explain to me how this would make the situation worse and not infinitely better?

    And what is even the point of having a “world” health organization if it cannot manage a global response like this, or even worse, doesn’t even try?

    What have public health officials outside of China done to stop the spread of this virus? Nothing as far as I can see, except telling everyone how racist they are.

    1. please explain to me how this would make the situation worse and not infinitely better?

      To steel-man the argument, if there’s a panic response to a given disease– a disease which may not in the larger picture be that bad (I’m not between 70-80 years old, so the fuck do I give about CoronaVirus, amirite???) that a massive global travel restriction probably would have pretty dire economic results.

      The equation is quite simple, is the result of NOT doing something worse than the act of doing something that didn’t need to be done?

      And what is even the point of having a “world” health organization if it cannot manage a global response like this, or even worse, doesn’t even try?

      The WHO has been a joke on this, see my post below. When this whole thing first showed up, the WHO was more worried about stock market returns than they were about people dying.

      I’d like to hope that this episode will expose the WHO and prompt some major reforms, but I’m not holding my breath.

      1. It seems that so much of the public health response has been about virtue signaling instead of protecting people. When the virus first showed up in my city, one of the first things that happened is that a public health official actually went on the news to excoriate a local private school that had sent home a note telling families that had traveled from Wuhan since the beginning of the outbreak to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school, implying that what they were doing was unnecessary, contradicted official recommendations from the ministry of health and was probably the result of some sinister ulterior motive.

        These are the same people who, when the outbreak started, held a news conference where they told citizens that we should continue on with our daily lives because they “have our back” and will make sure we’re protected.

        For weeks all they managed to do is tell us that our risk of getting the coronavirus is “low”. Now, because of people like this, we are essentially being told that containment has failed, to prepare for the worst, and that likely 70% of the world’s population will get the disease with about 2% of those people dying.

        They really have our backs!

        1. The WHO has been in full virtue signal time this entire outbreak. It’s pretty shameful but it’s what our culture has demanded, so in a way, we got exactly what other people deserve.

        2. “we are essentially being told that containment has failed, to prepare for the worst, and that likely 70% of the world’s population will get the disease with about 2% of those people dying.”

          Color me skeptical that covid19 is going to kill 105 million people

          1. Skepticism shared.

          2. It seems hard to believe that in modern times, a pandemic would kill 105 million people. It seems unlikely, because it feels unlikely. But right now, we’re talking about an overall case fatality rate of 2.3% with a verified VERY high transmissible rate.

            What’s known is not every patient group will be equally affected.

            But IF 70% of the population contracted this disease, if they’re correct about the CFR, then yes, 105 million people could die.

            My guess is we won’t see 70% of the world contract this disease because if it gets much higher, health organizations and governments around the globe will start to act accordingly if we see case numbers continue to sharply rise. Yes, that means borders closing, that means more draconian measures, public events shuttered, enforced quarantines. SARs had a much higher CFR than COVID0-19 does, but a much lower R0. So choose your poison.

            1. I just want to add that SARS’s CFR was only established as 10-12 percent, very late in the course of its spread. For a decent chunk of the early news, it was thought to have a CFR of 3-4.

              The point is, the vast portion of the numbers we have are Chinese, and the CCP lies their ass off. Transparently. I trust Singapore, Japan (so long as it’s not TEPCO), South Korea, and Italy. Let’s see what happens over the next two-four weeks before we get too gloomy.

          3. The Spanish flu killed between 40-50 million (some estimates up to 100 million) from 1918-1920.

            The main reasons you’re likely skeptical is because of a combination of recency bias, status quo bias, and normalcy bias. (This is not a judgement, just an observation.)

            I’m not saying there’s evidence to suggest 105 million fatalities from COVID-19 are likely, but we haven’t had an actual pandemic in 100 years (unless you count HIV/AIDS which kills far slower, distorting the view of it as a pandemic diseas), which means you (personally), your parents, and likely your grandparents never witnessed one (especially if they’re from North America), so its easy to believe we’re past the age of rapid, deadly pandemics.

    2. “When an outbreak like this starts in a particular country, if every country in the world stopped non-essential travel to that nation (and all nations that refuse to participate in the ban), please explain to me how this would make the situation worse and not infinitely better?”

      There are times when the idiocy level here is hard to believe.
      Here’s how:
      International trade is a driver of increased prosperity world-wide. Typically, a depression leads to increased death rates, as those at the margins go hungry, can’t afford decent health care, etc.
      Now, if we are to react rationally, we would compare the death rates from the disease to the increase from the increased poverty.
      Now, either act like an adult or STFU.

      1. Your contention is that non essential international travel is actually essential international travel.

        When that’s one of your premises, you can prove anything to be true. Or false. Nice one!

        1. Thank you, asshole, for your comment, true to your rep:

          mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
          “Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.”

          It’s entirely too much to ask that you might address the issue, given that you are a fucking ignoramus.

          1. Sevo, Logic.
            Logic, Sevo.

  14. “travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing, medical supply chains and harming economies,” advised Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization

    Again, travel restrictions might not help, but aside from harming economies (which they could- presuming that harm isn’t essentially balanced out by allowing a pandemic disease to spread throughout your country), travel restrictions do not harm ‘info-sharing’ and medical supply chains.

    The WHO continues to flail on this here.

    1. Oh, and furthermore, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Butros-Butros-Gali is a hypocritical hack. The WHO has fallen all over itself to praise China’s response to the disease, which includes a metric fuckton of travel restrictions. So he may now proceed to STFU.

  15. “ travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing”

    There’s this thing called the internet. I heard it’s good for info sharing.

    1. No, a man carrying a scroll must row ashore from a square sail ship to transfer desperately needed health information from abroad.

    2. Info-sharing is nowhere near being the be-all and end-all, just yet! Physical proximity and hands-on interface is still VASTLY superior in many regards! As soon as I can take my car to the local shop… Or better yet, just grant access to my car as it sits in my driveway, or broken-down on the roadside… And let the robots, remote-controlled by dirt-cheap engineers in India, or Stanstanstanstanstanstanistan, or Berserkistan… Control the robots, and fit my car, affordably and well… THEN I will believe that info-sharing is ALL that is needed!

      1. “…VASTLY superior in many regards!”

        NOT NEARLY ENOUGH CAPS AND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. Also notice their framing.

      Vox: “Travel restrictions can cause more harm than good by hindering info-sharing”

      Which could be just as easily and accurately reversed: “Free movement of infected people can cause more harm than good by killing additional people.”

      They only want to tell one half of the story…

  16. I personally love the Chinese people and culture (and have strong connection to that region and am genuinely worried for their well-being and sympathetic to what they are facing), but we all know that if this virus had originated in England that the WHO and every other organization would be telling us how important it is to keep to limit contact with the UK, and progressives would be on Twitter arguing that any Briton choosing to travel abroad and potentitally spreading their virus would constitute the worst kind of exercise of white privilege.

    1. England and China are different. Only a very small number of Chinese have the necessary papers to travel abroad, and I suppose foreign tourism in China has dropped to almost nothing without the WHO getting involved, hopefully devoting their energies to more pressing concerns. It seems important for you to score political points against progressives and non whites so feel free to reject my comment as lies or whatever.

      1. You’re totally wrong in concluding that I’m trying to score political points against non-whites. That is not what I’m trying to do at all (I’m horrified at the thought), and I just said that I have a strong connection with the region and people. But your interpretation of my comment really underscores the problem — anyone who complains that not enough was done early on by every country (not just China) to contain the virus usually gets labeled a racist. I would have wanted the same thing if the virus had originated in any other country, including western ones. I’m extremely skeptical that accusations of racism would be thrown around if people were talking about a travel ban to England, though, and THAT’s the inconsistency I don’t like.

        (BTW, I live in a region with one of the largest Chinese populations outside of China, so there is a reason I’m concerned.)

        1. Just to expand on my last point, there are many planes arriving from China every day to my local airport (I just checked right now and there were 5). So your point about not many people traveling from there is not really valid, at least not where I come from, which by the place is an awesome place to live, largely because of how great those people are, and I mean that truly).

          1. “there are many planes arriving from China every day to my local airport (I just checked right now and there were 5).”

            I take your point, and go on to point out that these planes presumably return to China, so the traffic is two-way. But the metric is number of people, not planes, which could be empty or close to it. My sense is that Asians are cutting back on non essential travel.

        2. “anyone who complains that not enough was done early on by every country (not just China) to contain the virus usually gets labeled a racist”

          My advice is to ignore these ignorant people who have no skin in the game yet endlessly second guess hard-pressed medicos trying to do their best in uncertain circumstances. Also ignore anyone who feels it necessary to use the virus to complain about racism whether there’s too much racism or not enough of it.

      2. “…so feel free to reject my comment as lies or whatever.”

        Yes, some of us here have reference to reality, so your bullshit is commonly rejected.

        1. But you continue to read and comment, nevertheless. I wouldn’t ask for anything more from you.

    2. “Disease Colonialism”

  17. Judging by the number of their VIPs who’ve caught the bug, Iran seems to be having a really bad time. Their ambassador to the Vatican just croaked from it. Their VP has it. Hilariously, there was a broadcast on Iranian TV, a day or two ago, where one of their ministers was discussing the issue, downplaying it, and coughing all over the place. To the visible dismay of his interviewer and others. The next day, it was announced that minister was infected.

    FWIW, Pope Francis seems to have come down with something: https://nypost.com/2020/02/27/pope-francis-sick-a-day-after-supporting-coronavirus-sufferers/

    1. The coronavirus has like a two week incubation period.

      If Francis is sick, either he was infected two weeks ago, or it’s a coincidence.

      1. Or he caught it from the Iranian ambassador to the Vatican who just croaked from it. Which would be one hell of a coincidence.

        As I said below though, it is cold and flu season. Funny to have it happen the day after he thumbed his nose at the death spore though.

    2. Just read this:

      https://www.redstate.com/nick-arama/2020/02/27/iranian-vp-who-was-behind-spox-for-hostage-takers-in-1979-now-diagnosed-with-coronavirus/

      How did the entire Iranian government manage to come down this virus? If there were ever a time to blame (thank) Mossad, this would be the time.

      1. Wudu might have a lot to do with it since they don’t use soap. The basins/foot baths used probably aren’t cleaned that often with disinfectants either.

  18. That is not hilarious, it is scary.

    Why do none of you ask why Trump fired our entire Pandemic Response Team two years ago? Do none of you care?

    1. And, as the ultimate act of #resistance revenge, the pandemic response team unleashed the virus!

    2. If true, the House should begin impeachment proceedings. How dare the chief executive act as a duly elected chief executive!

  19. It’s not only politicians who will use the disease to push an agenda. It’s totally biased “journalists” like the person who wrote this article as well. The whole thing reeks of bovine manure and if he thinks most folks are stupid enough to believe his lies he’s wrong. Trump doesn’t like the moving of goods across borders. He’s done more to negotiate good trade deals than any president in history. Travel bans prevent the flow of information. Yes because the only other form of communication is smoke signals. This guy is a left wing hack and without a clue. Since when did any give a damn about the economic impact of a pandemic? Since slimebags on the left started using it to attack Trump. Here’s a newsflash for you all. If it was really dangerous no one would be talking about the stock market. The Corona Virus is the common cold with a 2% mortality rate. That’s why it’s being used against Trump. Never let a good lie go to waste.

    1. Why DID Trump fire our entire Pandemic Response Team two years ago?

      1. Stable Genius KNEW that they were ALL part of the Deep State, out to GET the Stable Genius! They HAD to be cut!

      2. He knew you’d be stuck for something to post about on the interwebs.

      3. Just to piss you off, GKAM. It’s what he lives for.

  20. Ignore the political noise.

    For those who are interested article came out in the journal Radiology describing the chest CT findings in patients who were symptomatic.

    This is important because Chinese and other medical workers are relying on clinical symptoms, chest CT, and the PCR lab test to identify cases. The study shows that in early stages after the patient is symptomatic chest CT is insensitive with a high false negative rate, or low negative predictive value if you want to say it that way. (56%) .

    The second is that the pattern which develops, scattered ground glass opacities which coalesce into areas of consolidation with a predominant peripheral pattern is nonspecific. There are dozens or more of lung diseases, both infectious and non infectious, demonstrating a similar pattern.

    So once the disease is there in the population it is difficult to pin down. Many people have low level of symptoms or are in the incubation period and are infectious.

    https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2020200463

    1. So radiography is rather worthless for diagnostic purposes for this disease? Are the dozens or more of these lung diseases you mention common occurrences in a pulmonary patient?

      I cynically think we’re only going to know the eventual effect of this disease a few years later, by comparing the total reported deaths from non-aspirated related pneumonia to those from totals from other years.

      Thanks for the cite.

      1. It is not at all useless.

        The article provides very useful information.

        There is something you may know since you seem well informed about medicine. Aphorism “if you hear hoofbeats think horses not zebras” the thing to keep in mind is that may not apply in Kenya.

        The virus is a zebra right now in the US. Keep your ears open.

    2. That’s the thing that “experts” (since Reason keeps throwing that term around, I’ll do it too) are worried about. They’re afraid the R0 can be dangerously high because people can be asymptomatic for a long stretch but still be infectious carriers.

      California, just now:

      The announcement comes after a Solano County woman became the country’s first coronavirus case in a patient who neither recently traveled out of the country nor was in contact with someone who did, raising the possibility that the virus is already spreading within the community. The woman was not tested for several days until after she was hospitalized because she did not fit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, which include both symptoms of the virus and either a recent history of travel to China or close contact with another coronavirus patient.

      So it looks like its got a foothold in-country, and not from people directly connected to China/Wuhan travel.

      1. I am operating under the presumption that anyone living in a large city, or other populated urban center, is already infected. Let’s just hope that as the number of cases get diagnosed the death toll decreases and we get below the 2% mortality rate.

        1. “I am operating under the presumption that anyone living in a large city, or other populated urban center, is already infected.”

          Most of us are now operating under the assumption that you’re hoping to get to middle school this year.

          1. Ever try base jumping? It’s even more fun without a parachute. I know a great instructor. You should give it a shot, faggot.

      2. Lots of illegal immigrants in Solano county, along with their extended family and filling classrooms. Yep, I’m going there.

  21. Now if Hawley could just find his old friend Smoot, we could have the greatest tariffs of all time … and their consequences.

  22. Also, I admit this is a teeny bit on the conspiracy theorist side, but have y’all noticed the number of famous or notable officials that have canceled public appearances because of an unspecified illness or “mild cold”?

    Pete Buttegieg
    Pope Francis
    Queen Elizabeth
    Prince Phillip

    I’m trying to remember the other European minister of something that suddenly canceled all of his appearances because of the sniffles.

    1. Best thing for the world would have been for a few infected to have been at Davos this year. Unfortunately that doesn’t look like it happened

      1. “Best thing for the world would have been for a few infected to have been at Davos this year.”

        No, actually, the best would have been YOU contracting it.
        Fuck off, shitstain.

    2. The PM of Slovakia got admitted for some respiratory bug the other day. He claims it isn’t Corona, which is good, otherwise they might have to quarantine the half dozen or so EU leaders he hobnobbed with at a conference the day before.

      It is flu and cold season, to be fair. Not all silver clouds are a Rolls Royce.

  23. Travel bans impact “info-sharing”? Hasn’t this guy heard of the Internet?

    1. Reason writers need to medicated at this point, really

  24. so, it took 3 seconds for the idiotic Reason article on this outbreak….more popcorn

  25. Monument to the Martyrs: I hope you will join in building a monument of the 10’s of thousands uninsured and underinsured who died by Covid-19 leading to a route at all levels of govt by anyone with an R attached to their party.

    1. non sequitur, yawn

    2. “Monument to the Martyrs: I hope you will join in building a monument of the 10’s of thousands uninsured and underinsured who died by Covid-19 leading to a route at all levels of govt by anyone with an R attached to their party.”

      Monument to Idiocy.
      I hope you’ll join in building a monument to lefty ignoramuses fantasizing that government medical care would be better.
      Hint: China is having a hell of a time containing it, and the development of a med to combat the illness was developed where the government is not quite screwing up the total of the medical market; here.
      And congrats on being a scumbag lefty waving that bloody shirt, shitstain.

      1. Well, the left does have a vested interest in this thing getting out of hand:
        – Get to blame the bad Orange Man for not handling it effectively
        – Get to call anybody worried about open borders a racist
        – Get to blame the number of dead on the lack of healthcare as a “human right”

        Even if it doesn’t get out of hand:
        – Get to blame the bad Orange Man for stirring up fears
        – Get to call anybody worried about open borders a racist
        – Get to claim the proper way to respond to make sure we’re ready NEXT time is to provide healthcare as a “human right”

        There are a lot of other attacks they will use, but its a win-win for the statists wearing blue no matter how this goes…

    3. Didn’t Obamacare fix that?

  26. Apologies for accidental submission of lengthy typo-filled draft. Will send proper copy momentarily.

    – MJM

  27. Gotta have fear. If there’s no fear, whether it be coronavirus, guns, or terrorists, there can be no repression.

  28. ‘Climate change’ opportunists scoff at these pikers.

  29. Never let a crisis go to waste!

  30. You know what prevented the spread of useful information and actively contributed orders of magnitude to the spread of the virus than a travel ban in theory ever could? The authoritarian ratfucks that comprise the Chinese government.

  31. http://www.izzyaccess.com.ng/2020/02/third-death-linked-to-coronavirus.html

    … More recently, Trump used the disease funding request as an opportunity to take shots at his political rivals. “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is complaining, for publicity purposes only, that I should be asking for more money than $2.5 Billion to prepare for Coronavirus,” the president tweeted in the wake of the Senate hearing. “He didn’t like my early travel closings. I was right. He is incompetent!”

    If Trump’s vaccine tangent had been a one-off mistake, it would be forgivable, but it’s part of a much more dangerous pattern of lies and misinformation. In a public health crisis, the president’s most important role is as a trusted source of information. People need to know how the coronavirus threatens them and how to respond. The CDC and WHO typically can’t inspire action the way a presidential address can. But Trump has spent the last three years telling hundreds of lies a week — doing everything he can to erode that credibility. Even if he played the news entirely straight, much of the public would have a hard time believing him.

    There has been plenty of misinformation about the coronavirus, some of it genuinely harmful, but the individual lies aren’t as troubling as the chaos coming from the top. Trump has profited hugely from his casual relationship with the truth, encouraging conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon as a symbolic gesture to his supporters. But politics isn’t entirely symbolic: sometimes there are real problems that require functional institutions to navigate. As the cold logic of a public health crisis takes hold, the president may be learning that lesson too late.

    1. “…Trump has profited hugely from his casual relationship with the truth, encouraging conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon as a symbolic gesture to his supporters…”

      Have you sought help for your TDS, or are you do simply suffer, and we hope, die?

    2. Trump has done everything right, and you TDSers just can’t stand it! OMG, the stench of desperation among you! Smells like …victory!

  32. At the best of times medicos have one thing “help or get out of my way”

    There is no way for politicals to surpass that.

    The virus does not care. It has no agenda.

  33. Prediction:
    In one week the health effects of this will have the importance of Trump’s impeachment.
    The market effects will take longer to correct, but in a year, there will be another 10% increase.
    And yes, I’m buying long.

  34. Hey guys, remember when us “pulling out of Syria” was suppose to lead to the ethnic cleansing of Kurds? Blood on our hands for merely shuffling personnel around within the region!

    They also said we’d be WW3 after we took out the Iranian general. Now the boatload of emergency supplies and arsenal of weapons I stockpiled would have to be used in case the Coronavirus pandemic. Boy I hope the Trumpapocalypse strike soon, because things will start to spoil soon.

    So the stupid and cretinous democrat party strikes again, and infects well meaning Trump critics who feel they must make a “pox on both houses” statement. Trump has an ego and rambles on, but he did not drive the nation into a state of panic by hyping up the coronavirus scare. I don’t see too many non Asian people walking around with those useless paper masks, which tells you something about the relatively stable society, despite the loud noise in politics.

    Meanwhile the left will blame the half dozen deaths (if it comes to that) squarely on Trump and call for the state takeover of healthcare. Their senile brains fail to comprehend that China has a state run healthcare system and that Asia is often the epicenter of these viruses. The black plague likely came from silk road.

  35. Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, the Democrats in general, and especially the criminally complicit media were focusing on something much more important than a serious virus outbreak in China in Jan-Feb…right? TDS is no longer just being full of shit; it is criminally insane now. Fake narratives have consequences!

  36. It’s Look Like A World War 4. The Corona Virus Is Really Too Damn.

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  38. “Slowing the spread of disease allows more time for hospitals to prepare, but historical evidence shows that travel bans don’t actually reduce the number of people who get sick during disease outbreaks.”

    So, I don’t read much here, much less engage, but the one time I check your listed source (Vox in this case, referring to the evidence that travel bans don’t reduce the number of people who get sick). The source said no such thing. They said it affects economies and supply chains and information. None of these things have to do with disease transmission. It is counterintuitive that travel bans are not effective. The disease is spread by human contact.

  39. Ah, yes. Citing Vox unironically (who literally say, at the end that China’s quarantine efforts may be “too little, too late”, implying that they work if implemented more authoritatively and earlier….which defeats their whole argument)…and claiming that slowing the rate of infection doesn’t help because the same number of people may (its impossible to know what the alternative infection numbers would have been) become infected.

    Question: Does it take time to create treatment options or vaccines, or are those things accomplished instantaneously? Because IF the answer is “it takes time,” slowing the infection rate helps reduce the severity and mortality rate even if the same number of people get infected. Its as if they think that simultaneously infecting every man, woman, and child on earth would be identical to infecting one person at a time in sequence…

  40. For those who are interested.

    NEJM has set up a website with current updated information. The map is updated on a regular basis.

    https://www.nejm.org/coronavirus

  41. How is it political opportunism to insist that medicines be made in America or at least in a European country and not China? Are we to believe the big medical companies are charging us a lot less because they are made in China? I seriously doubt that. And how many Americans really want their medical supplies, medicines, etc. to come from China? Other than the CEOs make a fortune, you would find no one who would think that a great idea.

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