Coronavirus

Pandemic-Related Unemployment and Shutdowns Are a Recipe for Social Unrest

That's a huge concern as forecasters expect the U.S. unemployment rate in the months to come to surpass that seen during the depths of the Great Depression.

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Could the stalled economy we've inflicted on ourselves in our frantic efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic lead to civil disorder? History suggests that's a real danger.

Around the world, high unemployment and stagnant economic activity tend to lead to social unrest, including demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of potentially violent disruptions. That's a huge concern as forecasters expect the U.S. unemployment rate in the months to come to surpass that seen during the depths of the Great Depression.

"We're putting this initial number at 30 percent; that's a 30 percent unemployment rate" in the second quarter of this year as a result of the planned economic shutdowns, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard told Bloomberg News on March 22. Gross Domestic Product, he adds, is expected to drop by 50 percent.

Unlike most bouts of economic malaise, this is a self-inflicted wound meant to counter a serious public health crisis. But, whatever the reasons, it means businesses shuttered and people without jobs and incomes. That's risky.

"Results from the empirical analysis indicate that economic growth and the unemployment rate are the two most important determinants of social unrest," notes the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations agency that maintains a Social Unrest Index in an attempt to predict civil disorder based, in part, on economic trends. "For example, a one standard deviation increase in unemployment raises social unrest by 0.39 standard deviations, while a one standard deviation increase in GDP growth reduces social unrest by 0.19 standard deviations."

Why would economic shutdowns lead to social unrest? Because, contrary to the airy dismissals of some members of the political class and many ivory-tower types, commerce isn't a grubby embarrassment to be tolerated and avoidedit's the life's blood of a society. Jobs and businesses keep people alive. They represent the activities that meet demand for food, clothing, shelterand that develop and distribute the medicine and medical supplies we need to battle COVID-19.

President Donald Trump may be overly optimistic when he hopes to have the country, including areas hard-hit by the virus, "opened up and just raring to go by Easter," but he's not wrong to include the economy in his calculations.

By contrast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's insistence that "if it's public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health," sounds fine and noble. But it reflects an unrealistic and semi-aristocratic disdain for the activities that make fighting the pandemic possible at alland that keep social unrest at bay.

While the ILO has tried to quantify the causes of social unrest, its researchers certainly aren't the first to make the connection between angry, unemployed people and trouble in the streets.

At the height of the Great Depression, when U.S. unemployment hit a peak of 24.9 percent, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration saw make-work programs such as the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) as a means of getting the joblessespecially young mensafely into "quasi-military camps often far from home in the nation's publicly owned forests and parks," Joseph M. Speakman wrote for the Fall 2006 issue of Prologue Magazine, a publication of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

"Bringing an army of the unemployed into 'healthful surroundings,' Roosevelt argued, would help to eliminate the threats to social stability that enforced idleness had created," Speakman added.

The program mostly workedat least, it confined revolts to the camps themselves, where they were suppressed by Army officers. Those same officers commanded the men when they were drafted and dispatched to even more remote destinations with the coming of World War II.

In fact, the connection between unemployment, stagnant economies, and social unrest is so clear that an important indicator for a large underground economy is relative peace prevailing alongside a chronically high unemployment rate.

If 21 percent of the workforce "were jobless, Spain would not be as peaceful as, barring a few demonstrations, it has so far been, say economists and business leaders," the Financial Times noted in 2011. Sure enough, researchers found that off-the-books businesses and jobs thrived in Spainaccounting for the equivalent of a quarter of GDP at one pointkeeping people employed and defusing tensions.

Bullard of the Fed doesn't propose shipping the jobless off to the wildernessat least, not yetand he doesn't seem inclined to rely on the black market to keep people fed, warm, and healthy. Instead, to defuse the impact of the social-distancing shutdowns of normal economic activity, he calls for lost income to be replaced by unemployment insurance and other payments that would make displaced workers and business owners whole.

He better be right that government checksdrawing on money from the thin air and not generated by an economy that has largely halted, I'll notecan offset the pain of lost jobs and businesses, because the first wave of the unemployment he predicts is already here.

"In the week ending March 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week's revised level," the United States Department of Labor announced on Thursday, March 26. "This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the seasonally adjusted series."

Those disturbed by such economic collapse include public health professionals who take COVID-19 very seriously.

"I am deeply concerned that the social, economic and public health consequences of this near total meltdown of normal lifeschools and businesses closed, gatherings bannedwill be long lasting and calamitous, possibly graver than the direct toll of the virus itself," wrote David L. Katz, former director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, in The New York Times last week. "The stock market will bounce back in time, but many businesses never will. The unemployment, impoverishment and despair likely to result will be public health scourges of the first order."

Unemployment, impoverishment, and despair are frightening outcomes in themselves. They're also a recipe for social unrest that will afflict even those of us who weather both the pandemic and the accompanying economic storm.

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  1. Great quote from Stephen M. Pollan:
    Large numbers of unemployed young men have bothered politicians since the French Revolution.

    1. China’s one child policy gave them an excess of young males to send off to die overseas before they cause trouble at home.

    2. Nothing shows statists disassociation from reality, and their disdain for commerce and profit, more than this bizarre attitude that it’s better to shut down the economy and throw people out of work and into isolation. It’s not just politicians, or a lot of commenters here and elsewhere. I have colleagues and friends who think similarly. They simply cannot grasp the idea that commerce is how life works, that money is just a better medium of exchange than barter, and that barter and trade is better than predator and prey.

      1. It’s a connected ecosystem you can’t just not disrupt one sector and expect it to not have enormous ripple effects everywhere.

        1. But you have to remember that part of that connected system is the personal feeling of wellbeing and safety in the workplace. If people don’t feel safe in restaurants or on crowded airplanes or if they don’t feel that dropping 30K on a new car is prudent right now, simply allowing business to continue will not automatically mean it will continue. Sure, 1/3 of the population will believe Trump wholeheartedly when he says the virus will be under control quickly and that they should return to work, but the other 2/3 aren’t so confident. And most of the job creators are in the second category. Are they going to call people back?

          Until there is widespread, almost daily testing available so people can return to work confident they won’t bring the disease home with them they’re not going to go.

          1. This is still a messaging problem induced by the media and government agencies. The media is convoluting having the disease with being sick with being dead. If people were told that their chance of death this year was equivalent to them being 7 years older then most people under 60 would have gone about their business. Older people (mostly retired) would have gone into seclusion, but continued to have deliveries and supplies brought in. There could have been a increased productivity war-like effort – instead of this fictional WW3 do nothing “effort”.

      2. Right, exactly. They don’t seem to understand that “money” and other representations of wealth only work when they can actually be exchanged for stuff. For such smug people, they really are ignorant fucks.

        1. ” For such smug people, they really are ignorant fucks.”

          Personally, I think calling them ignorant fucks is giving them too much credit.

        2. They have an interest in shutting down the system so they can rebuild it in their socialist utopian image. I think it was Marx who said that once work became obsolete, people would be liberated to write poetry all day. Also, lots of them don’t actually even work, like the Antifa trustifarians in Portland and most politicians in general, so the value of work is a foreign concept for them.

          1. Jokes on them. This sort of unrest leads to dictatorships and forced labor.

        3. Well said.

      3. Even the most measured suggestion that we might be overreacting even the teensiest bit and that the economy IS us, will get you canceled by friends and family toot suite.

        1. Yep.

          Talk of trade offs cannot occur. There’s a guy who’s probably going to die within a year anyways who’s at stake.

        2. Fuck em. If the snowflakes can’t bear to think of the ramifications of sitting around trying to save a bunch of useless feeders, then let them win the first Darwin awards.

          We’ve got maybe a week to turn this ship back into something that resembles what we had before. Tops. We need to go back to work now or we are all fucked.

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          2. But you have to remember that part of that connected system is the personal feeling of wellbeing and safety in the workplace. If people don’t feel safe in restaurants or on crowded airplanes or if they don’t feel that dropping 30K on a new car is prudent right now, simply allowing business to continue will not automatically mean it will continue. Sure, 1/3 of the population will believe Trump wholeheartedly when he says the virus will be under control quickly and that they should return to work, but the other 2/3 aren’t so confident. And most of the job creators are in the second category. Are they going to call people back?

            Until there is widespread, almost daily testing available so people can return to work confident they won’t bring the disease home with them they’re not going to go.

            If bans were lifted today do you think restaurants and offices and planes would fill back up like they were in January while the rate of spread continues to grow exponentially? Who would think that?

            1. People are already going to restaurants and getting food to go.

              Once they restaurants are open people will want to get out of the house. Maybe not the same as January at first but Americans will eat out more and more again.

          3. “useless feeders” ahhhh there it is. the mask slips

    3. Large numbers of unemployed young men have bothered politicians since the French Revolution.

      That’s stodgy conservative thinking. These young men have been encouraged to stand next to their unemployed female peers as equals and reprioritize homosexuality and transgender rights above silly capitalist notions like family or employment.

      1. These young men have been encouraged to stand next to their unemployed female peers as equals and reprioritize homosexuality and transgender rights above silly capitalist notions like family or employment.

        And the ones that do typically don’t look like much of a threat.

        1. The sword has two (or more) edges.

          They stacked the social hierarchy deck in their favor when conditions were good and conservative thinking could be ignored. They didn’t make more people free and equal in good times and in bad and, now that it will be more clear that they were making things more equal for some, things are going to get uglier for them.

          Even if her husband is working, the newly empowered woman isn’t going to sit idle while a tranny diversity hire has a job and they hand out benefits to gay partners. Both the stay at home mom and the working woman are going to be less tolerant of discussions of women talking about the difficulties of raising their ‘theybies’ under a patriarchy.

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      1. If that can be scaled up, maybe it’s the solution.

    5. The coronavirus stimulus bill will backfire with an unforeseen negative consequence that will hit the economy hard. Lower to medium paid workers on the frontline and still working today will realize that it is better to stay home in safety with a government check than to risk their lives by going to work. Many corporations that are not in the category of “necessary workers” are still operating with reduced staffs that are on premise at least some days of the week. These corporations and businesses are going to see large numbers of these workers stop putting themselves at risk while their bosses direct them from the safety of their home offices.

      1. I agree, I think it sets a very bad precedent.

  2. You think grandma’s life is in danger now. Just wait until the angry mob beats down her door for toilet paper and bottled water.

    1. And finds out that grandma still has great-grandpa’s double barrel shotgun and know how to use it.

      1. there’s a funny meme running around that effectively says this, but regarding city folk who will come to rural areas to take stuff: “We’re armed and we have livestock who will gladly eat your corpse.”

        1. Guns won’t help you against a horde of 100 hungry city dwellers.

          1. Or, more likely, a National Guard unit confiscating food for the hungry population.

            1. It’s time for some National Guard on National Guard action!

            2. National Guard is state. So they will be taking food from their own families and friends. How long do you think that will last?

            3. “a National Guard unit confiscating food for the hungry population.”

              Guns might not, but IEDs probably will. If a cousin-fucking Iraqi can figure out EFPs, a college-educated farmer probably can too.

              At that point in your hypo, I see little difference between the Guard, and Stalin’s OGPU and NKVD-backed Army confiscating wheat from the kulaks. What the Ukrainians couldn’t do, I’m betting the Americans have a better shot at.

          2. Depends on how much ammo you have.

          3. It will if you change out the magazines quickly enough.

            The city dwellers that actually could bug out, will already have the means to support themselves until they find a homogenous community that might be willing to take them in. The rest will be too busy robbing and killing each other in their vibrant, diverse wonderland to bother with the hicks in the sticks.

          4. I’ve got several large magazines that say otherwise.

    2. “Liberte! Egalite! Papier toilette!”

      1. Vive la révolution!

  3. Months? It’s not going to take that long try weeks. these people have no idea what they’ve done. They’ve put every service industry business behind the 8 ball by at least a month couple that with the fact things are not going to be normal even if we lift every shutdown tmw for months is a recipe for a recession if we are lucky is as bad as 08. They’ve pulled the bottom rung of the jenga board out on the first move the ripple effects this will have are going to be incredible. .

    1. There aren’t any words for the people who should and did know better and did it anyway because they feared a plague. No cost benefit analysis was done, no defined metrics of success, nothing. They didn’t care because they knew they’d be largely unaffected because they work from home anyway. They fucked over the most vulnerable among us and even now openly mock people and belittle people who point this out. They who sacrificed nothing except momentarily inconvenience have the gall to lecture people for worrying about how they are going to lose their houses, can’t feed their kids and lose their business’s. It’s fucking disgusting.

      1. I would not be opposed to someone posting lists of various journalists by name, and their panic-pushing comments, whenever the newly unemployed are likely to see them.
        “These people killed your livelihood”

      2. What are your words for the ones who cynically figured that killing the economy was the only way to kick Trump out?

        1. If Trump can show real leadership during this crisis he will lock up the next four years regardless of the economy. Voters don’t like to make big shifts in the middle of a crisis. The economy won’t tank Trump’s chances, his own inadequacy will finally catch up to him.

    2. I agree at this cannot, and will not, last months. I’ll give it a few weeks before the public pressure on these politicians become so great that they start backing down on the excessive restrictions. The ban on “gatherings” will be the first to go.

      1. Given how many people I know and work with who are screaming because not everyone is hiding in their house when not at work, I think it will take longer.

        1. Well, perhaps the rest of us should seal them up in their respective hidey-holes. They’re happy, we’re happy. It’s a win-win!

        2. Are they good looking?

        3. Our state has implemented what is essentially a snitch line, and the stupid Nextdoor app is full of people gleefully taking photos and calling cops on people playing frisbee or going out for walks—and neighbors cheering them on.

          Our view of this is definitely in the minority.

          Mob rule.

  4. Predictable consequences are never unintended.

    Pretext for extended emergency powers.

  5. Georgians are already talking about what they are doing this weekend.

    Self-Quarantine is over this weekend.

    1. For some.

      Others are going to have quarantines imposed on them harder. Probably until the leaders imposing them are run out of town on a rail.

      1. The Wisconsin governor has already extended the ordered closure of bars, restaurants and other businesses to April 24th.

        1. Yep. I suspect that will be the same in many states. Take New Mexico, population 2 million ppl, which has tested close to 8,000 and has 139 positive, one dead (78 years old, preexisting conditions), yet has orders in place until April 10. Huh? I suspect that goobernor Michelle Lujan Grisham will likely extend those orders. This in one of the poorest states in the union, whose economy largely depends on the service/tourism industry. Letters to her office and the legislators fall on deaf ears. “Thank you for your concern. We are working diligently to make sure not one more person dies.”

          1. I just fired off a pissy email to my (supposedly Republican) WI state assemblyman asking where the fuck was the leadership from Republicans in pushing back on this? Or does Evers just get to do whatever he wants, as long as he wants? I was super pissed because he published a letter yesterday saying how he supports everything that Evers has been doing. Not that I expect he will look at it, but it made me feel better. He’s the type of low-level RINO who co-authors a bill changing Columbus Day to “Indigenous People’s Day.”

            1. It might, MIGHT, be effective to organize a bunch of people to show up at their offices in person to ask these questions and demand an end to the nonsense. Even phone calls, all you get is some weary millennial lackey whose voice begins to crack at the inability to provide any logical reasons for what’s going down.

  6. Keep a loaded gun nearby. No sarc.

  7. “Unemployment, impoverishment, and despair are frightening outcomes in themselves. They’re also a recipe for social unrest that will afflict even those of us who weather both the pandemic and the accompanying economic storm.”

    The “affliction” mentioned borne by “those of us who weather both the pandemic” and “economic storm” might just come in the form of tighter government restrictions in many aspects of life, and an even larger and more intrusive government.

  8. One thing to consider – the prisons are releasing nonviolent prisoners early. Many of them are people who have drug habits or are in jail for burglary.
    Many police come into close contact with the public while making arrests, so more of them will call in sick.
    Shops are closed down and still full of whatever they sell, but no one is watching the store.
    Guess what will occur to someone recently released?

    1. Guess what will occur to someone recently released?

      They will spread the virus they got in prison?

    2. “Nonviolent”

    3. The broken windows will make everything better

      1. At least the glaziers will have jobs.

    4. Guess what will occur to someone recently released?

      Their cell gets filled with someone who was illegally jogging or biking along the lakefront during quarantine?

      1. I just love the videos of cops not maintaining their social distance.

    5. the prisons are releasing nonviolent prisoners early. Many of them are people who have drug habits or are in jail for burglary.

      Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure burglary is considered a violent crime, is it not?

      1. Someone feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure burglary is considered a violent crime, is it not?

        IANAL, but, just like murder, depends on the degree. Waltz into an unlocked abandoned warehouse and steal the copper pipes to recycle them? Probably, 3rd or 4th degree burglary, non-violent misdemeanor. Smash in someone’s front door with the intent to kill everyone inside and take their money. Probably, 1st degree burglary, a violent felony, assuming you didn’t succeed in hurting/killing anyone.

        Unless there’s a specific case in question, for libertarians I’ve always considered ‘non-violent’ to be synonymous with ‘property crimes’ which, AFAIK, burglary generally is.

        1. I thought the ‘breaking’ element of burglary made it a violent crime?

      2. Some jurisdictions factor in if someone is home or at the location. Burglary can be for more than just a home. It can vary greatly.

        The main idea is that trying to steal shit when someone can get injured/killed makes the crime WAY more violent (potentially).

        Check out this little Asian lady defending her home in Georgia. She shot one of the suspects and he died on her street. They charged the other retard with murder because his accomplice died.
        Video from fatal home invasion released

      3. No, it isn’t. It does, however, have victims, unlike drug crimes.

    6. Cincinnati police just announced that they will no longer be responding to calls for burglaries, simple assaults, criminal damaging, and other crimes.

      https://www.wcpo.com/news/coronavirus/starting-tuesday-cincinnati-pd-wont-respond-in-person-for-these-calls

      1. I bet they arrest people trying to disobey the curfew or business closures.

        I thought things were getting better and overall they are. More and more Americans seem to be disobeying government tyrants.

        There is still a very real risk of the upward trend getting interrupted by government tyrants and then we have to woodchip all those tyrants.

    7. “…the prisons are releasing nonviolent prisoners early. Many of them are people who have drug habits or are in jail for burglary.”

      I don’t doubt your claim. God knows Reason has been beating that drum all this week. But how in the blue fuck is burglary a non-violent crime?

      Aside, Houston Police Department let slip that 300 officers are on quarantine right now. Who knows what that number will be tomorrow?

      Stay frosty, everyone. And, as sarc said upthread, stay armed.

      1. “But how in the blue fuck is burglary a non-violent crime?”

        Because burglary is illegally entering a building to steal property, generally by stealth. The point is to avoid any confrontation with the property owner or agents there of.

        If the property owner (or agents of owner) are confronted and forced to give up the property by use or threat of violence, it becomes robbery rather than burglary, and robbery is generally classified as a violent crime.

        1. In my state they call it “aggravated burglary”.

    8. They’re probably going to embezzle again or get high again or evade their taxes again. They’re nonviolent offenders.

  9. Cuomo’s insistence that “if it’s public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health,” sounds fine and noble.

    What is this “public health” of which he speaks?

  10. He better be right that government checks—drawing on money from the thin air and not generated by an economy that has largely halted, I’ll note—can offset the pain of lost jobs and businesses

    Seems reasonable in the very short term. Once inflation gets going, maybe not.

  11. “President Donald Trump may be overly optimistic when he hopes to have the country, including areas hard-hit by the virus, “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” ”

    May be?

    1. As if a fucking asshole bigot has any better data.
      Scumbag…

      1. Someone have sand in his vagina today?

        1. Are you bragging?

          1. Eric is always cleaning sand from his vagina.

            1. You have to clean it. The alternative is turning into Sevo.

    2. There is no good reason why my state and those like it (high number of tests performed, low number of infected, very low number—only one in mine—of deaths) not be able to go back to normal? Instead, our stupid governor decides we need to follow the same measures as those states whose cities are getting hammered. Ridiculous.

      1. “should not be able to go back to normal.”

        My kingdom for an edit button . . .

  12. “reflects an unrealistic and semi-aristocratic disdain for the activities” And also Cuomo’s knowledge that whining about poor New York City ” the “Greatest City the World Has Ever Known”, will eventually get him about $1 trillion from those icky fly-over folks.

    1. Personally I say we take this opportunity to convert NY City into a giant open air prison.

      1. NYC is the center for covid19 in the US. I say: Nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

        1. No need to destroy all that property. Just seal off the bridges and wait until the screaming stops.

          1. +10000

            I have numerous times on here. Civil War 2.0 would end within a month for exactly what is happening now. Cities dwellers live in a fantasy land where food arrives magically at the corner market and electricity magically appears in the wall socket.

            I plan on citing the Wuhanvirus hysteria as how the Patriots in rural America would defeat the Lefty traitors in urban areas in under 30 days during Civil War 2.0

            1. “ I plan on citing the Wuhanvirus hysteria as how the Patriots in rural America would defeat the Lefty traitors in urban areas in under 30 days during Civil War 2.0”

              LOL. Only if civil war 2.0 involves trolling chat rooms all day long. Otherwise I don’t suspect you’ve seen the light of day in months Mr. Rural Patriot.

              1. I just hit target the other day.

                No wait in the lines for the register.

        2. Sorry, all that property is irreversibly contaminated. Only the cleansing fire of thermonuclear destruction can cleanse it.

  13. Why was there not this level of panic during the swine flu epidemic eleven years ago?

    1. Wasn’t as communicable and thus took longer to filter through the populace, although the difference in the number of deaths will likely be relatively insignificant when this all settles down. Also, the ChiComs made every effort to keep a lid on it, even to the point of colluding with the WHO to lie that it couldn’t be spread person-to-person, until they couldn’t hide it anymore and locked everyone down in response.

      The Chinks’ efforts to do damage control by trying to deflect the origin to the US, and boosting “how much good they’re doing in battling the disease” (NPR parroted this stupid bit of propaganda this morning), is all understandable, but if we’re expected to be doomers about this, logically we should hold these assholes in contempt for not being more transparent about what was going on.

      Regardless, this is a clear signal that we need to disengage ourselves from China and stop allowing ourselves to be so easily bought off by them. It’s pretty incredible that Nixon’s biggest mistake wasn’t covering up Watergate, it’s turned out to be opening up relations with them. We really should have just let them and the Soviets kill each other.

      1. “…if we’re expected to be doomers about this, logically we should hold these assholes in contempt for not being more transparent about what was going on.

        Regardless, this is a clear signal that we need to disengage ourselves from China and stop allowing ourselves to be so easily bought off by them. It’s pretty incredible that Nixon’s biggest mistake wasn’t covering up Watergate, it’s turned out to be opening up relations with them. We really should have just let them and the Soviets kill each other.”

        All of this. I am interested in compensation from these negligent, filthy fuckers. Since they aren’t going to do it willingly, TPTB need to start figuring out how America is going to get its pound of flesh.

        Of course, things get worse over there, and they may start a war over the First Island Chain anyway.

    2. Lefties thought they could take over using existing means.

      That all changed with Trump being elected, Trump rolling back Socialist policies, Trump clearly going to win reelection, and the end of the Democrat Party just over the horizon.

    3. In the interim we’ve become severely pusillanimous. Consider how extreme the reaction was to a handful of deaths and serious consequences from some bad black-market vaping cartridges. Most of the media and public officials, most interestingly including the CDC, were shitting their pants. Note that none of the unfounded restrictions from that unbridled panic have been rolled back, because the “leaders” who would take advantage of this change in our fundamental nature know very well how much power this potentially grants them.

  14. Not having enough money or “connections” for treatment is a recipe for social unrest.

  15. I have relatives locked down in Manhattan right now. But they wished they were staying with me. My county in the Rocky Mountains has about 40 people average per square mile. I have plenty of ammo and guns to hunt, see wildlife daily and have 3 lakes stocked with fish. He has not even so much as a gun. The last place I’d want to be in on an island with 8 million people in 24 square miles. Funny thing is how many people I talk to that do no own a gun (wish they did now) and more alarming is the number that have never killed their own dinner be it animal or fish etc. If the shit hits the fan where we are competing for food resources in the wild my estimate is that 25% will die off right off the bat from being Metrosexuals, then another 25% will be shot for trying to go where they aren’t wanted.

    1. What about the 1% with killer robots?

      1. They were killed by the robots.

    2. Why can’t they drive to you?

      1. Many Manhattan residents don’t own a car. A significant subset of those do not have a drivers license, or even know how to drive.

        1. Darwinism.

          1. Its like learning to drive stick. You never know when you might need to drive stick.

  16. As Katz and even Cuomo have noted, mass quarantine would infect entire households, as families are forced to stay together in confined spaces. When colleges get cancelled, students have to fly back home.

    What we’re doing is Vietnam. The government is implementing large scale actions but can’t go all in. We can’t shut own EVERYTHING (no booze and Walmart trip means riot), and we can’t forcibly separate sick people or anyone who tested by putting them in their own little camp.

    The virus is spreading. It’s going to spread as long as some places of businesses are open. I think most Americans understand this reality. There’s no point in wrecking the entire economy for that unpredictable chance we might flatten the bell curve 2 weeks early. We’re not shutting down oil production and signing onto Paris deal to reduce global temperature by a couple degrees.

    Managing hospital resources is probably the only thing stopping us from reopening at least parts of the economy. I would wait additional week to see if deaths aren’t mounting in states that are report deaths in the single digits. If there’s no dramatic development the middle parts of the country we should at least think about letting hair salons and computer repair shops open.

    1. There are hardly any deaths.

      The hysteria is wearing off outside Commifornia and NY.

    2. If they were to do this hospitals would get completely overwhelmed and stay that way for a good long while. As soon as new reports showing the parking garage at the local hospital transformed into a triage center where a few people are lucky enough to be put on the list for the next available ventilator while others lay coughing and dying, waiting for the next U-Haul to the crematorium, people will self isolate.

      This is 100% about hospital capacity.

      1. Eventually, we are going to have to begin resuming normal life, and when we do that, new cases will skyrocket and the hospitals will be overwhelmed. It’s going to happen, and there’s nothing we can do about that. At the most, we can delay the swamping of the hospitals for a little while and give them a little time to prepare. At some point soon, the potential damage from the shutdown will become as bad as the potential damage from the epidemic and suffering further economic damage from isolation will be pointless. We might already be at that point.

  17. And the government wonders why gun and ammunition sales are up right now?

  18. PandemicHysteria-Related Unemployment and Shutdowns Are a Recipe for Social Unrest

    FTFY

    1. I think there’s definitely some hysteria at play in the sanctions, but it’s not entirely unfounded either. It’s not just the initial wave of the virus you have to worry about, it’s when the virus eventually mutates and retransmission starting a second or a third wave of the disease kicks in.

      In the 1918 flu pandemic, the first wave of the disease was bad but was pretty comparable to normal flu. It mainly killed the very young and very old, like most flus, and people were able to get by. The second wave was far more brutal and was especially hard on people in the primes of their lives, killing healthy adults with no underlying health problems, by turning their own immune systems against them (the cytokine storm). It also affected babies in utero and retarded their cognitive development and cut back on educational achievement for a generation.

      And they’ve already had their first instance of retransmission in China and they’re already seeing signs that the coronavirus can take out healthy adults who should be having only mild symptoms. So there is absolutely a public interest in stamping out transmission to the best of our ability, because with a disease this contagious and easily transmissible, it could very easily morph into something much worse. But we also don’t want to destroy society to achieve that, so there’s a balance to be struck.

      1. I think you just made an argument for young people to go out and get infected in the first wave.

        1. Except it may not work. If the disease mutates enough, you can get it again in the second wave.

      2. “And they’ve already had their first instance of retransmission in China…”

        Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop the press.

        Are you saying that someone who has already caught this shit, gotten well, and cleared the virus out of their system, has caught Covid again?

        1. That is what was reported. That people who were sick with coronavirus tested positive again later. They were trying to determine whether it was a new infection or leftovers from the old infection.

          And when the virus has spread across the globe to as many people as it has, it could become a different enough virus that it can reinfect former patients.

          https://www.todayonline.com/world/14-patients-who-recovered-covid-19-test-positive-again-guangdong-report

        2. Its hard to believe anything coming from China.

          1. So you just believe the news that fits your predetermined worldview?

            1. Lies are lies, new sock troll.

          2. It’s definitely something to be taken with a grain of salt, but viruses do mutate and a basic tenet of pandemics is that the more people the disease infects and the further it travels, the greater the odds it mutates into something else.

  19. While I think that we’ll be okay if we’re talking a shutdown of just a couple more weeks, I have to say that I hope President Trump *doesn’t* listen to the “experts” who are telling him a 3-4 month shutdown, because there’s no way society survives that in exchange for $1,000 or so a person.

    I’m listening to those “experts” talk about coronavirus as if it lives in some kind of vacuum where no other concerns are relevant, and my immediate thought when I heard a multi-month timeline was “What are you, fucking nuts!?!” If people struggle for a month or so, that’s bad but it’s something that can be overcome relatively easily with some support like the stimulus bill. You cut them off from going to work or paying bills for three to four months, and they won’t have any jobs to go back to. You’ll see rioting and looting in the streets.

    Because at that point you’re talking threats to Maslow’s most basic level in the hierarchy of needs, and people will absolutely turn on each other to save themselves when their basic ability to provide a living for themselves is threatened.

    1. People around here are going about there business as of today.

      Americans are tired of media conjecture and hysteria. We couldnt trust what they say 4 weeks ago and cannot trust them now.

      1. For now. I’m a state that’s been shut down a week. It’s quiet for now, but people will start to buck with another week or two of this.

  20. I’m guessing the total American deaths from the WuFlu will be 80,000, worst case.

    I also guess that 6-7 years from now, when economists measure ‘excess deaths’ from the economic despair and the subsequent social unrest it will be north of 8,000,000.

    Even cancer deaths will skyrocket:
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/economic-downturn-excess-cancer-deaths-atun/

  21. “I’m listening to those “experts” talk about coronavirus as if it lives in some kind of vacuum where no other concerns are relevant”

    This.
    I heard an NYC doc today pleading about not reopening anything until NY is past infection.
    W
    T
    F
    ?
    Because NY has it bad, everyone has to cower and halt their lives?
    GTFOH

  22. The epidemic killed everyone in York and 170 of Wale’s 310 residents.

    Flu also spread to Solomon, Golovin, Mary’s Igloo and Teller. The population of Teller Mission, located about five miles from Teller, was decimated. The deadly virus may have reached that village, later renamed Brevig Mission, on the breath of men bringing supplies. Natives who loaded their dogsleds with supplies in Teller might have picked up the virus by working beside the men. Between November 15-20, 72 of Brevig Mission’s 80 residents died.

    The people of Mountain Village initiated a quarantine.

    The flu never made it to Mountain Village.

    https://www.seniorvoicealaska.com/story/2015/04/01/columns/1918-the-big-sickness-spreads-across-alaska/732.html

    Contagion precautions work.

    Those complaining about contagion precautions are no better than the infamous Typhoid Mary or the gay HIV positive truck stop prostitute, currently serving a 45 year penitentiary sentence, who infected untold numbers of people for their own petty financial interests.

    1. “Contagion precautions work.”

      The big question isn’t about whether or not they work. It’s whether or not the level of precautions being instituted are actually necessary.

  23. The immeasurable damage being done to the world economy is unconscionable, and will haunt us all far beyond the worst mortality numbers from the virus. Look at any recession; suicides alone skyrocket, homes will be lost, domestic violence will escalate, crime will increase, families will break up, etc. The handling of this by politicians is abysmal.

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  25. End the hysteria. Tell media to fuck off.

    1. The problem is telling the police to fuck off. They typically do not fuck off when requested.

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  30. An economic depression is particularly bad for people of color and illegal immigrants.

  31. “By contrast, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s insistence that “if it’s public health versus the economy, the only choice is public health,” sounds fine and noble. But,”

    i hate this fucking website.

  32. Trump was tested.

    Trump choked.

    “Guilty Man” – How Trump Slept While Virus Crept‬

    https://link.medium.com/DJQZF3mH74

  33. Yes, This Time is so predictable and be safe everyone and stay away from coronavirus. The End is near of coronavirus says our doctors and scientist.

  34. I wondering how many of the people who had such a problem with Sullum’s article “Is Preventing COVID-19 Deaths Worth a Severe Recession? The Answer Depends on Controversial Assumptions About the Epidemic’s Lethality.” have considered what’s discussed here in between their bouts of self righteous disgust. A pandemic is a serious thing but it is possible to make a bad situation worse when a government tries to “over correct”.

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