Don't Bail Out Bars, Let Them Reopen

So long as governments view lockdowns as their primary tool for combating COVID-19, they are in effect sentencing bars and other shuttered businesses to a likely death.


A worsening COVID-19 pandemic in much of the country is prompting state governments to shut down or delay the reopening of their bars, leading in turn to calls for a government rescue of drinking establishments.

On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered all bars in the state to close in response to that state's rising number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Last Friday, Nevada closed bars in seven counties, including Clark County, which contains Las Vegas. Texas, Arizona, and Florida have all closed down their pubs and clubs again.

The closures come in response to a wave of public health warnings about the unique hazards of the bar environment, where loud talking, closely-spaced (often fixed) seating, dancing, socializing, and sealed windows make it easy for COVID-19 to spread.

"Bars: really not good, really not good. Congregation at a bar, inside, is bad news," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in late June. "Except for maybe a hospital with sick patients, I couldn't imagine too many more risky places than a super cramped indoor bar with poor ventilation and hundreds of people," said one Harvard Medical School professor to The New York Times.

For fans of both a nice draft beer and government-imposed lockdowns as a tool for fighting the pandemic, this has created a dilemma, neatly summed up by a tweet from The Atlantic's Derek Thompson:

The solution for many is a bailout of regrettably shuttered bars.

This, argued Slate's Jordan Weissmann last week, would prevent many bars from permanently closing, and reduce the pressure on politicians to rush reopenings.

Weissmann argues:

The problem with shutting bars and nightclubs down indefinitely is that it would put many of them out of business permanently. And so long as bar owners are worried about going bankrupt, and bartenders are worried about losing their jobs, they are going to put political pressure on local elected officials to let them reopen, whether or not [it's] actually safe.

"The obvious solution to this bind is to bail the bars out," Weissmann continues. "Give them money so that they can cover their expenses, including rent, even while they are shut down. That way, mayors and governors will no longer face a choice between containing the virus and sentencing beloved local businesses to likely death."

There is a cool—if authoritarian—logic to the idea of the government paying off aggrieved parties with the explicit goal of quelling political opposition to its lockdown policies. But so long as governments view lockdowns as their primary tool for combating COVID-19, they are in effect sentencing bars and other shuttered businesses to likely death regardless.

Bailouts will only delay that while reducing pressure on policymakers to scale up responses to the pandemic that don't involve locking everyone in their homes until a vaccine is rolled out.

And it's not like the federal government's last small business bailout program, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), was enough to prevent many recipients from going under.

Some of that can be chalked up to the design of the program, which forced businesses to spend most of the money they received within eight weeks on retaining staff in order for their loans to be forgiven. Yet as The New York Times noted Monday, "the [PPP] rules were later relaxed, but in a sign of how many small-business owners did not feel confident that they would be on steady ground by the time repayment was due, roughly $130 billion of aid money remained untapped when the program ended in June."

Given business owners' wariness to participate in a reformed PPP, we shouldn't be too bullish on the idea that another few more months of bailouts will tide bars over until they can hit profitability once again. Ultimately, bars need customers to survive.

It's possible that even if bars are allowed to reopen, many of them will still fail. Restaurant reservations, a proxy measure for people's willingness to go out, are still down by as much as 60 percent from last year even in states that are largely reopened. The recent surges in some states that are linked to bars will likely make even fewer people willing to return to them if they do in fact reopen.

This is a feature, not a bug, of lifting lockdowns. Giving businesses the freedom to reopen means we will discover which of them can actually hang on in a world where COVID-19 is an ongoing concern. Letting some of these businesses fail will allow the workers and capital tied up in them to flow to other economic activities that can survive during a pandemic.

The alternative proposal of combining continual lockdowns with bailouts will only set the stage for a zombified economy where the still-productive sectors of the economy are required to prop up firms that may take years to be profitable again.

And though paying businesses to stay closed might reduce pressure on the government to avoid hasty reopenings, it also reduces pressure on the government to increase testing, contact tracing, and universal mask-wearing strategies that have been successfully deployed in other countries to curb the spread of COVID-19 and which are allowing bars and restaurants to reopen.

The practical case against bailouts aside, there is a more principled argument for providing aid to forcibly closed bars; namely that the government owes you compensation when it takes away your ability to earn a living with your property.

"If the government shuts down only certain businesses on the grounds that they're areas where the pandemic can be spread more quickly, that's an action that the bar owner then is taking on behalf of the public," says Oliver Dunford, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation. "Arguably the public should have to pay for it."

That's a reasonable argument, but it can also be addressed by letting bars reopen. Business owners would then be free to ply their trade, and taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook.

America has badly bungled its COVID-19 response to the point where we're currently facing the options of perpetual lockdowns or letting things reopen without sufficient means of controlling the virus's spread.

Neither is appealing, but if forced to chose between the two, I think the latter is preferable in perhaps all but the hardest-hit cities. Months into this pandemic, people are about as informed of the risks of COVID-19 as they're ever going to be and can decide for themselves which activities they think are safe.

That's not a perfect solution. There are externalities to individuals' behavior during COVID-19. But lockdowns and business closures are only one—increasingly costly and rather draconian—means of dealing with those externalities.

Instead of bailing out bars, states should let them reopen. Potential patrons should exercise caution in deciding whether to go to them. Businesses that can't offer a safe enough environment to attract patrons should be allowed to fail. And governments worried about the health consequences of operational pubs should get serious about adopting other strategies for containing COVID-19 that don't involve locking people in their homes for months on end.

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  1. So a priest, a minister and a rabbi walk in to a bar.

    “While we’re waiting for our respective houses of worship to reopen, let’s have a drink!”

    1. Das ist natürlich nur ein Beispiel dafür was auf sex nrw wieder und wieder passiert

  2. I thought Liquor killed the virus

    1. Only if its over 120 proof…

    1. I have it on good authority that Drano is effective in killing the virus.

  3. Once again, Reason sides with Trump in Covid denial.

    1. He didn’t deny the virus – but once again people like you can’t fathom some people are willing to weigh the risks and keep on with life. You choose what you want and others will do what they think is best.

    2. “Once again, Reason sides with Trump in Covid denial.”

      Sarc or stupidity?

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    1. Now, see, something like this may be the solution for the bar business.

    2. Wait, what?
      $996/day, but only $12k/mo?
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      1. Many holidays?

  5. Uh no. Bars are in the highest risk category. They tried to re-open, but bars have shown time and time again that they will flout the health guidelines and we have seen covid spread from bars. A better solution is to clearly spell out the heath guidelines and if a bar violates them then they get shut down, and it is their own fault. This same approach should be used for all businesses. However, of course, the less risky businesses will have less stringent guidelines.

    We know how to stop covid, we have watched many other counties do it, we just have to make the effort. So far we have spectacularly failed. Had we just cooperated in April, May, and June, we would not be in the situation that we are in now.

    1. We know how to stop covid, we have watched many other counties do it

      Like Sweden?

      1. Sweden is a great example about what not to do, along with the US and Brazil.

        1. Fuck off slaver.

          1. Oh Sevo, how I missed you vileness.

            1. Oh, MG, I haven’t missed your lefty bullshit.
              Fuck off and die, slaver.

            2. Sevo is vile? Funny, he never tells the rest of us how to live and what we’re allowed to do. You. You do that.

              You’re the one that’s vile.

              1. Shut the fuck up you whiny aggrieved faggot

        2. Sweden is a great example about what not to do

          Why? It’s over in Sweden.

          1. Sweden did manage to mess up covid less then the US, but they still had it way worse then their neighbors. It is also far from over in Sweden. Their numbers are going down, but as we have seen going down is not the same as over.

            1. only compared to Norway and Finland.
              Compared to Italy and Spain, Sweden handled it much better, with a much smaller economic hit. And they don’t have to fear the second wave as much as everyone else either.

            2. I don’t see an answer to his “why” there.

        3. “Sweden is a great example about what not to do, along with the US and Brazil.”

          And yet Sweden has done much better than New York. In fact everyone has done much better than New York yet that state is raised as the example to follow. 1700 deaths per million in New York leads the world in ineptitude.

        4. Really? 1 death since July 10. They are done. Sounds terrible.

    2. >>Bars are in the highest risk category.

      fuck your lying scale.

      1. bars and restaurants served as a handy cover story to not mention the mass protest super-spreader event.

        1. I have not seen any tracking data to suggest protests were spreading events. If you have some please share it. Otherwise find a new line.

          1. “I have not seen any tracking data to suggest protests were spreading events.”

            We don’t have tracking on the level of Korea. We don’t track people on their phones and monitor their movement once they get tested.

            But if you go to worldometer and check the state “daily new cases” graph, you can see that the biggest spikes in the current hotspots
            (CA, FL, TX, AZ, GA) occurred after June 16th, two weeks after the protests. Seriously, the pattern is unmistakable. Seriously, the cases shot up like a rocket after June 16th.

            It’s scientifically impossible for a protest of that size NOT to spread the virus. And keep in mind that CA reopened 2 weeks after FL, but their cases went up after June 16th. States like Minnesota probably dodged the worst because they have less of the vulnerable population. But in CA Latinos are 40% of the population.

    3. We know how to stop covid destroy an economy.


    4. Let’s see now.
      America has a population of about 330,000,000.
      There have been 3.54 million COVID-19 cases and 139,137 related deaths.
      So, let’s do the math:
      Chances of contracting this virus: .072 chance of contracting it.
      Chances of dying of this virus: .00042 chance of dying from it.
      Pardon me while I don’t wet my pants over this “pandemic.”

      1. I no longer wear pants.

  6. I hate to admit it but I think the Leftists make more sense on this issue than Reason. Let’s put aside all ideological puritanism for just a second and ponder how successful bars will be if they are allowed to reopen: Do you actually think they will be economically viable? The psychological effects COVID-19 has put on consumer behavior is undeniable in other industries. For example, people are flying a lot less than they used to, even though there is technically no government mandate preventing people from flying domestically (though health standards are strictly enforced on the planes, but still). I think even if indoor bars were to be allowed to open in California, many people simply will choose to not go, so the bars would be screwed either way because they are a business that depends on cramming as many people in to a room as possible. Even though I lean libertarian on most issues I side with the idea of bailing out bars for the foreseeable future, because honestly I can’t see any possible way they would be able to survive this crisis even if we did allow them to reopen.

    1. “…Let’s put aside all ideological puritanism for just a second and ponder how successful bars will be if they are allowed to reopen: Do you actually think they will be economically viable?…”

      Let’s tell slavers to fuck off and let those who have skin in the game to make their own choices.

      1. Yeah, you’re pretty much proving my point here bro. Comparing government regulations in the face of an unprecedented health crisis to the institution of slavery is so ridiculous I don’t even need to explain why. People like you detract from the overarching goal of more liberty, because you make the insane radical left folks seem reasonable by comparison to independent voters. I absolutely want society to be more free than it is today, but your refusing to adapt to the real world makes you just as likely to accomplish anything as an Occupy Wall Street or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone protester would.

        1. “Comparing government regulations in the face of an unprecedented health crisis to the institution of slavery is so ridiculous I don’t even need to explain why”

          This health crisis is very much precedented.

          1. Oh cool, you’re another one of those “it’s just the flu” people? I thought your kind went extinct back in March when we realized China had been lying to us the entire time about how serious this disease is. If by its very much precedented you mean we haven’t experienced a pandemic like this in 100 years then sure, it’s not like we haven’t gone through something like this before, but it’s certainly the first time we’ve experienced a disease with this amount of lethality and contagiousness in all of our lifetimes. This is a disease that takes the transmission of the common cold and combines it with a fatality and long-term illness rate that, while not nearly as deadly as AIDS or MERS, is still pretty freaking bad. Again, I will ask, can you people please adapt to the real world for once?

            1. we haven’t experienced a pandemic like this in 100 years


            2. “Oh cool, you’re another one of those “it’s just the flu” people?”

              Oh, shit. You’re one of those ‘do as I say or we’ll throw you in jail’ people.
              Fuck off, slaver.

              1. When did I say we should throw bar owners in jail? Again, you’re missing the entire point of what I am saying. Bars are going to be screwed even if the government lets them open back up. I would not sign off on a government mandate that they close, just a government advisory. But even if they ARE allowed to open up, they are likely to not succeed because the risk is not worth it to most people. From that perspective, I would be okay with bailing them out but only giving them the bailout money if they agree to close.

            3. I disagree. The word pandemic had caused this singular comparison between COVID-19 and the Spanish flu pandemic. However, there was an outbreak in the late 50s that was more similar to COVID-19 in severity and deaths and there are still many people alive who remember it and recall that there was no lockdown and no excessive government regulations to stop the spread. The idea that humans can stop death from occurring mostly results from very modern hubris. Medical advances and technology have created this absurd arrogance that nature and biology can be beaten into submission. Also “still pretty freaking bad” is a hyperbolic statement that has no statistical or scientific value. There are many people whose lives were pretty freaking bad before COVID-19 and the lockdown has destroyed many lives and livelihoods. How exactly should all these people adapt to the real world where they are told they must sacrifice everything so the scared amongst us can feel safe and secure?

              1. “…The idea that humans can stop death from occurring mostly results from very modern hubris…”

                And with worse results is the modern notion that the government owes us an environment where we can’t catch illnesses.

                1. Right on Sevo. And also the modern notion that individuals are responsible for the safety and health of everyone else is complete moral BS. Many of the people chastising others for going out or not wearing masks 24/7 are the same people who regularly walk right past homeless people, fight to keep affordable housing from being built in their areas, and could give less than two shits about all the millions of people who starve to death every year or who live on subsistence wages and dont have the option of staying home until it’s “safe” to come out. They care about their safety and those closest to them. Everyone else is basically an expendable threat to their survival.

              2. I love how you’re lecturing me on statements having scientific value and then compare the effects of past influenza outbreaks to that of a coronavirus. Just because influenza (which is what the Asian Flu and Hong Kong Flu of the 50s and 60s were) had a relatively short burst and then receded does not mean a coronavirus will do the same. Though they spread in similar ways and cause similar symptoms they are clearly different forms of virus. Since you claim to care so much about science you can see this article to educate yourself:

        2. “Yeah, you’re pretty much proving my point here bro.”

          I’m not your “bro” and given your statist bullshit, I would never be.
          Fuck off, slaver.

    2. “Let’s put aside all ideological puritanism for just a second and ponder how successful bars will be if they are allowed to reopen”

      Yeah many bars may fail anyway. So? If you are right and people are afraid to go to bars then bars will have to adjust in such a way that people will feel comfortable. That means bars either work that out and protect their customers or they go out of business. I’m willing to let them figure it out rather than tie an anchor around their neck.

    3. It is exactly the opposite. Here in Virginia, restaurants that follow the state rules have almost no customers, but places like the Cowboy Jack Saloon in Fredericksburg – where all the employees are maskless and social distancing is nowhere to be seen – are doing great business. The bottom line – people don’t want to eat or drink in a bar if they have to distance. They might as well eat at home.

  7. Gee, I have an idea!
    How about the government stick with protecting my rights and not interfering with my choices of activities or company?
    You know, like the right of association? I think I’ve read that someplace.

  8. There are only a couple options available. For one thing, it’s not necessarily government imposition that is wrecking businesses that cater to the public. People are being more careful than governments are requiring them to, because people are rational sometimes when it comes to not wanting to get sick and die (not Trumpers).

    So you can open them up and make a complete hash of containment while not necessarily seeing enough business for them to stay afloat.

    Or you can bail out everything and chalk it up to bad luck and just wait things out until we can return to normal.

    Or you could let the cookie crumble like a good libertarian who believes that if a business can’t compete in the environment it finds itself, it doesn’t deserve to exist anyway.

    Either way we’ve made a mockery of the “NAP,” but natural disasters tend to do that.

    1. “There are only a couple options available. For one thing, it’s not necessarily government imposition that is wrecking businesses that cater to the public. People are being more careful than governments are requiring them to, because people are rational sometimes when it comes to not wanting to get sick and die (not Trumpers).”

      Then why the mandate? Why do you need a mandate for what all these rational people are going to do anyway?

      1. There was a study on this, though I can’t remember where from, that showed that the core cause of the recession was people’s behavior regardless of government mandates. That doesn’t imply that mandates are useless. Government is here to guide us through catastrophes, to provide clear rules when we might not have all the information ourselves. Some of us think so, anyway.

        1. Translating Tony:

          “No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where would we be?” “

          1. Calling everyone who believes in the normal functioning of modern democratic governments an authoritarian communist is sure to win you many converts. Maybe you’ll get more than one guy in Congress next time. Just call more people communists.

            1. So… you’re not disputing anything he said? You would concur that his characterization of your post is best summed up with a quote from Animal Farm? You have no rebuttal to his calling you a communist other than the say that calling people communists isn’t nice (even if they are communists)?

              1. I think you’re all a bunch of lost, hysterical children.

                Stop believing in bullshit and then you won’t need to act a fool all the time. If the world’s events do not permit you to apply your political philosophy, the problem is not with the world.

                First of all, government doing government stuff is not automatically totalitarianism. See, there’s this thing called democracy… which most of you guys think is a bad idea anyway.

        2. “There was a study on this, though I can’t remember where from, ”

          Then since you’re Tony, it’s fake.

        3. So assuming that’s true, if people are not going to bars and restaurants by choice then why are they being singled out as a main driver of the increased cases. Also, if contact tracing is so limited how do they know for sure bars are the cause of the increased positives more so than any other activity, like protests, going to gyms that have also been closed for months, or hair dressers, ect. Gov Wolf just announced hes forcing all bars to close again, but the gyms can stay open as if sweating people breathing hard all over each other indoors is a smaller risk compared to drinking indoors. We haven’t even been able to have indoor dining or drinking on Philly yet.

      2. You’re missing the entire point of the article and Tony’s comment. The article is making the case that enough people would attend bars even if they weren’t mandated to close, and by that logic they would financially be okay if we just allowed them to open. Tony and I are making the argument that they would not be okay because bars need to have a high occupancy rate at least during certain times throughout the week to even be profitable in the first place. Without a bailout they are toast, and I think it’s pretty shitty that people who spent years of their lives and possibly hundreds of thousands of their savings should be essentially forced to close because the average person doesn’t want to go to a crowded environment for at least the next 8 months or so.

        1. That’s an assumption with no more evidence than the alternative.

    2. Anyone who goes to eat or drink at bars is probably not overly worried about the virus. The same for people (like me) who frequent massage parlors. And I can tell you that massage parlors in NoVA are doing a lot of business after reopening. Maybe not as much as pre-shutdown, but they are certainly doing much better than most restaurants. And it makes sense if you think about it. Eating at a restaurant instead of home provides quick convenience, but is not necessary to eat. But you can’t get a massage without going to a parlor.

  9. >>A worsening COVID-19 pandemic


  10. This is an amazingly science-free argument. There is no consideration of public health effects. That’s wrong.

    The underlying assumption seems to be that Covid is not all that bad and so letting people and barss self-regulate is a great solution. But what if this were airborne Ebola? Would the same argument hold? What if the bug evolves and starts killing kids? Without bringing in any of the epidemiological science this is a waste of an article.

    1. Heraclitus: There was absolutely ZERO empirical evidence of the effectiveness of Lockdowns. It was a scientific unknown. So please don’t lecture us about “science-free” arguments.

      You, like many other people, just use “common sense” of what you perceive and think obviously Science would agree with you. I mean, obviously if everyone stays home all the time, the disease won’t spread. Except that isn’t what happens. Everyone goes from home to grocery stores. And the essential workers go from home to their job to the grocery store. And that is why, despite the lockdowns, hospital workers and Nursing home staffers continued to get the disease.

      1. Zero evidence other then the hundred other countries that managed to get though this ok.

        1. What hundred countries? Do some research? The couple of countries that are held us as the standard example, like Singapore and South Korea Korea the nordic countries, except Sweden, were able to suppress the outbreak in a few weeks because they acted very early, they had adequate testing and contact tracing in place from the start, and they have on average populations that are no where near a large as the continental US. We are 4 months into this fiasco.and still trying to get adequare testing and contact tracing in place when its clear from the size of the outbreak it’s far too late for that to make any real difference now. The politicians need to acknowledge they didn’t act early enough and life must go on at some point. But instead they are just quadrupling down on the BS of controlling peoples lives to give the illusion they are doing something effective.

      2. Countries that took a strong lockdown route see less illness and death. Sweden and the US were lax on lockdowns and see more illness and death. It’s a mere correlation, but do you have an alternate explanation?

        1. Yes it’s called a bell curve you fuckwit.

          1. Tony doesn’t understand that Sweden is done, like NY. The steepest curves are finished. Sadly for the Tonys of the world, Covid isn’t interested in the political convenience of its timeline.

            1. So data coming from Sweden is positive now relative to the rest of Europe?

    2. the bug has evolved, it’s getting less deadly.
      and kids don’t go to bars.

    3. Fuck your “for the children” bullshit.

    4. “This is an amazingly science-free argument. There is no consideration of public health effects.”

      Fuck off, slaver.

  11. Here’s the problem as I see it in NJ. Most bars are small businesses. As we all know governor Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy could care less about small business (in fact he’s said as much).

    If it was a billion-dollar chain of bars, they’d be open for business at 100% capacity.

  12. I, from my home office and its steady work, demand that these people volunteer their financial well being for what I believe is in my health’s interest and will spew vile at any of them who balk at making this sacrifice.

    1. Let them eat government cheese!

  13. Business owners would then be free to ply their trade, and taxpayers wouldn’t be on the hook.

    Taxpayers or someone other than the bar owner is on the hook anyway. There is free riding going on here.

    Bar stays open – customers spread covid around among themselves and infect others – everyone else pays the hospital bills.

    Bailing out businesses has clearly become embedded in the American polity. Everyone is entitled to their bailout. Everything unexpected is gummints fault so let’s pick free money off the money tree (where apparently the Lockean proviso still applies).

    One good thing about the Swedish refusal to lock down (there are many crappy things that they have failed to do – like not testing) is that it eliminated the easy excuse that ‘gummint is to blame for my woes’ rather than ‘virus changed things’. Rather than eliminating that excuse, we have heightened that as an excuse.

    Course they have NOT actually let bars/customers do whatever the fuck they want as is being advocated here. They have social distancing guidelines in place. And they HAVE shut down bars, restaurants, etc that violate those. The difference is Swedes tend to trust the authorities because they have much better decision-making processes in their governance – so they tend to comply. And NO ONE in Sweden is trying to politicize the virus itself. Or for that matter lie about what Sweden is doing.

    1. Though I have heard rumors that a new political party – Detta är Bara Influensan – is forming.

      1. Stuff your PANIC flag up your ass, stick first, and sit on it, you cowardly piece of lefty shit.

  14. Fear not peasants. Uncle Sam, the font of all good things, will decide and a favored few will allowed to work and those deemed worthy of his beneficence either be paid to sit idle. So bow every knee, demonstrate your humility AND your loyalty, and perhaps (maybe) then his grace shall fall upon even you.

  15. Forgive my candor, but this article belongs in Mad Magazine. Based on events of the past month there is no longer any doubt that bars have contributed mightily to the uncontrolled summer surge in COVID cases. So, we should leave them open and have thousands of younger people become infected and then spread the virus to the rest of us? Methinks that Mr. Britschgi has been spending far too much time in bars.

    1. You don’t have to go near the young people who go to bars either…

    2. “Methinks” you need to disclose the actual DATA to back up your claims. It’s not QED. And if it was show us the actual data,. Which they won’t. Some self declared dictator (i.e. governor) who has already lied to us non-stop saying its all bars and restaurants are bad but don’t you dare blame protests.

      And who gives an F what you or the governor think. You should not have the right to arbritrarily shutdown businesses.

  16. For most Americans, bars are more important than schools.

    1. Pay attention and you’ll learn more in a bar.

  17. OK, I had something to say. But looking at this thread of tripe, suppresses my interest.
    Good stuff, Christian.
    Human liberty is dying. And the cowards among us simply don’t seem to care. I think that is how a free country dies. They sell their freedom for illusory “security”.
    Everything is opened with no restrictions whatsoever. How the owners adapt is their business, not anyone else’s. Employees choose to return to work at their former employers’ or they don’t. Similarly, customers decide whether their situation is ok for return to whatever the owner has decided to create. They do or they don’t. If the balance is wrong, business is bad. Firms fail or adapt to the the wishes of their former employees and their customers. As it always should have been without fascist shutdowns!
    As one of you observed above, we already know who is vulnerable and who mostly isn’t, despite the media’s best efforts to mislead — ” OH, LOOK, a younger person died!” “OH, Look, the number of confirmed infections is ‘surging’. OMG! Dr Faustus says that is bad!”
    Those of us in our 80th year, with co-morbidities, know what we need to do to minimize our risks — if we choose to do so.
    OK, here IS part of what I had to say. These opinions below have stood up well since I cited them in my last piece to clients….

    James Hamblin, MD in The Atlantic, 2-25-20:
    “Professor of Epidemiology Marc Lipsitch, director of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and an expert on the spread of infectious diseases, including his work during the SARS coronavirus outbreak in 2003. ….
    Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses. “It’s likely that many will have mild disease, or may be asymptomatic,” he said. As with influenza, which is often life-threatening to people with chronic health conditions and of older age, most cases pass without medical care. (Overall, about 14 percent of people with influenza have no symptoms.)….

    “[O]ne of the points he wanted to get exactly right was this: “I think the likely outcome is that it will ultimately not be containable.” [LC: THAT’S NOW OBVIOUS, but disregarded, in the U.S. public policy discussion].

    That’s all from me.
    Best wishes to all. — LC

    1. Pretty sure cowardly pieces of shit like JFree, Tony et al really think that famous quote was actually:

      ‘Give me liberty……..
      unless I might catch something…’
      We have turned over the control of our lives and the economy, with all the disastrous results, for an illness which has yet to kill 1/2 of 1/10 of 1% of the population.

      1. Hey, Sevo, have you ever seen 24×7 coverage of anything like this from all Media outlets. It is astonishing! It is like telling your idiot nephew to come in out of the rain when it it is 35F out. Thugs with guns are required for this?

    2. Lipsitch predicts that within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. But, he clarifies emphatically, this does not mean that all will have severe illnesses.

      OK. I’ll go with that 40-70% become infected within the coming year. Seems reasonable to me. No one on Earth has EVER predicted that all or even most would have some severe illness.

      But 40-70% of Americans = 131.7 million – 230.5 million. How many will die? I have yet to hear ONE person who is trying to sell the nothingness of this – to minimize any impact – to sell an action of ‘let’s do nothing at all’ – come up with an actual fucking number of – How many people will die? A simple calculation. What is the cost of that decision? But the very act of calculating that number tells others that a)you are actually talking about covid19 rather than say toenail fungus or flu and b)you are not merely trying to ignore the costs – which would – you know – be called lying, deception, fraud.

      Course the second you calc the numbers – eg Imperial College
      Unmitigated – RO – 2.4 – Infected 264 million, hospitalized 10.8 million, dead 2.2 million
      ‘General social distancing – meaning 37% less ‘contact’ – same RO – Infected 165 million, hospitalized 5.8 million, dead 1.1 million
      ‘Social distancing as above + ‘more’ for elderly – same RO – Infected 157 million, hospitalized 4.4 million, dead 625k.
      Other scenarios too and you can look up the report but that’s enough for the purpose here.
      Well – calc that and you are accused of fear-mongering. Apparently being public about the COST here is not an acceptable way to ‘sell liberty’. But what that really means is that you aren’t selling liberty. You’re selling ignorance – based on deception. Or do you/Lipsitch calculate different numbers for covid-19?

      Those of us in our 80th year, with co-morbidities, know what we need to do to minimize our risks

      By that you mean those of us who are already sucking on the taxpayer teat for our medical care don’t you? Others need to man up and take responsibility for their own security – while you are wrapped in a security blanket paid for by others that is in fact the major threat to everyone else’s liberty. I understand that you are more concerned about and understand your own risks better than anyone else. But the fact is – you aren’t actually paying for that. Everyone else is.

    3. Spot on comment Lloyd Clucas! The CDC said a week or two ago that the virus was spreading too rapidly to be contained. At some point the politicians either concede defeat in the battle to stop the spread at all costs or we ultimately lose the war, which include the more important factors of freedom, economic stability, and the cost to younger and future generations. So many people are so afraid of dying, which is inevitable that they are willing to stop living a meaningful life indefinitely, which really defeats the purpose of avoiding death.

  18. Couldn’t agree more, Bronxbred.

  19. I am making a good MONEY (500$ to 700$ / hr )online on my Ipad .Do not go to office.I do not claim to be others,I yoy will call yourself after doing this JOB,It’s a REAL job.Will be very lucky to refer to this ::.  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT

  20. JFree, Thank you for your expansive reply.
    You couldn’t be more wrong!
    I know the numbers.
    Don’t cite any Imperial College models to me. I’ve been through their model. It is and always has been, a total loss, no matter how many times they revise it. If you don’t know that, you are hopelessly behind the curve. Join devious Dr. Faustus. But those are not big issues.

    Nor is who is paying for anything. NO, the public doesn’t pay for ANY Covid-related costs for me and never will. Why, need not matter to you and your erroneous, presumptuous, self-righteousness.

    This is war. Why does it matter how many die? Especially when the vast majority come from Nursing Storage Facilities? For a change it is the old buggers who die instead of youngsters. The oldsters who keep instigating and sustaining useless wars — as they play with youngsters as if they were toy soldiers.

    And Mumsy? She has been around waaaay too long. A drain on most families’ emotions and pocket books — and and the public’s. If you aren’t personally taking care of her yourself, let her go! And I don’t need to know about it.


    1. It is and always has been, a total loss, no matter how many times they revise it.

      Those numbers are not revisions of anything. They are 3 of 5 different scenarios modeled out in their Mar 26 spreadsheet. One of those scenarios (projecting 16 million infections and 84k deaths) is, I assume, the rationale behind the clusterfuck of those ‘We can do better than Wuhan Here hold my beer’ lockdowns. We’ve sure blown through that one haven’t we. Of course the biggest number gets fixated on and is now assumed to be THE prediction – but it was never that.

      I would welcome seeing some actual numbers from you or Lipsitch re the cost of this covid19. Otherwise I just have to assume you’re talking about toenail fungus and I agree with you heartily. Why would anyone think social distancing and masks – or any departure from anything normal – is needed or desired. Americans must just be stupid sheep.

      1. Okay. Let’s assume 265 million people in the united states get COVID-19. Total nightmare worst case scenario. Given that the fatality rate currently sits at around 0.5% and has continued to absolutely plummet as younger people make up a larger percentage of infections (which would take up larger and larger portions of the infected as the virus progressed) that would continue to go down. To what number I don’t know but let’s assume it’s 0.2%. So 0.2% of 265 million is… 530k. But who really dies to COVID-19? You like to imagine that it’s mainly healthy people getting nailed but that’s so vanishingly rare as to be statistical noise. Almost everyone (> 99%) of people dying with COVID-19 are already very very sick. Most of them are so sick that when they die with COVID-19 it’s difficult to tell if that’s actually what did them in or if it was just one more thing on the pile of problems the person already had.

        Anecdote: I have an aunt in law who recently passed away with COVID-19. She was over 80 years old, had a stroke earlier this year she never recovered from, and then recently contracted and was hospitalized with pneumonia. While in the hospital she acquired COVID-19 and then, after a week passed away. So was my aunt killed by COVID-19? Was it the stroke? The pneumonia? She was very old and very sick before she ever got a whiff of the kung flu and I don’t think anyone would expect her to last much longer regardless. COVID-19 certainly didn’t help her but I don’t think it’s fair to count her as a fatality of DEATHPLAGUE2K19.

        So it’s worth asking, of these proposed 530k people who would die with COVID-19 in the nightmare worst case scenario, how many of those people would have lived to see 2021 if they didn’t catch the WuFlu. If all of those people would have died anyway and are simply passing away while they have yet another disease, was this all worth it? Was it worth putting 20 million people out of work, imprisoning people in their houses, mandating completely useless mask orders, and driving millions of people out of the healthcare system to make room for COVID patients, room that has largely gone to waste.

        That’s another thing I want to bring up, the paralysis of the healthcare system. People like to talk about how many COVID-concurrent deaths there are every week. That’s the Seen. But what about the people who avoided interacting with the healthcare system out of fear of catching a sickness? What about the people who forcibly had their “elective” surgeries canceled? How many of those people will die because of lack of medical care they could have otherwise accessed? That’s the Unseen. So while you’re demanding “I want to see the numbers! How many people will die?” perhaps you should be producing some numbers yourself: How many people will die from lack of medical care because society and government decided to prioritize medical care for one class of people over another?

        1. I appreciate that you actually tried to put a number on that. Makes for a completely different discussion when the subject is about the reasonability of assumptions and costs and the range of possible scenarios/outcomes rather than about philosophy/theology. And I’d be happy to drill-down into the weeds there and discuss that because that’s how knowledge of a real world situation happens. Not the philosophy/theology.

          It is entirely possible that your ‘side’ (re policy options) would have had some influence in the policy discussions had anyone on your ‘side’ done this in February rather than waiting until July to do it. Because those first discussions happened in March. Course the virus ain’t done with us yet. Which is why there are still discussions re what we do going forward (schools reopening, everything about ‘restoring normality’, what happens when covid and seasonal flu become simultaneous, etc). But as in March – philosophy/theology is irrelevant. Are ‘libertarians’ up to discussing anything in non-philosophy terms? Because the fact is – no one gives a shit about philosophy. People do give a shit about how best to understand or solve real-world problems. Stop trying to sell philosophy. Roll your sleeves up and start solving problems.

          How many people will die from lack of medical care because society and government decided to prioritize medical care for one class of people over another?

          It’s not ‘society’ or ‘government’ that decides to prioritize that access itself. It is a conflict between a VIRUS that is growing by infecting new people and making them sick v a medical infrastructure that is ‘fixed’. The moment people needing hospitalization > medical capacity, then the prioritization is GOING TO HAPPEN whether you like that or not. That is why there is a value in talking the numbers – because that is what puts a number on how many people might become simultaneously infected and how much it costs to grow capacity/infrastructure.

          Market fundamentalists are also advocating a particular set of priorities – access goes to the highest bidder. Except of course that the bidder doesn’t actually pay. And given that libertarians and market fundies aren’t going to overhaul the existing medical system by Sept to fix the latter problem, then you either have to understand how those priorities will be set this fall here on planet Earth – or be rendered not merely irrelevant but be tarred as dishonest too.

  21. Another solution for bars and restaurants..apply the Trumpian Truth, COVID-19 is not dangerous for young people, never was. So, drink up, work hard, Just don’t go home to granny.

  22. HERE► Brilliant article. I had wondered how future generations would view the mind boggling hysteria that is currently gripping the whole world, especially Europe and the USA. We look back at past centurhysteria can be – like a stampede. Thought the writer was a historian, his analysis is so sharpies and wonder how they could have been so stupid. I guess it shows how powerful mass . He has seen through the Emperor’s new clothes!ReadMore.

  23. It’s a depressing time in America when even the authors and editors at Reason believe covid A necessitates any type of response from the federal government at all. If media reported on covid like a regular news story, the federal government did nothing more than issue an advisory or maybe even go so far as to restrict travel from certain areas, and state and local governments were left to their own devices, I doubt the average person would even realize we were in a he middle of a “pandemic.”

  24. Watching disaffected clingers like Britschgi whine from society’s inconsequential sideline about their ‘you can’t tell me what to do’ fetish has become strangely entertaining.

    So long as they comply with the preferences of better Americans, they get to whimper all they want.

  25. There is no way to get around the problems with bars spreading the coronavirus. The author suggest leaving bars alone and focusing on other ways to stop the virus. I like to see his suggestion on other ways? Because word are easy, Solutions are hard.

    1. Yea its just bars and restaurants, LOL . The government contact tracers say so which backs up the government officials who predicted no protestors would get it and guess what those amazingly smart politicians were proven right.

      But wait that government data which explains the miracle of the mostly peaceful Covid free protests is private and can’t be disclosed. It’s super secret just trust us,

      I mean no one can be lying there no way.

      1. Not just bars and restaurants, there are also Trump rallies.

  26. This is not good thinking. To contain the spread of the virus, the transmission rate has to be reduced to less than 1, meaning each sick person infects fewer than one other people. During the early phase of a flare-up, it is extremely likely that so-called superspreaders are responsible for most transmission and that people attending bars are one of the main vectors. Shutting down this channel may by itself be sufficient to produce a sub-1 transmission rate, which would allow for all other businesses to remain unmolested and to continue to provide livings for people.

    As it happens, in Tokyo where I live (and where the government has no constitutional authority to force any business to close), we had been down to about five new cases per day from around 250 previously, but we have recently jumped back to almost 300 following the relaxation of a rather soft lockdown, a big component of which was paying bars to close. Most of these new cases are people in their 20s and 30s, a majority of whom contracted the illness at bars in several nightlife districts where COVID-19 clusters have been identified. The government has not taken fresh action yet, but I suspect it will encourage drinking establishments to close again and that we will see the trend taper off rather quickly as we did the first time.

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