Governor Baker: Where Is Your Common Sense? … Pay Attention to the Facts About Covid-19

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When the number of cases of Covid-19 in Massachusetts began to increase rapidly, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency. That was March 10. It seemed a sensible precaution, as the virus was new, and predictions about the fatality rate were mere guesses.

Now there is a great deal of data about Covid-19. And the good news is that there is no reason to panic. The numbers show that the overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from Covid-19, as Dr. Scott W. Atlas, a physician and fellow at Stanford University, pointed out recently in The Hill.

recent antibody study from Stanford University’s Department of Medicine now estimates that the fatality rate, if someone is infected with the virus, is likely between .12 and .2 percent. That’s between one and two people out of every 1,000 people infected.

The population of the Commonwealth is approximately 6.9 million, and about 1 percent of the population has been reported to be infected. In all likelihood, the total number infected is much greater than that, as many people who have been infected with Covid-19 are asymptomatic and have not been tested.

As of Sunday, May 3, there were 4,004 deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. We mourn each person, as we should. We try to save each person, as we should.

But policy that affects all of us must make sense for all of us. The number of deaths from coronavirus so far amounts to less than .06 percent of the population of the Commonwealth. That’s less than 6 out of every 10,000 people.

The average age of deaths from Covid-19 in Massachusetts is 82. And the great majority of these deaths have been from people with chronic pre-existing conditions.


Source: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Sunday, May 3, 2020


This is good news. We are not dealing with the Great Plague in London of 1665-1666 when 15% of the population died.   

There is more good news.  Hospitals in Massachusetts have not been overwhelmed by cases of Covid-19, which we were told was the initial reason for the lockdown. Currently there are many empty beds in hospitals in Massachusetts.

The bad news is that due to wildly inaccurate predictions based on flawed models and the pernicious influence of the mainstream media, large numbers of Americans have panicked – especially our government leaders. Far more people in Massachusetts die every year from heart disease and cancer than Covid-19.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12,934 in Massachusetts died of cancer in 2017; 12,140 died of heart disease.

We appreciate the point of epidemiologists that cancer and heart disease are not thought to be infectious, while Covid-19 clearly is. But when the coronavirus numbers are evaluated in proportion, it becomes clear that the threat in early May 2020 is not nearly what it was projected to be in early March 2020.

Governor Baker is apparently being influenced by advisors who apparently have focused almost solely on the number of cases in Massachusetts rather than on who those people are – the elderly and people with serious underlying conditions. Government officials in Massachusetts – aided by misleading mainstream media news reports – act as though we are all in dire risk of getting seriously ill and dying from Covid-19. But we aren’t. The numbers show it.

Nor is this even justifiable as a policy of safety first. As Dr. Atlas points out in The Hill, the safest thing to do right now is to spread Covid-19 as widely as possible to people who are unlikely to be seriously affected by it. The building up of antibodies in the general population will render the virus harmless over time.

If you want to help people, then continue serious restrictions on access to people in nursing homes and other seriously ill people. But encourage the rest of us to mingle.

In short, the emergency policies in Massachusetts may actually be making things worse from a public health standpoint – just with respect to coronavirus.

In the process, Governor Baker has helped to cause an economic disaster. He and his team of advisors appear intoxicated with their power. Each new draconian degree causes more and more damage to the lives of citizens in the Commonwealth. They need to read Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. And all this is happening in the state where people prized their liberty enough to start the American War for Independence.

It was reported recently that the government shutdown has caused approximately 20% of the work force in Massachusetts to be unemployed. More than 725,000 people have filed unemployment claims. This approximates the level of unemployment reached in some of the worst years of the Great Depression.

Unemployment is a major public health issue. It often means discouragement, depression, alcoholism, and substance abuse. Failed businesses cause the same destruction. Every business is essential to the owners and their employees.

In 1968, there was a flu pandemic that caused more than a million deaths worldwide. Approximately 100,000 of these were in the United States. But we did not destroy the economy in 1968 and devastate the lives of vast numbers of Americans. We need to regain a commonsense perspective and open up the state.

Governor Baker:  stop feeding the panic. Open the economy up now. Businesses should be allowed to open at their discretion, using appropriate safety procedures. If employees or customers fear for their safety, let them stay away. But the great majority of people in their working years understand that there is little real danger of death from Covid-19.

Use the data on Covid-19 to make wise decisions. Attention clearly needs to be focused on senior facilities – nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities where the real danger from Covid-19 lies – not schools and the working-age population. Self-isolate the mildly sick. Allow hospitals to take care of other sick patients, too.

Governor, help end the panic and let us get back to work!