The alleged science denier Donald Trump generally was flanked by scientists when he held his COVID 19 pressers.
We expected the President, as the one elected to govern, to make the hard decisions, but it was helpful to know that he was not just snatching rules out of thin air.
Where are the scientists giving advice to supposedly pro-science California Governor Gavin Newsom or New York’s Andrew Cuomo?
What are Newsom and Cuomo and other governors ordering lockdowns telling us about the data that assures us that their decisions are not arbitrary? Who’s making these rules? On what scientific data are they based?
Surely, if your livelihood is being destroyed, you deserve that much?
Take Angela Marsden, the owner of Pineapple Hill Saloon and Grill in Los Angeles. Marsden reportedly spent $80,000 preparing her restaurant to comply with government rules and serve food outdoors. When the government suddenly nixed outdoor dining, it was the end of the line for Marsden’s ten-year-old business.
But it wasn’t the end of the line for a movie company that was shooting and serving outdoor meals in a parking lot a few feet from Marsden’s ruined Pineapple Hill. “Everything I own is being taken away from me and they set up a movie company right next to my outdoor patio,” Marsden said.
Marsden wanted to know why her restaurant was dangerous and food served by the movie company was safe.
Marsden deserves a public explanation. She deserves to know what scientific data led to her ruin, while a movie company received more consideration. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, or at least an official with the health department, should get on TV and explain the science. Otherwise, I’m afraid it looks arbitrary and dictatorial.
Rich Lowry outlined what one headline on the column correctly called the “economic cruelty” of the shutdowns. Seems it is a class conscious pandemic:
Just when it seemed some of the most disheartening trends in the U.S. economy were finally beginning to reverse, COVID-19 arrived to entrench them.
The pandemic has been a neutron bomb targeted at the prospects of lower income working people. They had finally begun to benefit from the recovery from the Great Recession when the virus ravaged sectors of the economy that disproportionately employ them.
The Washington Post has called the resulting economic damage “the most unequal recession in modern U.S. history.” As the paper puts it, starkly, “the less workers earned at their job, the more likely they were to lose it.”
The pandemic has hammered restaurants, hotels and places of entertainment, all of which don’t pay high wages and tend to employ women and minorities. It has cut a swath through small business. It has slammed workers who can’t retreat to home offices for Zoom calls.
If so many people are to be ruined, don’t the governors and mayors owe it to us to talk about the scientific basis for their rules?
John Tierney is always iconoclastic. Tierney advances a notion as to why the lockdown rules are growing ever more severe, even as we are not informed of the scientific basis of the rules. In a piece in City Journal headlined “Pandemic Penitents” Tierney argues that lockdown are “more about faith than science.” He invokes the Flagellants, who during the Black Death in the fourteenth century marched through towns whipping themselves to repent of their sins and thus drive the plague away. Tierney writes of our current response to the plague:
Those painful measures give at least the illusion that something serious is being done—and even if the measures turn out to be useless, officials can always claim success when the pandemic ebbs, as all pandemics eventually do. During the spring surge, infections in New York were already declining before Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his lockdown, but he has been taking credit ever since for “controlling the virus” thanks to the lockdown’s “enormous sacrifices.” If he’d been leading the Flagellants through the streets of London in 1349, he would have been making the same boast. After all, the Flagellants began their daily floggings at the end of September; just two months later, the bubonic plague subsided. To a leader and a public already convinced that a plague requires penance, that would qualify as following the science.
Tierney notes that less rigorous measures (such as adding vitamin D to your diet) are rarely discussed.
Unless the governors give us more insight into their scientific basis for their rules, I am going to seriously entertain Tierney’s thesis.
Emmy award-winning Governor Cuomo seems to have developed a COVID schtick (he has said that he and Dr. Fauci should consider themselves De Niro and Pacino—how unfunny is that?).
Maybe instead, Governor, bring out your scientists next time you impose a new “law.” Just like President Trump did.
Tierney’s is an intriguing idea. Read the entire column.