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Tags: herd | immunity

Distancing From 'Experts' Would Regain Nation's Perspective

consulting the doctors and experts
(Nataliia Mysik/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 17 April 2020 04:22 PM EDT

When President Trump addressed the nation on Thursday, April 16, about ending the enforced national shut-down, he seemed oddly muted. The ebullient candidate who sought to Make America Great Again had good news for his nation — he was implementing plans to reopen our hobbled national economy.

Why then, his seemingly dispirited nature?

Invoking God’s grace, the president began his remarks by noting the loss of more than 30,000 Americans to COVID-19.

Remarkably, for a politician in our benighted and secular age, he actually observed that those dearly departed were now in heaven — but that the loss was still real.

This loss of loved ones may have saddened the president, but there was much more that could have brought on what appeared to be his distress.

Could he have realized that our cure for the pandemic was, in fact, worse than the disease?

The number of Americans who perished from or with COVID-19 thus far, in a nation that daily experiences about 7000 fatalities, is not significantly different from the number who normally die each year from the flu.

For this, we incurred more American job and business loss than we have seen in decades?

For this, we closed churches, parks, beaches, stadiums, concert halls, bars and restaurants?

Perhaps this is what touched Mr. Trump as he seemed ritually to raise the possibility that had we not done all of this, millions would have perished — as the epidemiologists’ models originally alarmingly suggested.

We now know it was those dire threats that caused him to acquiesce in the shuttering of the nation. The models suggested that only "social distancing" would "flatten the curve," preventing the suffering occurring in Italy during its apex of the disease — which in America would have purportedly killed millions.

But what if all of this was wrong?

Other countries who did not put their populations under house arrest and mask their people — making them look like zombies from a B-grade film — do not appear to have suffered significantly more than we did. Stanford Medical School Professor Jay Bhattacharya suggested that it's not social distancing that makes the virus run its course of peaking and then declining.

We will never know whether our self-inflicted wound was necessary, since we do not have a national control group, and, like President Trump, we’re driven to rely on experts.

What we actually need, it would appear, is some way of evaluating the experts, some perspective in evaluating the unknown and the unknowable. What should one make, for example, of those who believe that shutting ourselves in was the worst possible move because it prevented the kind of human contact that develops a “herd immunity” to the virus?

Did our nation's 45th president heed the wrong experts?

Have we set ourselves up for the dreaded "second wave" of the pandemic because we have failed to develop immunity? Those who place their faith in science, such as one of the fathers of Obamacare, Ezekiel Emmanuel, would apparently have us in lockdown for many more months while we seek a vaccine for this virus, but that would have the effect of destroying us to save us.

This "expert" is the man who published his opinion that we should not aspire to live beyond 75, because the quality of life declines so rapidly from that point.

As someone who is 72, and still, thank God, vigorous, that’s not especially impressive.

Will we trash the economy again next flu season, mask up and social distance from each other?

This president has pulled funding for the World Health Organization (WHO), known in some quarters as the World Hysteria Organization, because some have ascribed the current madness to that odd and politically-influenced body.

The most difficult task facing our federal and state governments is to have the courage to regain common sense and to bring us back, as quickly as possible, to a situation where we can once again enjoy what made our lives meaningful — social contact, not social distancing.

We have a national press, which has now assumed the role of adversary to the president, constantly searching for that "Gotcha!" moment to demonstrate some kind of lapse of judgment or conflict of interest. We have one political party more bent on dividing than healing us for its own political gain — also in a posture of constant attack on Mr. Trump.

We have an educational system that has failed to inculcate perspective as it has pushed the politically correct. President Trump must now lead the way in reforming our politics, our academy, and our press.

All of this asks a lot, but it's now crucial to maintain self-government.

We are now in the gravest danger of losing the virtue needed to preserve our republic.

Stephen B. Presser is the Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law, the Legal Affairs Editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and a contributor to The University Bookman. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has taught at Rutgers University, the University of Virginia, and University College, London. He has often testified on constitutional issues before committees of the United States Congress, and is the author of "Recapturing the Constitution: Race, Religion, and Abortion Reconsidered" (Regnery, 1994) and "Law Professsors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law" (West Academic, 2017). Presser was a Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus for 2018-2019. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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We have an educational system that has failed to inculcate perspective as it has pushed the politically correct. The president must now lead the way in reforming our politics, our academy and our press.
herd, immunity
Friday, 17 April 2020 04:22 PM
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