Brian Allen: Gov. Scott fighting coronavirus with carpet bombing

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Brian Allen, of Arlington. He is an art historian and the art critic for National Review.

I’m writing this in the middle of April, when 82,000 Vermonters, about 24% of the workforce, have lost their jobs thanks to Governor Scott’s coronavirus policy. Almost all of these are low- and middle-income workers. He’s whacked every small business in Vermont. Tens of thousands of independent contractors have seen their incomes vanish.

COVID-19 is serious. It’s a big challenge. Governor Scott is fighting it with carpet bombing, which hasn’t killed the virus but has devastated most everything else. Attila the Hun could not have done a better job killing an economy in his rampage through Europe.

Let’s look at data, not models. Vermont has 630,000 people. COVID-19 has, we’re told, killed 35 people. Almost all were in Chittenden County, most in nursing homes, and the average age of the dead is around 80.

The governor’s model projects that 19% of people with COVID-19 infections require hospital care. If it relies on this projection, it’s a bad model.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

Gov. Phil Scott, who now regularly wears a mask, is preparing to require employees of newly-opening businesses to wear masks to protect against the coronavirus. The general public is merely being advised to do so for now.

Of 11,081 people currently tested in Vermont, three-tenths of 1 percent — 30 people — are now hospitalized. Almost all of those tested thought they’d been in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 or were actually ill themselves. No one else can get a test.

Few who get infected have anything beyond a cold. Many have no symptoms. That’s not modeling. It’s reality, everywhere.

Almost all of those dead and hospitalized, if not all, already had serious health problems. In 2017, the nearest year for which I found online records, 6,031 people in Vermont died from all causes. In America, 250,000 people die each month, or 3,000,000 a year. Death is part of life.

When Governor Scott closed the schools, he blithely told parents and teachers to “be creative.” No, Governor, you “be creative.” That’s your job.

Protection from bacteria and virus comes in many forms. Governor Scott has taken the most extreme approach anywhere in the country, except in New York City. Vermont isn’t Queens or Brooklyn.

It seems people in Vermont are being punished. Farmer’s markets can’t open. There’s a snitch hotline in place. You can’t buy seeds in stores. Aisles in big box stores are roped off. God forbid anyone might want to shop for a new TV set after buying food at Walmart. Speaking of God, churches are shut by edict for the first time in American history.

Governor Scott is considering forcing us to wear masks. The price of leaving our homes is visibly endorsing his poor governance. Power and TV time seem to have gone to a lot of political heads.

“Be creative,” Governor. Rather than kill the economy anywhere and everywhere it has a pulse, our leaders could have looked at the problem more rationally. COVID-19 is a disaster in New York City and northern New Jersey. That’s where half the country’s deaths are.

Nursing homes and elderly residential communities are very vulnerable. People with chronic illnesses need focused attention, too. Each needs a detailed, separate, targeted program. Instead, Vermont’s economy and people got the meat axe treatment. One size doesn’t fit all.

What’s the endgame? For our elderly and ill, COVID-19 will still be around when and if the Vermont economy staggers back from the dead. A vaccine is speculative. Forty years on, there’s no AIDS vaccine. There’s no vaccine for SARS, the bug closest to COVID-19. Vaccines don’t always work. Do we shut down again when 10, 20, or 30 people die? How can a business or anyone else plan anything if that’s the standard?

Hospitals are nearly empty. Bennington, Brattleboro and Rutland Hospitals are bleeding cash. They’re laying people off. What are the consequences for everyone’s health care if our hospitals are financially pummeled? We have a new 400-bed emergency hospital, built by our National Guard. That’s empty, too.

Wasn’t there a middle way other than killing the entire economy?

There’s no reason a small business with modest foot traffic needs to be closed. Low density businesses should be allowed to reopen immediately. Construction projects should resume, if builders want to bother given the mood of uncertainty the governor has created.

The governor should be pushing better hygiene, not mass unemployment. A “wash your hands” and “don’t touch your face” campaign would have seriously mitigated the spread of COVID-19. That’s what doctors say. It’s also common sense, which seems to have taken a holiday.

It’s good to listen to experts, but they don’t make public policy. They’re often right, but often wrong. The CDC, FDA, Dr. Fauci’s unit, and other health agencies gave us bad advice. A good leader has to be able to tell the difference between expert advice that’s good and practical and advice that’s zany and extreme.

“Be creative,” Governor Scott told parents and teachers when he closed the schools. One-tenth of 1 percent of those under 18 with COVID-19 infection require medical care beyond a diagnosis, some Kleenex, and a home quarantine. For thousands of children, school’s their safe place. Are all of Vermont’s parents really capable of homeschooling their kids or supervising online instruction? I suspect many aren’t, especially single parents, parents with special needs kids, or parents frantic about money because the governor threw them out of work.

What will the loss of three months of proper schooling mean? On statewide testing? Will we dumb everything down? How about the effect on college admissions? Closing schools for the rest of the school year, with next to no data, was irresponsible. They should reopen quickly. A regime of monitoring kids and drilling hygiene in their heads makes sense. “Be creative.”

Over spring break, why wasn’t each school district charged with developing a mitigation plan? I know Arlington would have come through with flying colors.

Our children are learning to hide from every risk that comes with living. They’re learning fear. Life’s full of danger. Humanity has always lived on the edge of a cliff.

Where is Governor Scott’s modeling on the impact of unemployment on alcohol, drug, spousal, and child abuse? What’s the tax revenue downside? Where’s the modeling on that? What programs will suffer? Programs for the disadvantaged is surely the answer.

Where’s the modeling for deferred medical care? Every doctor’s office is closed. How many early cancers and heart problems are going undetected? The state has all those statistics from the Great Recession. Why keep them from the public?

Half a dozen states haven’t drunk the Kool-aid. They’ve implemented a targeted, limited shutdown. Their death and infection rates are the same as Vermont’s or lower. They haven’t pointed a machine gun at their workers.

Many of the businesses still functioning, like Orvis in Sunderland, have cut their employees’ pay by 10% or more. Many will start layoffs soon. Orvis’s sales have plummeted.

Seventy thousand unemployed isn’t the end of the story. The federal relief programs will barely help. Unemployment benefits won’t pay all the bills. SBA money is difficult to get.

May I suggest all non-union state employees from the governor down take a pay cut pegged to the May unemployment rate, retroactive to March 15, when the shutdown was ordered. As Governor Scott said, everyone needs to sacrifice.

A pay cut for the governor, his commissioners, and every high-ranking, well paid bureaucrat will focus the mind. As if by magic, they’ll “be creative.”

Every politician, bureaucrat, and panic-peddling news outlet is already moving to the next war: the war to keep from looking like fools. We’re now in “cover your butt” and “finger pointing” mode. They will do and say anything to justify what they’ve done. They’re ginning up fear.

The CDC is telling states to goose the death numbers. Anyone who dies “with COVID-19” is a death “from COVID-19.” In New York, anyone dying from any respiratory illness is called a COVID-19 death, whether or not the dead’s been tested. Death certificates have to say “COVID-19 or the equivalent.” It’s doing it retroactively, too. Dr. Birx has said directly the dead are being “liberally counted.”

Vermont’s playing a gruesome numbers game, too. If a patient dies from respiratory failure or a flu-like ailment, the death is listed as “COVID-19 presumed,” no tests, no questions asked. That’s the new state directive.

Governor Scott is a nice guy. I voted for him twice. He needs to be more creative. Open Vermont now, Governor Scott. Or are you waiting to hit the 100,000 jobless jackpot? The buck stops with you.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Michael Bielawski/TNR
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27 thoughts on “Brian Allen: Gov. Scott fighting coronavirus with carpet bombing

  1. An interesting photograph showing just who Fauci is associated with as Gorden mentioned below. Note the PBS news people and the money.
    Here’s a short article and web site to view. The write-up and link
    Nothing to See Here, Just Dr. Fauci Hanging Out with His Friends
    https://www.factsnotmemes.com/articles/nothing-to-see-here-just-dr-fauci-hanging-out-with-his-friends/

    We saw this floating around social media and asked the judges for a ruling on it. They said, “Yeah, sure, it counts as a meme.”

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this photo says a lot about the sorts of people that Dr. Anthony Fauci hangs out with in his free time.

    Fauci is suddenly the most famous epidemiologist in the country due to the daily coronavirus briefings with President Trump. If you’ve had an uneasy feeling about Fauci for some reason, that’s probably just your Soros sense tingling (similar to a “Spidey sense,” but with more revulsion).

    Get a load of this group of globalist population control elite weirdos that Fauci is hanging out with here. David Rockefeller, George Soros, Bill Gates, Sr, Barbara Walters. Wow! You don’t even have to be a conspiracy theorist to think that this group is up to no good…

    If you want to know why Fauci is making insane recommendations like shutting down the entire economy for 18 months, vaccinating and microchipping everyone like we’re in “1984,” this photo – sorry, this meme – explains it. He’s just taking orders.

    Better identification:
    Part of the New World Order: Rockefeller, Soros, Gates Sr.,
    News Reporters: Woodruff (PBS) Brokaw (NBC), Walters (ABC), Moyers (PBS), Turner (CNN founder), McCllough (PBS),
    Annenberg (PBS financier), Aster (financial empire)
    ???: Diamond, Ramphele, Parsons, Fauci (adviser to the Covid-19 virus 2020)

    • Add this to your equation……Why are artists like Lady Gaga praising the WHO? Seriously, like all off Hollywood is suddenly experts on world affairs? Nope…they are, Hollywood is literally owned by China!

      Yup the NWO, WHO, UN, China….the whole lovefest of a one world government pull the strings, which explains all the intellectual arguments coming from those who read scripts so well. Yes….the handlers say……..post this, video this, write this, demonstrate this. And as good employees who are paid millions they comply and work to influence our public.

      Faucci recommended the “Trump Pill” a few years ago, now we hear nothing and our economy needs to be shut down, the world for 18 months at least! WHO does that benefit? (like the double entendre?) Just like Hollywood and the press hid Tiger Woods hound dog ways for years, they will hide the truth. It’s not like anyone could really be bothered with Tiger’s social life, but it was hound doggin’ to the ultimate extreme and he was presented as a model boy scout of impeccable manners and taste. Everybody close to him knew it, but it was hid from the world. And here is the media again.

      Is anybody reporting accurately or showing those countries that went a different route? Nope. What about countries having great result without locking down? Nope….

      Brrrrrrring, Brrrrrrrng, Brrrrrrrng. that’s our alarm clock, reminding us Americans to wake from our slumber……..take a look see what is going on!

  2. I’m thankful that the governor is listening to public health experts rather than art historians.

    • The governor is listening to the CDC and Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Fauci and company have selective hearing because they’re ignoring a whole slew of experts who say that the virus isn’t as lethal as we make it out to be and that our lock-down approach is wrong. Very recent news is of serological testing by some of the very experts from Stanford that Dr. Fauci and company have completely ignored so far, and what they find is that the number of infected cases is 50-85 times larger than we previously thought. Dr. Fauci and friends will say: “my goodness, all these aymptomatic people to infect us!” But the flip side of this is that more infected people as the denonimator over COVID deaths as the numerator means the case fatality rate is much, much lower than we thought, and brings it to around 0.1–0.2%, and that lands it squarely in the realm of a typical bad flu season. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.04.14.20062463v1

      Question: when is the governor going to start listening to the honest experts instead of the fear-mongers?

      • With all the ” infected cases is 50-85 times larger than we previously thought…” and the necessarily large corresponding number of “recovered” cases, where has there been any mention of increasing “herd immunity”? Or how about a correlation with seasonal flu deaths, which is normally a larger figure than waht has been reported (with inflated numbers) re the COVID19 plague.

        • Since asymptomatic infected cases are so large, this points to natural herd immunity as the way out of this. This is what Sweden is doing: children are going to school, healthy people are allowed to go to restaurants and even nightclubs, and the population is becoming infected and, consequently, is developing antibodies and herd immunity. Many people won’t even know they have the virus. Despite this and despite that the population of Sweden is greater than that of NYC, Sweden has 1/10 the deaths of NYC. There is really no other rational way out of this, as the option of continual lockdown or sporadic stop-start lockdown requires the implementation of a quasi-police state for enforcement, and we have no idea if or when a vaccine will become available. A vaccine only accomplishes what natural herd immunity does, and a vaccine is generally less robust than natural immunity. For a disease that leaves the vast majority of victims with either no symptoms or mild symptoms, a police-state solution is simply uncalled for and the lockdown should be lifted and all business should be allowed to open.

          A disease which we now know leaves most infected cases with mild or no symptoms is not the plague, not matter how many times the media tries to prove to us that it is.

          The first step to solving this as a nation is to fire Dr. Fauci, who’s doing nothing but fear-mongering this. Some common-sense and perspective, please! For a change.

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks to our Governor our numbers are very low and staying that way.

    • Just bc an ‘expert’ says something doesn’t make him right. Just bc one who is not an expert says something does not make him wrong. S/he’s right if it can be demonstrated, and expertise is in a scope is limited to their field. Experts are not always right – no one on the planet is lol. And experts disagree – we all do.

      Our gutless governor is *not* listening to ‘experts’ but accomplished serial frauds. Completely corrupt WHO head is a bureaucrat *not* an MD. CDC has sordid history. Fauci is also connected to Gates Foundation. Fauci-the-fraud is a foot-kissing Hillary supporter whose loveletters and Trump dissing are eyebrow raising.

      And under CDC ‘guidance’ all hospital patients are being diagnosed w/Wuhan Flu if they cough or sneeze. And anything that breathes or stops breathing also has Wuhan Flu.

      So are these the ‘experts’ you’re blindly following?

  3. Here is a link I’d like to keep alive, hoping it sheds light on what happens to a country when they keep open, Brazil.

    https://brazilian.report/coronavirus-brazil-live-blog/

    There’s the usual rhetoric, somebody is going to be responsible for these deaths!!! But you look further down and not too many people passed so far. Nobody wants to talk about , hey….up to a million people die each year from upper respiratory illness in the world….every year.

    Nobody was every to blame for those. Truth has a tough time seeing day light in todays world.

  4. Breaking news: COVID does not lead to ARDS, and we’re treating the wrong disease.

    Confirmation of this from several sources so far:

    A physician treating patients in NYC: https://www.hippocraticpost.com/covid-19-update/does-covid-19-really-cause-ards/

    An Intensive Care Specialist (but not a physician): https://www.hippocraticpost.com/covid-19-update/has-covid-19-had-us-all-fooled/?utm_source=website&utm_medium=webpush&utm_campaign=notifications

    The Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at a hospital: https://www.evms.edu/media/evms_public/departments/marketing__communications/EVMS_Critical_Care_COVID_19_Protocol__4_2_2020-revised.pdf

  5. No school? But are the teachers being paid? To do what, exactly? So this is what our property taxes go to. Nice!

    All state expenditures must be drastically cut. Now! Where is the logic of raising taxes to the unemployed? Residents will move out of Vermont, exacerbating the problem.

    We need American representation in Vermont!

    • Teachers are still teaching Jack. I agree with everything this article says but your comment is one made from misinformation or ignorance. Teachers were told they needed to implement an online course for all of their classes with little to no time to prepare. I can tell you, being married to a middle/high school educator, that wasn’t an easy task. It’s a work in progress but the students and student’s parents have been appreciative and say that it’s going pretty smooth and they their children are getting a good education still. That may not be the case in all school districts but to say that the teachers aren’t doing anything and should t be getting paid, shows a complete lack of knowledge on the subject and generalizes all educators into one pot.

      • I suspect we might see more on-line courses in the future and few teachers before this is over. — Its also the only way this state will survive economically.

  6. Brain Allen for governor!! Thank you!

    As Mr. Allen pointed out, the plain fact is that the models were wrong. Millions aren’t going to die in the US from this, as was first modeled. We know from facts on the ground that children are largely spared from this virus. We know that many healthy adults have mild symptoms or no symptoms. This isn’t modeled, this is what we know.

    There is no way to get over this virus except by acquiring herd immunity. This is our only option, and waiting for a vaccine isn’t an option: we have no idea how long a vaccine will take, we don’t know if we can even make one, and if and when we do make one we don’t know if that’ll be effective against COVID-20 or 21 or the next mutation of the virus. We have no choice: we have to go out and get exposed. Those who say that we don’t know if disease-induced antibodies are protective are talking out of both sides of their mouths, since the whole point of immunization is to create antibodies and it’s well-known that natural immunity is more robust than vaccine-induced immunity.

    Dr. David Katz, who is well-qualified in epidemiology, has recommended a tiered approach to COVID from the start, but his reasonable and practical solution is being ignored. Instead of shutting down the economy– which has its own health implications– Dr. Katz recommends that we allow healthy workers to work, we allow children to go to school, and we protect those most vulnerable. Most of the people who are out in society will get a mild form of the disease or be asymptomatic, although yes, some may die. But, no one is forced to go out, and the cost to the government of ensuring that those who want to isolate are able to would be far less that this system-wide bailout of virtually everyone.

    Katz recommends that Camp David be put to use to gather experts who would examine scenarios: if you have a multi-generational family with an immunocompromised child, what do you do? How do you handle that? Is that a case where the government spends resources to ensure protection? Are the working members of that group pulled and given separate housing? This is a targeted approach that does the least damage instead of carpet bombing. The interview that Dr. Katz gave should be seen by all of our policymakers, who need to come to their senses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK0Wtjh3HVA

    I don’t know who Dr. Fauci is a mouthpiece for, but it isn’t the voice of reason. We need to get out there; the overload of our hospital system isn’t happening, and word is that it isn’t even happening in NYC, despite media hype, since nurses are idle and doctors called out from retirement to help are still waiting for work. It’s simply not possible for NYC to have 11,000-some deaths from COVID while the whole of Japan has fewer than 200 and Sweden, where people are allowed to go out to nightclubs and children are going to school, and whose population is greater than NYC’s, has one-tenth the deaths of NYC.

    What about Italy? Italy has a high proportion of elderly, a high proportion of smokers, and northern Italy, where the most cases are, has the worst air pollution in Europe, all factors that exacerbate the lethality of respiratory viruses. In addition, Italy had been cutting down on its hospital beds for years so was ill-prepared for a disease outbreak. According to one Italian study, 99% of Italians who had coronavirus also had co-morbidities. There’s some concern that deaths in Italy, in NYC, and elsewhere are being inflated and assigned to COVID when they really don’t belong there. We need to get down to brass tacks and figure out what’s really happening, but even with such as simple task as determining what’s really happening with the deaths in NYC and London and Italy– is it really possible that the virus in those places is so much more lethal than the Japanese or Swedish versions?– we’re acting like bumbling incompetents who prefer stumbling around rather than tackling the problem head-on.

    • FULL on AGREEMENT! The part that is rearing it’s evil head is that “another command and control Country”, China, has run a campaign of lies about the causes and spreading of the virus, a “we didn’t do this” defense. An accident – maybe. Lies Catered to by the UN World Health Organization which China now owns and controls

    • The models were intentionally wrong, there lies the big problem. The death rate was the only reason to shut things down. If they wanted to get a handle on that, from the start they would have tested a large enough population to get a handle of how many people had it but were not effected to any degree.

      You may find that question missing in all the news.

      What we did have was the same roll out used to malign our police. That’s not since, that’s communism.

      • Friggin autocorrect, that’s not science that’s communism….

        It’s also easy to say things now, while I spoke up about virus early on, even I lost courage and thought I was wrong when so many people died a bit ago. I didn’t have access to as much information as possible.

        We closed our church before the state started shutting things down, canceled my best friends funeral and pastor do to concerns for everyone. After looking at the evidence it seemed clear it was a con, with our church being mostly above 80, even the flu might have been good reason to pause.for about a week or so I was doubting myself and admitted I may have been wrong about the virus.

    • And filled with hatred for Trump and supporters marching lockstep w/other Trump Deranged traitors to our state and nation attempting a takedown. Hate our POTUS more than they love us or our country.

  7. Oh Brian, I could not have said it better myself…except that I would compare Gov. Scott’s action more along the lines of “Blitzkrieg” rather than Attila the Hun, which I feel will be far more destructive for the economy.
    What business remained after the “Democrat Cleansing” (Act 250 & anti-industry/business, which based our entire state economy on Tourism) during the 1980’s may not survive “Phil’s Folly” of 2020.

    Common sense rather than hysteria should have dictated actions, facts verses fear should have been the action motivator… then again our Governor has been at the “Kool-Aid Fountain” for way too many years to have reacted in any other way but in true Democrat fashion.

  8. The scare-mongering fraud is so spectacular, and amazingly brazen. It is so in-your-face, the counting of “co-morbidity” as chinavirus deaths. I guess most people are so addled from the fluoride and adderall and TV, that it’s easier not to hide what they do, because it is so unbelievable, it goes right over most people’s heads, or at least they are counting on that. I think the main point is to crash the economy. It was so good, our president’s re-election would be a shoo-in. Now they can blame this mess on him, and hope they get back into power. And if they don’t, there will be hell to pay.

    Anybody see the photo, with Fauci and all the top globalists in one place? All the usual suspects are there, including Bilgates Sr., George $0r0$, Ted Tuner, David Rockyfellow
    Bill Moyers, and more. They have plans for us, which means the end of our way of life, and a technocratic dictator ship, a/k/a communism. We need to get back to work, otherwise we will be on welfare and dependent on these globalist demons.

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