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by Jeffrey T. Kuhner
Government reaction to the coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most insane overreactions in U.S. history.
The results have been catastrophic—and utterly unnecessary: an economic collapse, nearly 20 million Americans put on the unemployment rolls in three weeks, skyrocketing deficits and debt, and the suspension of basic civil liberties and the Constitution.
From New York to Massachusetts to California, governors and mayors have imposed draconian measures, shelter-in-place orders and sweeping economic shutdowns. The goal is to mandate “social-distancing” policies designed to curb and fight the COVID-19 outbreak.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered all “non-essential” businesses be closed, such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, factories and corporate offices. He has even banned all public gatherings of more than 25 people. Churches, synagogues and mosques have been shuttered; public protests and rallies are illegal; residents are banned from attending playgrounds, gyms, and public basketball and tennis courts; and strict social-distancing restrictions are being placed on people and couples walking, running or exercising outside. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has gone further: He has issued an advisory instituting a curfew from 9:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., as well as demanding that all residents wear masks when going outside their homes or apartments.
It’s no accident that Baker, a RINO Republican, and Walsh, a leftist Democrat, are collaborating in imposing such radical and extreme measures. This is happening all over the country. It is a fundamental assault by our political class upon the First Amendment and our Bill of Rights, such as religious freedom, freedom of association and assembly, and freedom of movement. In fact, this is the greatest violation and suspension of our civil liberties since the Civil War.
And for what? To allegedly combat the coronavirus epidemic that we now know was based on a pack of lies and badly flawed data. Governors and mayors—Baker, Walsh, Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, Gavin Newsom—used as justification for their lockdown orders computer models that predicted 2.2 million Americans would be killed from the COVID-19 outbreak. The media establishment, desperate to tank the economy in order to defeat President Trump in November, recklessly and irresponsibly spread the misinformation through saturation coverage. Most Americans became convinced they were facing a potential viral genocide. They were the victims of mass fear-mongering, panic and hysteria.
The reality, however, has been very different. Dr. Anthony Fauci and his sidekick, Dr. Deborah Birx, then revised their projections. They claimed that, if Americans “did everything perfectly” in terms of adhering to social distancing guidelines, the number of deaths would be “100,000-240,000.” Now, Fauci and Birx say the total death toll is likely to be under “60,000.” In other words, the number of U.S. victims in a bad flu season.
This is not only immoral, but criminal. Fauci, Birx and our corrupt political and media elites disseminated false, bogus information, which has led to disastrous consequences. In particular, they relied on computer models, not actual data and hard scientific evidence.
Moreover, the deeply flawed models came from two places—the Imperial College in London and the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). The Imperial College is notorious for being a hotbed of leftist (and anti-American) orthodoxy, over the years pushing computer models on climate change that were badly and consistently wrong. The IHME was using a model whose assumptions were based on the population density and demographics of New York City but applied to the entire country. In short, the IHME projected death tolls assuming all of America was one giant New York—absurd and ridiculous. The media and political leaders, and especially Fauci and Birx, had no business citing or relying on either of these models.
The damage, however, has been done. Americans are petrified. Our constitutional liberties have been suspended. And our economy is imploding. The national shutdown has led to an economic and social crisis. Tens of millions are jobless; poverty and hunger are starting to become rampant; and countless businesses have gone bankrupt—never to come back. We are sliding towards a new Great Depression. The Federal Reserve warns that, if the shutdown lasts for a few more months, the unemployment rate could hit as high as 30 percent. This would exceed anything ever seen in the 1930s.
Trump is right. The cure is worse than the disease. The response to the coronavirus outbreak has been the greatest self-inflicted wound in history. Instead of adopting a moderate Sweden-style approach—one that combines personal responsibility and aggressive voluntary social distancing with quarantining the elderly and those suffering from immunity-deficiency issues while keeping the larger society and economy open—our elites have chosen authoritarian measures and economic amputation.
This needs to end. The sooner, the better.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is host of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston. His daily show airs 6-10 am EST. He can be reached at: