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There’s No Proof Killing The Economy Saves Lives

Grading our governors
The most important question about the Wuhan virus, and the panic its arrival in America caused, is whether destroying the economy with arbitrary and capricious government-imposed social distancing lockdowns actually mitigated the spread of the disease and reduced the death toll.

The evidence is growing that lockdowns did not have the kind of life saving effect that their advocates, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Democrat Governor of Virginia Dr. Ralph Northam, claimed they would.

Right now, six states, West Virginia, Oregon, New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky and California have indefinite lockdown orders. Pennsylvania and Virginia are closed into June and Illinois, Washington, New Hampshire, Maine, and Hawaii are closed at least through the end of the month of May.

In contrast, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas never issued a lockdown or mandatory business closure order.

And it will surprise no one to learn that all the states that never issued a lockdown or mandatory business closure order all have Republican Governors.

So, did the mostly Democrat Governors who shut down their states provide their citizens with better outcomes?

According to the latest statistics compiled by Statista.com of death rates from coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States (as of May 13, 2020) the answer appears to be no.

The states that never locked down and never imposed mandatory business closures have among the lowest death rates: Wyoming (1 per 100,000), Utah (2 per 100,000), South Dakota (4 per 100,000), North Dakota (5 per 100,000), Nebraska (5 per 100,000), Arkansas (3 per 100,000) and Iowa (9 per 100,000).

Of the indefinite lockdown states, West Virginia (3 per 100,000), Oregon (3 per 100,000), Kentucky (7 per 100,000) and California (7 per 100,000) fared better than Iowa, the open state with the highest per capita death toll of 9 per 100,000.

In summary the evidence that indefinite lockdowns have produced lower death rates simply isn’t there. And there’s a lot of evidence from states such as New York (140 per 100,000), New Jersey (107 per 100,000), Connecticut (85 per 100,000), and Michigan (47 per 100,000) that draconian lockdowns had no positive effect. What’s more in those states, like New York, that mandated that nursing homes accept COVID-19 patients they were a tragic disaster for the elderly.

So, with the evidence at best mixed, it is fair to ask, “Was it worth it?”

From an economic and personal perspective for those living in the indefinite lockdown states the answer is clearly no.

In California Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom says up to one-fourth of Californians could lose their jobs.

Unemployment claims as a percentage of the labor force in Kentucky, where Democrat Governor Andy Beshear has the state on indefinite lockdown have totaled about 33 percent, the highest level in the country, Fitch Ratings said in a report released last week.

In Maryland nearly a half-million people have filed for unemployment.

One of every 10 New Jersey residents have sought unemployment during coronavirus crisis.

In Oregon unemployment, at 362,000, is twice that of the Great Recession.

“I estimated that the unemployment rate in West Virginia was going to jump to 15 percent when we get an official reading,” John Deskins, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at WVU said. “I think it may be even higher than that. I think it’s safe to say it’s going to be 15 percent or more when the data comes out fully.” “The speed at which this jump occurred was completely unprecedented,” Deskins said. “Never ever have he had a jump from five percent to 15 percent in a matter of just two to three weeks.”

In contrast to those dire unemployment numbers, the unemployment rate in the open states, while it rose, remains in single digits as of this writing.

We urge CHQ readers and friends to read Grading Our Governors: A Report Card on Reopening States' Economies and if your Governor has not earned an “A” or a “B” to call him or her to demand that the economy of your state be reopened.

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