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It is corrosive to public trust when those in charge issue harsh rules for you and me but those making the rules can ignore them when they wish.

The corrosion will undercut our democracy, create more distrust of politicians than already exists, erode respect for public health officials, and eventually undermine compliance with all government rules not just the silly ones.

We do not want any of that to happen.

I sincerely hope governors, federal health officials, elected county officials, and everyone in the public health world will quickly realize the damage they are causing and change their ways fast.

Is it possible to shout my warning any louder?

Today’s illustration of flaming hypocrisy is from the governor of California.

As I was composing the previous post, this story broke, which is a postcard-perfect illustration of corrosive leadership.

11/13/20 – San Francisco Chronicle – Newsom attended French Laundry party with more households than California advises during pandemic – California guidelines prohibit private gatherings with more than three households.

Such gatherings may only be outside.

You may allow guests to use the bathroom if you sanitize it regularly.

In spite of these requirements, the governor of California and his wife attended a dinner on 11/6/20 with at least 12 people with more than three households present. Neither the people involved nor the restaurant will say how many people were present nor how many households were represented.

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Every day there are fresh reports of the devastating impact from the shutdown of the economy. Damage is widespread. Impact is growing.

Just a few of the recent articles:

  • Early screening for cancer slowed down earlier, resulting in more serious cancers discovered now
  • People showing up for treatment have more advanced cancer
  • Wave of tenant evictions is on the horizon
  • State government budgets are collapsing
  • Freshman enrollment at colleges is down 16%

There is a severe cost to be paid from early mistakes and ongoing mistakes by a wide range of government officials.

 

Devastating impact from more serious cancers

10/15/20 – Wall Street Journal – Covid-19 Outbreaks Led to Dangerous Delay in Cancer Diagnoses – The closing of many health facilities meant regular screenings for cancer were not available for several months this past spring. Next, widespread panic kept people away from doctors’ offices. One insurance company reports the number of daily screenings for colorectal cancer dropped between 50% and 80% for about three months.

Only at the end of August was the number of screenings back to the normal amount compared to prior years.

The expected result?

A cancer care provider reports an increased number of patients are arriving with advanced stages of cancer.

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Summarized below are a few of the recent articles pointing to expanding economic damage from the shutdown. Destruction in the movie business is noticeable in recent days:

  • Second largest movie chain in the US closes all its theaters
  • Wonder Woman director worried the entire theater industry may die
  • Disney restructures in order to increase focus toward direct-to-consumer distribution channel and away from theatrical release
  • Sales tax collections in San Francisco collapse
  • Passenger cruise ships are getting scrapped

10/5/20 – Wall Street Journal – Regal Cinemas Suspending Operations at All US Locations – The chain with the second largest number of theaters in the U.S. has closed all of its US theaters after having reopened only two months ago. Article does not indicate when any of the theaters will be reopened.

Article says release dates for a dozen movies have been postponed.

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Parked airplanes idled by pandemic shutdown. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.
The bad news on the economy called for the shutdown just keeps growing but there is a hint of good news in the near future. First the good news. 9/30/20 – CNBC – US economy plunges 31.4% in the second quarter but a big rebound is expected – Commerce Department calculations of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter were revised, which is routine, dropping from an annualized contraction of 31.7% down just a little to 31.4% reduction in GDP. (more…)

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The number of new claims for unemployment for week ending 9/26/20 has been about the same over the last five weeks, in the mid- to high 800 thousands. Last big drop was the week of 8/29/20. To again put this in context, before the government induced shutdown of the economy new claims averaged about 220,000 per week.

Good  news is the number of continuing claims for unemployment is continuing to drop, which means that more people are going back to work than loosing their job.

The devastating impact of the economic shutdown continues to be painfully obvious.

New Graphs

Starting this week that way the information is presented for this ongoing analysis will be in graphs.

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View directly underneath Coronado Bridge shows the arches in the support towers. Photo by James Ulvog.

It is sad to personally observe the economic devastation from the shutdown.

We spent a few days in San Diego last week. Stayed at a hotel downtown near the harbor. Saw several things showing the severity of the economic damage.

Air travel

For quite a long time airplanes have not been allowed to leave San Diego International Airport until 6:30. It is funny to hear the first engine rev up a few seconds after 6:30 a.m.

I have noticed on previous vacations that there is a string of airplanes lined up ready to leave right at the stroke at 6:30. The planes take off approximately 1 minute apart.

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Education today. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Growing indications point towards ongoing damage to learning at all educational levels due to the shut down. From kindergartners to college students there will be losses of learning time and knowledge.

Older students will be able to catch up. Motivated students will get through. I fear youngsters in particular and unmotivated students in general will suffer permanent damage from the lockdown.

Consider all the damage described in the following articles is a result of a public policy choice made by a host of state and local officials.

The Dispatch – 9/10/20 – The sad realities of virtual learning. – Looks like kindergartners are disappearing from schools. Enrollment in Los Angeles Unified School District is down 14% from a year ago.

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The comment that shutting down the economy represents a trade-off of lives versus jobs is an invalid comparison.

The real trade-off from a shutdown is lives versus lives.

People are dying because of the shutdown. The shutdown is killing people.

It is time to open the economy.

I don’t have time to summarize all the articles I have read making this point. Here are just three examples.

The pandemic is killing dementia patients

Washington Post – 9/16/20 – Pandemic isolation has killed thousands of Alzheimer’s patients while families watch from afar – The Washington Post, the Post, studied data from CDC to identify there have been 13,200 excess deaths from Alzheimer’s and dementia since the shutdown started. Excess deaths are the extra deaths over the number that would otherwise be expected because of some particular situation.

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