Coronavirus facts argue against fears

By Edward Achorn

We are learning that COVID-19, while deadly, is much less deadly than originally feared. Moreover, it cruelly targets the elderly and those with serious health conditions, while tending to leave the young and healthy alone.

Whether the public knows that is another matter.

Rhode Island internist and epidemiologist Andrew Bostom, using the federal Centers for Disease Control’s “most likely case scenario” data  (published on May 21), has calculated that the infection fatality ratio of COVID-19 is 0.20% to 0.27%. The ratio for the 1957-1958 Asian flu was a comparable 0.26%, but nobody dreamed of shutting down the American economy back then.

Citing a British statistical analysis, Dr. Bostom also argues that a child under 15 in the United Kingdom is four times more likely to die from a lightning strike than from COVID-19.

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The lessons of Memorial Day 2020

By Edward Achorn

The coronavirus crisis has had many depressing effects. One is that it has underscored that many Americans do not seem to understand their basic rights, the nature of their Constitution and how their government works.

Unless Americans reconnect with how this country is supposed to work, and why it remains a beacon of hope to oppressed people around the world, it is hard to see how our freedoms will survive.

An understanding of history is a crucial part of that, because it informs us of the nature of most human societies, and how rare and magnificent our blessings are.

History also acquaints us with the cruel cost of protecting these freedoms. This weekend we mark Memorial Day. Barbecues and sunshine are part of the celebration, even in this grim year, but the day is really about those who laid down their lives to preserve this country.

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We didn’t close America in 1957-1958

By Edward Achorn

I was born in 1957. That’s me at the piano — late that year, I think — with my older sisters Susan (middle) and Nancy.

That fall, a deadly flu was tearing through America.

It ended up killing some 116,000 Americans — in a country that, with 170 million people, had about half the population of today’s America.

Even using inflated numbers, about 95,000 have died so far from the coronavirus, by comparison.

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Illinois, Rhode Island the most restrictive states

By Edward Achorn

A new survey by Wallet Hub, based on data gathered Monday, concludes that the most restrictive states (and the District of Columbia) for coronavirus lockdowns are (in order):

51. Illinois

50. Rhode Island

49. District of Columbia

48. Massachusetts

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The courts, the Constitution and the coronavirus

By Edward Achorn

Another judge has ruled that Americans live in a constitutional republic — virus or no virus.

The Associated Press reported: “A judge in rural Oregon on Monday tossed out statewide coronavirus restrictions imposed by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, saying she didn’t seek the Legislature’s approval to extend the stay-at-home orders beyond a 28-day limit.

“Baker County Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff issued his opinion in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by 10 churches around Oregon that argued the state’s social-distancing directives were unconstitutional.”

Governors may use emergency powers to issue edicts — specifically to protect the public — but in most cases only for a limited time. That is because, in America, power is supposed to reside in the people.

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Are coronavirus lockdowns running into the Constitution?

By Edward Achorn

History shows us — and the coronavirus episode has confirmed — that constitutional rights have no force unless the people get behind them.

For these rights to function, politicians must uphold the Constitution, which they take an oath to defend as a requirement for assuming the powers of office.

In addition, courts must sometimes be called into action, and then adjudicate in favor of constitutional protections.

Most of all, Americans must jealousy guard their rights if they hope to retain them.

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Books we’re reading to get us through the lockdown

By Edward Achorn

With the coronavirus keeping people in more than usual, bookstores have been promoting lists of books that offer an escape from the tedium of being indoors.

I’m grateful that my new book, Every Drop of Blood, has appeared on several.

Gee Gee Rosell, writing for Buxton Village Books in the Island Free Press, chose Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as its top non-fiction book during the lockdown.

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