The recent COVID-19 scare

By Edward Achorn

My thanks to Andrew Bostom, M.D., a Brown associate professor, internist, and epidemiologist, for this latest chart of national COVID-19 deaths.

The revised numbers do display that, after deaths fell for 10 straight weeks, America underwent a slight and unnerving uptick earlier this month. The raw numbers, as of July 27, are HERE.

The recent turnaround prompted near-hysteria in the news media, leading to new and economically damaging lockdowns. Americans were terrified.

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COVID-19 and the panic narrative

By Edward Achorn

Many Americans remain terrified of COVID-19. The narrative of panic advanced by much of the news media fuels that feeling. In recent days, the focus has been on skyrocketing numbers of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

But there are very promising signs that the virus is burning itself out. After spiking earlier this year, death totals have fallen steadily — for 11 straight weeks, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control. While every death is sad, the curve reassuringly looks like charts of flu deaths in past years. Deadly viruses tend to strike hard, claim lives, and then mutate and weaken.

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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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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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