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Here is the link to the NYT article I just quote: "Trump Says Coronavirus
Cure Cannot ‘Be Worse Than the Problem Itself’
<https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/us/politics/trump-coronavirus-restrictions.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage>
"

The president, who has watched the economy plunge amid social distancing
measures, says restrictions will be reassessed.

On Mon, Mar 23, 2020 at 12:01 PM Kamran Nayeri <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> What Friedman suggested in his column yesterday is now Trump
> administration new tack.  According to today's NYT:
>
> President Trump on Sunday night said that the government would reassess
> the recommended period for keeping businesses shut and millions of workers
> at home after this week, amid millions of job losses caused by the efforts
> to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus
> <https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/world/coronavirus-news.html>.
>
> “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Mr. Trump
> tweeted <https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1241935285916782593> in
> all capital letters shortly before midnight. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY
> PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!” (caps in
> the original)
>
> Friedman is very much a voice for neoliberalism among the NYT columnists.
> A Centerist Democrat he voices pro-business market-based solution to just
> about anything.
>
> In the coming days, this debate will become central--to abide by public
> health rules or to abide by market rules.
>
> Best,
>
> Kamran
>
> On Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 6:11 PM Mary Gray <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
>> So would I. As Box said, all models are wrong , some are useful. If only
>> we were sure which ones.
>>
>> Sent from my iPhone
>>
>> On Mar 22, 2020, at 9:03 PM, Chandler Davis <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>> 
>>
>> *External Email:* Use caution with links and attachments.
>> I don't think it is as closely reasoned a piece as it pretends, but I
>> don't see that it is by Friedman, and I don't think it quite says the same
>> as isabelfrey attributes to Boris Johnson.  Would like to hear from some
>> proponent of whatever is actually being done in the Netherlands & Sweden.
>> Chandler
>>
>>
>> On 2020-03-22 7:53 p.m., Kamran Nayeri wrote:
>>
>> It seems to me that is what some in the U.S. are proposing. See
>> Friedman's column in the NYT today:
>>
>>
>> https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/20/opinion/coronavirus-pandemic-social-distancing.html?referringSource=articleShare
>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.nytimes.com_2020_03_20_opinion_coronavirus-2Dpandemic-2Dsocial-2Ddistancing.html-3FreferringSource-3DarticleShare&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=QLIhGvdKObZpj4WSIdJi_SVMKV7LSGDK2zmF9HwuNcw&e=>
>>
>> On Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 4:13 PM Michael Goldhaber <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> And Italy’s previously excellent medical care system has apparently been
>>> severely short-changed budget-wise since 2008.
>>>
>>>
>>> Best,
>>>
>>> Michael
>>>
>>> On Mar 22, 2020, at 3:21 PM, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> https://thequarantimes.wordpress.com/2020/03/19/herd-immunity-is-epidemiological-neoliberalism/
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__thequarantimes.wordpress.com_2020_03_19_herd-2Dimmunity-2Dis-2Depidemiological-2Dneoliberalism_&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=ueU6Qr9h6tq-VqyrDensOXp79Suh01e1_gMISbbN1-w&e=>
>>> "Herd Immunity" is Epidemiological Neoliberalism
>>> On March 19, 2020
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__thequarantimes.wordpress.com_2020_03_19_herd-2Dimmunity-2Dis-2Depidemiological-2Dneoliberalism_&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=ueU6Qr9h6tq-VqyrDensOXp79Suh01e1_gMISbbN1-w&e=>
>>> By isabelfrey
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__thequarantimes.wordpress.com_author_isabelfrey_&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=wufUpikRRDzlmYSUO12w5KfMG13PhLy79D_eplY8XGg&e=>
>>>
>>> While most European countries are preparing for lock-downs to stop the
>>> spread of the coronavirus, a few countries are opting for a different
>>> strategy: herd immunity. Instead of testing as many people as possible and
>>> implementing measures to increase social distancing, they want to
>>> purposefully let the virus spread among people who are at low risk, so that
>>> a large part of the population becomes immune. This approach was first
>>> proposed by UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson, who refused to implement
>>> social distancing measures until a few days ago. While the UK has officially
>>> distanced itself from this strategy
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.theguardian.com_world_2020_mar_16_new-2Ddata-2Dnew-2Dpolicy-2Dwhy-2Duks-2Dcoronavirus-2Dstrategy-2Dhas-2Dchanged&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=3B1c-9xDqodDIyOmxGNgtY8Pu2wkZ4q9wFzbIW3Whtc&e=>,
>>> the Netherlands
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.irishtimes.com_news_world_europe_coronavirus-2Ddutch-2Dadopt-2Dcontroversial-2Dherd-2Dimmunity-2Dstrategy-2D1.4204578&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=cIsy4DBOuRov3KmbR9yqQOM1wX-tqstXlCv4QQxbRkg&e=>and
>>> Sweden
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.di.se_nyheter_strategin-2Dlata-2Dsa-2Dmanga-2Dsvenskar-2Dsom-2Dmojligt-2Dsmittas_-3Ffbclid-3DIwAR2nW7sO3z326O2YBrw9Ij9Nny3pzvWVLNCtuOHMh6x6gTiiTPMlO33CIZs&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=BZXE83KzNp-QU6a2e5Vb6bPqaJS1SWNa3S45liisMVU&e=>
>>> continue to hold on to this approach, despite harsh criticism by the WHO.
>>>
>>> These countries argue that building herd immunity is the only long-term
>>> strategy for dealing with the virus, since the epidemic can no longer be
>>> contained and could always resurge again. Instead of putting the entire
>>> country under lockdown, only at-risk populations should be put into
>>> quarantine while the epidemic keeps spreading. However, countless
>>> epidemiologists and virologists have criticized the strategy for being
>>> risky, unscientific and likely to result in a high death toll. A recently
>>> published report
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.imperial.ac.uk_media_imperial-2Dcollege_medicine_sph_ide_gida-2Dfellowships_Imperial-2DCollege-2DCOVID19-2DNPI-2Dmodelling-2D16-2D03-2D2020.pdf&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=WJHoRDIXuLa0cBh1BZ9hzZjS9UI3lnH8_SYf8TyCjCo&e=>
>>> by the Imperial College London, which led to the change in UK government
>>> policy, estimated the strategy to result in 250,000 deaths in the UK. Since
>>> it is not possible to effectively isolate at-risk populations, especially
>>> when the virus keeps spreading, the health care system is likely to become
>>> overwhelmed and at risk of completely collapsing.
>>> Epidemiological Neoliberalism
>>>
>>> Why would a country like the UK even consider such a risky strategy, and
>>> why are other countries still following this approach? The reason is
>>> neoliberalism. Since the 1980s, we have been governed by the political
>>> paradigm of neoliberalism, which has replaced state-led social policy with
>>> privatization and deregulation of the market. Its belief in the inherent
>>> justice of the market has led to a political rationale, which literally
>>> puts profit before people. And it has colonized peoples’ minds by making
>>> them believe it is their fault if they are poor, precarious or unemployed.
>>>
>>> The irony of neoliberalism is that it creates the illusion of social
>>> mobility, while reinforcing and even deepening social inequality. It
>>> assumes that if anyone can “make it” in a free market, it must be peoples’
>>> own fault if they are poor. But this belief is not only wrong, it is also
>>> violent. Neoliberalism has resulted in the rich getting richer, and the
>>> poor suffering more from disenfranchisement, precariousness and dependency.
>>> What might seem like laissez-faire policy, is a refined and complex system
>>> of automated structural violence against the weak, which also shatters any
>>> possibilities of resistance.
>>>
>>> Herd immunity is epidemiological neoliberalism. Much like the
>>> unconditional belief in the free market, herd immunity relies on the
>>> assumption that an epidemic is best overcome by leaving it unregulated. But
>>> just like neoliberalism, it results in violence against the weak and the
>>> poor: elderly and disabled people, homeless people, refugees and people
>>> with severe health conditions – many of whom are likely to also have a
>>> lower socio-economic status because of the correlation between poverty and
>>> illness. These are the people, who are at the highest risk of dying from
>>> COVID-19 – especially if the healthcare system is overwhelmed and doctors
>>> have to perform triage.
>>> Crumbling Welfare States
>>>
>>> It is no coincidence that it was the UK and the Netherlands, two of the
>>> most neoliberal countries in Europe, which advocated for this approach.
>>> These countries have spent the past decades implementing policies that
>>> privilege economic over social interests, and systematically defunded
>>> healthcare, education and housing. Opting against economically-harmful
>>> lockdown measures fits perfectly into their political rationale. Sweden,
>>> however, is a more puzzling case: it is a country which is internationally
>>> acclaimed for its good social policy and generous welfare state. But even
>>> an archetypical social democracy like Sweden has not been immune to
>>> neoliberal policy. Like most European countries, its welfare state has
>>> systematically been dismantled in the past decades.
>>>
>>> The biggest challenge of the corona-epidemic is “flattening the curve”,
>>> so that the capacities for critical and intensive care are not overwhelmed.
>>> But these three countries already have such low capacities for critical
>>> care, that they wouldn’t suffice even with strict lockdown measures. The UK
>>> and the Netherlands only have about half the capacity of Italy of critical
>>> care beds per capita. And Sweden, the supposedly best welfare state in
>>> Europe, has even less than half.
>>> [image: Numbers of critical care beds corrected for size of population
>>> (per 100,000 inhabitants) for European countries]
>>> https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Numbers-of-critical-care-beds-corrected-for-size-of-population-per-100-000-inhabitants_fig1_229013572
>>> <https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.researchgate.net_figure_Numbers-2Dof-2Dcritical-2Dcare-2Dbeds-2Dcorrected-2Dfor-2Dsize-2Dof-2Dpopulation-2Dper-2D100-2D000-2Dinhabitants-5Ffig1-5F229013572&d=DwMDaQ&c=U0G0XJAMhEk_X0GAGzCL7Q&r=jCDVB0J3ONp68e-Ea4TyzUSnyxl__y-QL3d1HIvqXJU&m=zalSHd_Kh6BJOOCc0bY3_h7BVO9wTGiH_HAgnhz0bxw&s=3lv0Lw81IbpMGKkYk3pmodapfu7Dk8j8BDcwAz2GTDY&e=>
>>>
>>> If these countries wanted to prevent their capacities from being
>>> overwhelmed, they would have had to act a long time ago. But that ship has
>>> already sailed. Enforcing strict lockdown measures would not only put the
>>> economy under strain, but would also expose the crumbling health system
>>> from decades of neoliberal policy. Opting for herd immunity allows
>>> governments to blame the failure of the health system on the virus, rather
>>> than on bad governance. Just like individual poor people can be blamed for
>>> not trying hard enough, individual sick people can be blamed for not
>>> following quarantine measures. It doesn’t matter whether its nature, fate,
>>> or one’s own fault – as long as it’s not the government which is held
>>> accountable for peoples’ deaths.
>>>
>>> Herd immunity is not just bad science or bad policy. It is biological
>>> warfare. Many people will die because of it, and governments won’t take
>>> responsibility for it. But this strategy did not appear from nowhere. It is
>>> a logical continuation of the political rationale that has governed the
>>> world for the past decades, taken to an extreme as a laissez-faire social
>>> darwinism. Because people who trust in an unregulated market will also
>>> trust in an unregulated epidemic – even if it kills.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>> --
>> Kamran Nayeri
>>
>>
>>
>
> --
> Kamran Nayeri
>


-- 
Kamran Nayeri