Here is the link to the NYT article I just quote: "Trump Says Coronavirus
Cure Cannot ‘Be Worse Than the Problem Itself’

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]>

> 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
> <>.
> tweeted <> in
> all capital letters shortly before midnight. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY
> 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:
>> <>
>> 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:
>>> <>
>>> "Herd Immunity" is Epidemiological Neoliberalism
>>> On March 19, 2020
>>> <>
>>> By isabelfrey
>>> <>
>>> 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
>>> <>,
>>> the Netherlands
>>> <>and
>>> Sweden
>>> <>
>>> 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
>>> <>
>>> 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]
>>> <>
>>> 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