A Journal of the Plague Year (32)

April 17, 2020

Internal Medicine reported the above under the heading “CDC: Risk in U.S. from 2019-nCoV remains low.” This from the FDA and the CDC: the “experts.” Experts are often wrong, sometimes hugely. Experts disagree with one another. Where does that leave the political leaders who have to make hard decisions?

In times like these nearly everyone is flying by the seat of their pants, so “listen to the experts” doesn’t really mean much, especially as the science they are relying on is uncertain, to say the least. Listening to the scientists is usually best practice, but they will be the first to say how uncertain everything is about the coronavirus right now.

Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in the US, during a briefing that day said:

“I understand that many people in the U.S. are worried about this virus and whether it will affect them,… Outbreaks like this are always concerning, particularly when a new virus is emerging. But we are well prepared and working closely with federal, state, and local partners to protect our communities and others nationwide from this public health threat. At this time, we continue to believe that the immediate health risk from this new virus to the general American public is low.”

Bad call.

That, by the way, was the day that President Trump initiated the US–China travel ban.

And in Canada, Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta is asking some important questions of the supposed experts in Canada—namely, Dr Theresa Tam, El Supremo of public health in Canada.  Recall what the chief bloviator Trudeau-the-Lesser said:

“We will recall that a number of weeks ago in the beginnings there was discussion of whether or not we should entirely close our borders to China the way the United States did,” said Trudeau in front of Rideau cottage, where he was self isolating.
“We did not. We were able to manage it in a way that allowed for control and a non spread of the virus that gives us confidence that our public health officials are giving us the right recommendations for Canada.”
That smug comment and dozens more like it previously from Trudeau, other ministers and Dr. Tam, were rendered absurd and nonsensical just three days later when Canada finally shut down it’s [sic] borders to all non-residents except Americans.”

So was Canada getting the best advice from the experts?

Too bad Canada wasn’t getting that. It was getting unexamined lies from China and the blocking of sound science from Taiwan. By the end of January, opposition members of parliament had the facts and wanted Canada to follow Taiwan’s lead. They were called fearmongers and worse for their efforts.

As Premier Kenney properly suggested, Dr. Tam’s job is not to swallow the propaganda of totalitarian states obsessed with saving face, but to investigate all of the pertinent information and then recommend policy to protect Canadians.

Since we now know that she was another shill for the Communist Chinese tyranny, Jason Kenney’s comments are all that more relevant. The silence from the “journalists” is deafening.

Not to be left behind in the race to greater absurdity, Mark Carney is excoriated by Terence Corcoran in the National Post. Carney, you may recall, lately of some lucrative gig in Britain, is now droning on about “macroprudentialism”, another half-witted attempt to explain the ineptitude of the chattering classes when faced with a real disaster. After failing to anticipate the 2008 financial meltdown, which anyone with gray matter between their ears instead of brown matter, could have foreseen, they now attempt to see the way forward after coronavirus.

…As the world sinks into lockdown and decline, one wonders why the whole macroprudential policy preparations, underway since the 2008 financial crisis and formally installed in 2016, so obviously failed to prepare for the financial stability shakeup brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are two explanations. One is that the whole financial stability-macroprudential effort is an international bureaucratic collection of agencies dedicated to the pursuit of meaningless bureaucratic interventions.
The second explanation is that the macroprudential apparatus, from the IMF through to the FSB and down, was hijacked by activists pushing climate change as the dominant systemic risk of our time.

Yes, climate change was the great cause for concern—one degree Fahrenheit possibly between now and 2100 AD. Suddenly, real things happen and they’re all at sea.

After trying to destroy Canada’s basic economic wealth in oil and gas, maybe, just maybe, the political establishment of Canada, bereft of any kind of common sense, may get some. One can but hope.

Corcoran concludes:

By promoting the risks of far-off climate change and ignoring the real financial and economic risks of a pandemic, the macroprudes got what they wanted by helping to usher in a global economic crisis they claimed to be attempting to prevent.

Right.

Rebel Yell