One of the finest achievements of American cinema, Team America: World Police, features a group of heroes who have one yardstick for determining success or failure: the number of terrorists killed. The movie opens with the team declaring victory over a small group of jihadis in Paris. They’re satisfied with their results, but the citizens of Paris are unhappy about all of the city’s monuments being destroyed.
Now that our cities are in ruins, I’m wonder if the same logic has been applied in 2020 regarding coronaplague. Americans now care about one thing only: the number of people killed by Covid-19. It doesn’t matter how old or sick these people were before coronavirus got them. Every life that can be saved from Covid-19 is worth an unlimited amount of (a) deaths due to withheld non-Covid health care, (b) family and life destruction due to unemployment, poverty, and kids kicked out of school and imprisoned in small apartments with a miscellaneous collection of adults (“Fewer than half (46%) of U.S. kids younger than 18 years of age are living in a home with two married heterosexual parents in their first marriage.”), (c) dollars borrowed that the children being denied educations, playgrounds, and friends will have to pay back, etc.
Isn’t it the same in Europe, you might ask? No! They took a more balanced approach. Yes, coronaplague was bad, but as soon as they figured out that schools weren’t primary drivers of plague, they reopened their schools (except in Sweden, where the schools never closed). Maybe the Europeans will suffer a handful of additional Covid-19-tagged deaths are a result, but they are looking at more than a single number to measure how their nations are doing. How about India? A brief lockdown followed by a swift reopening. Brazil? “sorry for all the dead, but that’s everyone’s destiny.” (even Trump can’t say stuff like this!)
Readers: Was Team America prescient regarding our national tunnel vision? We have a slightly lower death rate nationwide compared to Sweden (where I live in Massachusetts, though, the death rate is more than 2X never-shut Sweden’s, as we enter Month 4 of shutdown).