American physicians: The healthiest people live in police states

The New England Journal of Medicine has endorsed Joe Biden (without mentioning him by name) in “Dying in a Leadership Vacuum”. Once we get over the shock that a group of physicians support the political party that made it illegal for Americans to refrain from purchasing insurance policies that make payments to physicians, what are these doctors/editors actually saying?

the United States leads the world in Covid-19 cases and in deaths due to the disease, far exceeding the numbers in much larger countries, such as China. The death rate in this country is more than double that of Canada, exceeds that of Japan, a country with a vulnerable and elderly population, by a factor of almost 50, and even dwarfs the rates in lower-middle-income countries, such as Vietnam, by a factor of almost 2000.

We know that we could have done better. China, faced with the first outbreak, chose strict quarantine and isolation after an initial delay.

This is consistent with what the Swedish MD/PhDs said, i.e., that lockdowns could work in a police state. But how was Donald Trump supposed to arrogate police state powers to himself? Supposedly, only state governors had the ability to terminate Americans’ First Amendment rights to assemble, terminate children’s rights to go to school, etc.

(Why cite Vietnam? Laos and Cambodia have had zero deaths! See “Vietnam miracle escape from Covid may be down to ‘natural immunity'” (Telegraph) for a report on Oxford professors poking into this question)

The unkindest cut of all:

Yet our leaders have largely chosen to ignore and even denigrate experts.

(But Trump can just say that he wants to follow the 15,000ish doctors and MD/PhDs who say that shutdown is the wrong policy. Sunetra Gupta, Oxford professor, doesn’t qualify as an “expert”? Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard, is not an “expert”?)

To minimize COVID-19 deaths, therefore, what we really need is a police state that can take dramatic muscular action unfettered by a written constitution. This reminds me of Looking at Covid-19 death rate is like the old saying “An economist is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?

Is asking an epidemiologist whether to keep schools and playgrounds open like asking your accountant whether you should buy a dog? Yes, the expert can give you a bit of insight (“my other clients with dogs spend $4,000 per year on vet, food, and grooming”), but not a life-optimizing answer.

In this, the NEJM simply ignores its own content, e.g., “The Untold Toll — The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without Covid-19” Shutting down every other part of society in order to focus on COVID-19 necessarily results in a lot of deaths. “The COVID-19 shutdown will cost Americans millions of years of life” (The Hill) takes a stab at calculating the cost.

Maybe this is a good window into what would have happened if technocrats had been allowed to run the White House!

(Separately, if you work at a hospital or medical school, one fun thing to do is listen for when a physician criticizes Donald Trump for trying to stem the tide of undocumented low-skill migrants. Most of these folks eventually end up on Medicaid and/or have children who are on Medicaid, thus becoming revenue sources for physicians. Then ask “Should a Swiss, German, French, English, or Taiwanese doctor who is fluent in English be able to come over here and practice?”)


8 thoughts on “American physicians: The healthiest people live in police states

  1. You know what Obama says: “If you like your police state, you can keep your police state!” With apologies to Toucan Sam and Jonathan Gruber.

    They don’t mention New York! Everything that happened in New York and is happening right now has been completely under the control of Andrew Cuomo, who has been regarded as a hero for his actions, even as he’s in the midst of shutting everything down there again. Are they going to do a second poster? He’s had total control over everything in New York!

    And it really does bear repeating, on the subject of police states and freedoms, because Nancy Pelosi is apparently getting ready to abort the constitution with her “25th Amendment Commission.” And nobody will know what Joe Biden thinks about packing the Supreme Court until after the election, maybe until President Harris is sworn in.

    • Haven’t we learned yet? A smooth talker, especially a politician, can convinced a group to jump off a cliff even when there is no safety net at the bottom of the cliff.

  2. Experts expertly proving themselves untrustworthy again. Why should we listen to experts that are bad about lying about the very things they are supposed to experts in?

  3. “Once we get over the shock that a group of physicians support the political party that made it illegal for Americans to refrain from purchasing insurance policies that make payments to physicians” … I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in this establishment!

  4. Everyone can rest easy. Foxborough, MA’s own singer JoJo has had one of her songs selected by the Biden campaign as their official anthem. She’s a white chick who sounds like a lot like every other R&B artist today (and there really isn’t any other category of music, is there?)

    “FOXBOROUGH, MA — Foxborough native and internationally-known pop star JoJo has pitched in her musical talent to help former Vice President Joe Biden get elected to the Oval Office.”

    I wonder what kind of change she thinks Biden is going to bring to Massachusetts, the state of 52 Governor’s Orders relating to COVID, which have destroyed the live music and concert scene here? Particularly when Ed Markey says that “The Age of Incrementalism is Over.” It sounds like Massachusetts isn’t in for any change, it’s in for a lot more of the same, full-speed ahead.

    Maybe JoJo should have written it: “I’m gonna be the same, the same the same. We’ll a lot more of the same, the same the same.”

    • Personally, I greatly prefer NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” – much better song, much better performance, not appropriated, and Ice Cube wasn’t screwing around with any of this softie “look into my heart” BS.

    • That was a million years ago, before #Science knew better and people were talking about forcing teachers, bus drivers, lunch ladies, janitors and administrators to commit suicide for Donald Trump.

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