Karen visits a Florida theme park

This is a quote from a friend’s Facebook post, but I am not going to use the WordPress Quote style because it will be easier to read if not in italics. The names have been changed. The author is a professor who lives in a Biden- and Fauci-supporting town. Any similarities to Confessions are purely coincidental… (and let me just state for the record that the author is a far smarter and nicer person that I have ever been!)

I’ve made what might have been the single worst error of judgment in my 40 years of life. If any good will come of it, it’s only in the confession and warning that I now feel morally compelled to give my friends.

One month ago, my 8-year-old daughter [Alice], who just finished the Harry Potter series, begged to go to Universal Studios in Orlando over Christmas break to see their Harry Potter park. It seemed like a good time: Alice (and her 4-year-old brother [Robert]) hadn’t enjoyed any trip of this kind since before the pandemic, Alice at last would finally be vaccinated, [wife] and I had just gotten our booster shots, Delta was in retreat, and covid numbers were actually extremely low in Florida. Plus we figured it would be mainly outdoors, and we’d mask, and [wife] found a website claiming it wouldn’t be very crowded on the dates we wanted to visit.

So I plunked down a few grand for (non-refundable) tickets. And then, literally the next day, we learned about the Omicron variant from South Africa. And to my eternal shame, I didn’t cancel the trip, despite my understanding of exponential growth. I couldn’t bear to face my daughter and tell her she wasn’t going after all, nor could I bear to face my family and tell them the planning and money were all wasted.

So now we’re here. And the reality is: it’s crowded as hell — one of the most unpleasant, sardine-packed places I’ve ever experienced in my life, before or during covid. The majority of guests (and even many employees) are unmasked. It’s mostly indoors. For every single ride, you stand for more than an hour in cramped, enclosed waiting areas while hordes of unmasked people breathe on you. It’s obviously an Omicron superspreader site. Indeed, the chances that one or more of us caught it today are EXCEEDINGLY high. Plus … it’s not even fun, like Disney World is. It sucks. Just endless lines, crowds, ripoffs, and uninspired rides.

Many of the rides play jokey recorded audio messages about how the ride is so terrifying, how much danger you’re in, phew you survived it, etc. etc. All those messages now take on new, unapproved meanings.

From the minute we arrived, I started saying “we have to leave this place, we have to leave, WE HAVE TO LEAVE NOW” — and yet, I’m ashamed to say, it took us 5+ hours to do so. I kept deferring to the … err … majority vote among my family, that we shouldn’t make a TOTAL loss of this trip, and surely we can find something here that’s relatively covid-safe?

Our mistake did, at least, give me perhaps my first opportunity of this entire pandemic to stare directly into the heart of the half of the country for which the virus might as well not be real — and I found the view absolutely terrifying, and it’s given me a new, visceral understanding for how we managed to lose 800,000+ Americans, and that understanding will stay with me as long as I live.

I’m sorry to everyone for whom I was a bad example. I’m sorry to everyone who my family might have endangered. Please learn from our mistake.

In the meantime, do any of my friends have suggestions for what to do for the rest of this trip? (Where one possibility is, “take the next flight back to [cozy Deplorable-free university town] and never look back”?)

ADDED: [wife] wanted me to emphasize how Universal Studios is endangering lives for greed, by packing people way, WAY more densely than can possibly be safe.

Alice [the 8-year-old], alone among us, actually enjoyed the park (!) and wants to return to it tomorrow.


Thus endeth the Confessions of Karen. The Confessions of Greenspun begins here…

I’ve made what might have been the single worst error of judgment in what feels like nearly 100 years of life. If any good will come of it, it’s only in the confession and warning that I now feel morally compelled to give my friends. I purchased an annual pass to Legoland Florida (Winter Haven, just south of Orlando) and we decided to visit during the beginning of the two-week Florida Christmas school vacation.

The park is nowhere near as crowded as Disney (think suburban shopping mall on a Saturday versus Times Square on a Friday night), but we didn’t know what to expect so I paid up for the $90/day skip-the-lines band ($60/day during non-peak periods). Unlike Professor Karen’s experience at Universal, above, we found that we almost never needed to be indoors to enjoy Legoland. Most of the lines, which we skipped in any case, were outdoors. The park recommends masks when indoors, but the core customer base seems to be Floridians and therefore hardly any of the visitors were masked, indoors or out.

Our 6-year-old loved the water ski show so much that Senior Management needed to sit through two repeats.

If you thought that COVID-19 was bad, it is only because you haven’t been on Mia’s Riding Adventure. “Many of the rides play jokey recorded audio messages about how the ride is so terrifying, how much danger you’re in, phew you survived it, etc.,” said Professor Karen (above). If I could take over as dictator of the U.S. and thus were able to force Legoland to install such a message, it would start with “How much would you enjoy it if your first horse ride were as a jockey in the Kentucky Derby at 37 mph?” and then note that the ride was best suited for those who booked all of their coast-to-coast flights on the Vomit Comet. (Recommendation: Try the Dragon rollercoaster, which is not too violent and which starts with a flat slow tour through some fun LEGO scenery.)

The San Francisco miniature is not consistent with Reading list: San Fransicko. There wasn’t a single homeless encampment on any of the LEGO sidewalks. There was no open-air drug market.

Miami Beach without a traffic jam of Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, and Ferraris?

If you split your time between 12th Street and Haulover beaches, this might be the souvenir to bring home:

(One of my worst days since moving to Florida was at clothing-optional Haulover beach. Everything was awesome until some wag called Marine Mammal Rescue and they showed up at my blanket with a whale sling.)

Not every visitor was Deplorable. Here is a fully masked family:

They’re walking by a bust of a notorious racist (also known for popularizing Mileva Marić‘s explanations of the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, and conversion of matter into energy) made out of 500,000 Duplo bricks.

Short summary of my friend’s theme park experience and our own family’s: I’m not surprised that Floridians, who never entered the Covid Olympics and therefore don’t care which medal they win, show up to parks. But I am surprised that anyone who supported school closures, mask orders, and other Covid-related restrictions will show up (this is about half of Americans, so the parks should be at least half empty!). And I am truly shocked that the federal government allows the parks to remain open (also, the Super Bowl; why?). From Disney World during Code Orange coronapanic (September 2021):

(According to #Science, COVID-19 is a sufficiently serious public health issue that schools have been closed (for 1.5 years in our big cities) and/or children are made to wear masks 7 hours per day while also forgoing normal interaction (American kindergarten is now set up more like high school detention; kids must sit at their individual desks and not get close to other kids… while also wearing masks). If we are losing life years, contrary to Social Security and life insurance financials, the only sensible #Science-informed policy would be a presidential order shutting down all American theme parks. Pulling together 200,000+ people per day at Disney World (all four parks combined) means pulling together people in airliners (most of the folks we met had flown there), in restaurants, in hotels, etc. Even if they don’t get infected while on a roller coaster, they’re a lot more likely to get infected than if they’d stayed home, which remains the best demonstrated method of cutting one’s infection/transmission risk (our best vaccines can cut infection/transmission in half right now?). As a society we’ve determined that it makes sense to deny an education to millions of children if just one life can be saved. Shouldn’t the same logic apply to theme parks? If child can wait 1.5 years to learn, why can’t adults and children wait until the pandemic is over to ride a roller coaster?)

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32 thoughts on “Karen visits a Florida theme park

  1. So much light and clarification from our liberal better, the high priest of science. Now I understand that all octogenarian deceased nursing home inhabitants are not because Gov. Cuomo and other blue state governors released infected patients from COVID hospital wards into nursing homes but because of children visiting amusement parks.
    And this beautiful confession will look good on first page of Pravda (sorry, NYT) when troika tribunals of Faucists will convict this right slacker guilty of being traitor to the faucist revolution to long stay in GULAG. That what the beautiful prose reminds me of, of self-confessions of true bolsheviks as were published in show trials reports in Pravda during Stalin purges.

  2. I’m aware that we live in an age of elaborate self-criticisms, but if Alice enjoyed the trip and both children got a glimpse of normal life, I’d say: mission accomplished!

    Queues in parks could be avoided if every visitor were accompanied by a government minder, who would have a GPS device connected to a central ride-planning computer. The minder would rush people to the appropriate locations. Everyone would be safely distanced.

    I’m not sure why the theme parks get preferential treatment. Under Trump I assumed that the revenue for Florida was the reason. Under Biden I assume that Disney etc. are quite party-compliant in the movies they produce.

    • Regarding children, the Pravda now publishes counterrevolutionary articles:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/04/briefing/american-children-crisis-pandemic.html

      “For the past two years, Americans have accepted more harm to children in exchange for less harm to adults.”

      My theory is that it is known that Omicron is less dangerous, the Democrats instruct mainstream to prepare the population slowly for this horrible news, gradually reopen everything and in 6 months will take credit for having vanquished COVID-19. At that time Omicron will be declared another version of the common cold.

    • Anon: Thanks for the NYT link. It is a strange article because it lumps together children from all 50 states and implies that they have had a common experience. Probably the article is correct regarding kids in New York, Massachusetts, California and other slave states. But I don’t see why it would be true of children in the free states, e.g., Florida, where the interruption in schooling was short and playgrounds, etc., were back to normal within a couple of months. Anyone who disagrees with the policies within a slave state is free to move to a free state and vice versa. I’m not sure why the NYT assumes that every child is doomed to suffer the shutdown culture of his/her/zir/their local school.

    • philg: Yes, the NYT cannot possibly mention superior policies in Texas/Florida! If my theory of preparing the masses for a policy reversal is correct (starting slowly with the “think of the children” argument), Democrats will do more reopenings in time for the midterm elections. If Omicron plays along, they’ll take all credit and denounce Trump as a racist for closing borders in January 2020.

      (If Omicron doesn’t play along, the summer spikes in the Southern countries will help in the elections and be cited as proof that reopenings can only work in disciplined Northern states.)

  3. Thanks for your service in sharing these glimpses into the lockdown mindset. It’s important not just now but as a reminder in the future of what these crazy times were really like.

    • RS: You’re welcome. I do hope that this blog is a good resource for historians 20 years from now. I find it fascinating that people who advocate continued Covidcrat-directed coercion seem to be at least as likely to travel for leisure and that the obvious superspreader situations, such as the Super Bowl and theme parks, are simply ignored. The Swedes were widely pilloried for their “experiment” of following pre-2020 pandemic management advice and their recklessness in allowing the virus that kills 82-year-olds to circulate among 20-year-olds, but they shut down these kinds of mass events.

  4. Omicron is so virulent (and old vaccines are so useless), that essentially everyone who travelled this Christmas season got it. So your “friend” is indeed correct in his assessment that his family took part in boosting herd immunity. 😂

    • I am not sure whether “herd immunity” is more than a theoretical construct given rapid virus mutations (each 7-8 hours RNA replicates so that the infected could enjoy multiple generation of the same family). Also, where’s the herd immunity with other coronaviruses or flue ?

      Additionally, I recall some or other CDC luminary claiming that new mRNA vaccines are so good that it’s possible to modify them in a matter of hours to fight a new “strain” with mass production in a week or so. If so, why do they keep injecting with arguably out of vogue vaccines rather than shipping the latest and greatest ?

    • I too am confused by the zeal of the faithful for additional doses of a vaccine against a 2.5-year-old version of the dreaded virus. Nobody wants a years-old flu shot.

  5. No human is a completely rational actor in the Mr.Spock way, and some less than others. As Hugo Mercier hypothesizes, reason developed not to engage in “scientific method”, but rather to convince other members of the tribe to act in the way perceived to be beneficial for the arguer, e.g. wearing masks outdoors.

    “Reasoning is generally seen as a means to improve knowledge and make better decisions. However, much evidence shows that reasoning often leads to epistemic distortions and poor decisions. This suggests that the function of reasoning should be rethought. Our hypothesis is that the function of reasoning is argumentative. It is to devise and evaluate arguments intended to persuade”
    https://www.dan.sperber.fr/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/MercierSperberWhydohumansreason.pdf

    If we accept that speculation as true, then your facebook friend behavior is not that unusual.

    • Ivan: Thank you for that link! It has long been my theory that language evolved to support a dominance hierarchy without resorting to physical fights. The leader programs his/her/zir/their followers like computers.

      Unfortunately, even (especially?) highly intelligent people can be programmed outside of their areas of expertise. Being street smart and aware of dominance hierarchies enables people to be critical in any area of life.

    • Anon, “language evolved to support a dominance hierarchy without resorting to physical fights”:
      No, not in Soviet Russia at least.

  6. There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’m going to put that off until tomorrow because against my doctor’s best wishes I got a little drunk with a friend tonight who just learned that one of his band-mates has cancer. It’s an extra burden because he also has cancer, so now it’s both of them in the same band.

    So: it’s a fascinating post on many levels but I’m not quite fit to digest it properly. In the meantime, I’ll note that LEGOLAND Florida is only 33.9 miles from Machine Gun America, and if I visited one, I’d probably visit both. I’m sad the intellectual in Case I really believes what he does about 800,000 Americans. And he apologizes! Always the big “I’m sorry.”

    He may be very intelligent but he’s also an indoctrinated schmuck. Have a nice evening.

    https://machinegunamericaorlando.com/

  7. Alice is alone doing all right in this story. Otherwise it is a terrible example of self-flagellation of misguided souls. The children have the right of it.

    “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

  8. I have been following the the Covid discussions on this blog since the start of the pandemic and it’s probably not too early to congratulate Philip for being much more right than wrong about reasonable policies for Covid-19. It looks like Omicron will be the way out of this – maybe even herd immunity even though I haven’t heard that term trotted out in a number of months like it was in the beginning.

    But I have to ask – what mortality rate would have had to occur, and with what age distribution to make Philip and the Swedes wrong and the Covid Karens correct?

    As a nation we could do what the military already does with Defcon levels. For every Defcon level there are associated policies and procedures that get more severe as the threat increases. There is no swirl or argument about what to do since this is all clearly described and understood before an event changes the Defcon level. If we do the same for pandemic policies, our reactions becomes similarly rule driven and the risk of manipulation of policies for political gain is mitigated, and compliance with policy should increase.

    I naively assumed our nation already planned that way, but it’s clear the planning never happened or there was some terrible failure in communicating and/or executing the plan.

    • Craig: Thanks for the kind congratulations! I wish that I had been more right than wrong about Bitcoin instead of merely mocking it for 5+ years! I could be quarantining on my 300′ yacht right now.

      For Church of Sweden members, your question about mortality rate is analogous to “How bad would the government of Ho Chi Minh have had to be before the American involvement in the Vietnam War would have made sense?” Since the Vietnam War was not winnable, it doesn’t matter how bad Ho was. Similarly, ordering people to wear bandanas as PPE against an aerosol virus doesn’t make sense at any mortality rate because, as was recently shown in a randomized controlled trial, cloth masks have no effect on transmission.

      The Swedish policy wasn’t set up based on a specific mortality rate. It was set up with the explicit statement that nothing short of a Chinese-grade lockdown would be effective and even a Chinese-grade lockdown wouldn’t eradicate the virus in the long run. The Swedes said that they expected to have a similar mortality rate, whatever it was, to the Western countries that ordered lockdowns and masks.

      So I think one could argue that the Chinese did it right since they minimized COVID-19 infections/transmission and hospitalization/deaths (though perhaps the long-term loss of life-years from the effects of their lockdowns will actually exceed the life-years saved from COVID-19). And one could argue that the Swedes did it right, since they preserved their children’s educations, adults’ constitutional rights and freedoms, and their overall physical and mental health while keeping the COVID-19-tagged death rate to a level that was similar to what happened in the European Lands of Lockdown (see https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/ ). But it is tough for me to see how any death rate could make what happened in Boston reasonable (K-12 schools closed for more than a year; alcohol and marijuana stores open; adults meeting on Tinder; people ordered to wear cloth masks as PPE both indoors and out).

    • Phil, let me refine the question a bit. Let’s imagine “experts” believe that for a given virus, without drastic lockdowns 5% of the population of the country will die (uniformly distributed in age) within the first two years, and then a vaccine will reduce deaths to .05%/year level after that. With lockdowns deaths will be 1% with a similar distribution and then the same level as case one after two years and development of a vaccine. Are you saying you wouldn’t choose a lockdown policy in this hypothetical? And if not, are you saying there is no unacceptable level of death since no virus war is winnable?

      Although the policy decision for the Swedes may have been based on “we wont be worse than country X” I can’t believe that their decision didn’t also factor in an estimate for deaths that wasn’t higher than a number that would be acceptable to their countrymen.

    • Craig, you directed your question at Phil, but as I happen to have similar ideas I’ll give you my view. I’ll try to be fair and play by your rules, i.e. 5% without lockdown and 1% with lockdown, signed and guaranteed by God.

      My answer is I would not consider drastic lockdowns for a 5% mortality. Maybe at 10% I would start doubting. What about increasing hospital capacity instead of lockdowns?

      Now I’ll be less fair and challenge two rules of your thought experiment: (1) It’s not 5% vs 1%, as Sweden shows it is more or less the same if we lock down or not. (2) The fatal cases are not uniformly distributed over ages. And even if we say that age does not matter (the life of a 82 year old being not more disposable than that of a 20 year old — though I think that if we are alone with ourselves some of us will admit that they do not think in such a humanistic and generous way) we still have the fact that people without comorbidities have a very low probability to die of covid.

      And what about freedom? The quality of the saved life? As a philosopher was quoted in the media, “we sacrifice life in order to save the crude existence”.

      My first impulse was to answer that the demand for lockdowns must come from below and not be imposed from above. But then I think that if there were a referendum the “Shutdown-Karens” would win comfortably. Why? Because of the quest for sensationalism of the media, because of this thirst for doom scenarios, because of a too comfortable suburban life, because of an obsession with safety and materialism. I don’t know how I would push the message in society without being accused of propaganda, but in an ideal world I would bombard the population with the message “95% (to use your 5% scenario) survive and life goes on”. Or for each article about some public figure who died of covid (as we are generously served) I’d publish 19 articles with testimonies such as “I had a fever, I coughed for 5 days, here I am”.

    • Craig: Your hypothetical is shading closer to the movie Contagion, which I recently wrote about here. The virus there kills young people at a high rate. An ideal technocratic solution becomes hard to implement because health care workers mostly quit to save their own skins.

      Expert opinion as of April 2020 was that safe and effective vaccines would take 8-10 years to develop. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/31/us/coronavirus-vaccine-timetable-concerns-experts-invs/index.html So your hypothetical also needs to include experts having provided completely different information regarding vaccines than was actually provided.

      I think you’re still https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question from a Church of Sweden perspective. If I’m reading you correctly, you’re assuming that a Western-style (non-Chinese) lockdown can reduce a death rate from 5% to 1%. But that’s precisely what the Church of Sweden rejects. Humanity has never beaten a respiratory virus (measles has a unique inability to mutate and we have a great vaccine against it and still it costs humanity more life-years than COVID-19; see https://www.who.int/news/item/12-11-2020-worldwide-measles-deaths-climb-50-from-2016-to-2019-claiming-over-207-500-lives-in-2019 and remember that a typical measles victim is under 5, not 80 years old). Because humanity had never beaten a respiratory virus, by definition there could be no “science” of lockdowns nor could there have been any “experts” in predicting the effect of a lockdown. After two years of coronapanic, I guess we can say that a science has the potential to develop. From the police-and-military-enforced lockdown champs appearing at the top of the leaderboard in https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/ we could make an expert inference that lockdowns and mask orders, other than in China and on a few islands, are worthless. From noticing that the COVID-19-tagged death rate in 2021 in the U.S. was higher than in 2020, a scientist could conclude that mass vaccination does not reduce the COVID-19 death rate. But none of these science-like activities were possible in February 2020 when the Church of Sweden was established.

      Finally, let’s circle back to influenza, my favorite comparison seasonal RNA virus. Modern medicine and science have been fighting with influenza for over 100 years with precious little to show. Thus, an expert who predicts certain victory over SARS-CoV-2 (reducing death rate from 5% to 0.05%) has a lot of explaining to do!

    • @philg – you are missing my point.

      You have consistently in this blog punished policymakers and citizens for over-reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic. I acknowledge that you have been mostly correct in the case of Covid-19. Covid-19 may not be bad enough to warrant the kind of school shutdowns that occurred in Massachusetts (although I believe the kids transitioned to non-optimal zoom classes as opposed to a complete shutdown).

      With the hypothetical I presented, I’m simply trying to get an idea of what would be needed (given imperfect knowledge, imperfect experts, lack of science, unaccountable leadership, self-serving public servants, etc. ) number wise for you to initially accept a set of lockdown policies similar to what we experienced two years ago.

      The reason I’m asking is because I believe if we as a nation or state have clearly defined policies in place that are voted on or agreed to in some manner prior to the next pandemic then most of this angst about lost freedoms and damage to children’s lives would not occur since the tradeoffs used for policy making would be well understood, and expectations clear and agreed to.

      I’m really questioning whether our nation could ever pull together again in a WWII like situation where we had to accept fairly severe rationing and other temporary loss of freedoms in order to “help our boys over there fighting.”

    • Craig: If you believe that kids at home in a 2BR public housing apartment transitioned to Zoom classes, I have some altcoin to sell you! The biggest lockdown cheerleaders are now bemoaning the massive learning loss. See https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/04/briefing/american-children-crisis-pandemic.html for example (but, of course, they never mention their role in making sure that schools did not reopen).

      I continue to stick to my Vietnam War analogy. Regardless of the consequences, it does not make sense to fight an unwinnable war with ineffective strategy and tactics. There is no virus death rate that would make “a set of lockdown policies similar to what we experienced two years ago” sensible because those policies had no demonstrated effect on the number of deaths. See

      https://twitter.com/DrJBhattacharya/status/1442656553845334016

      for California versus Florida, for example. See lockdown superstars Peru, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia versus Sweden.

      The World War II example would make sense if what Americans had done at home to “help our boys over there fighting” was walk around with ducks tied to their heads.

    • Ok Phil – I guess your policy position is that since no lockdown policy had any ultimate effect for Covid-19, the correct starting policy for the next unknown virus should be the same – no lockdowns – no matter what the estimated mortality rate is.

      Seems pretty risky – I wonder what the effect on a child will be if some virus takes out 10% of their classmates one year? But then again, like you pointed out with the contagion movie, it might not matter what public policy is because nobody in their right mind would send their child to school under those circumstances.

    • Craig: Exactly. Except for going out to stock up via mostly-peaceful looting, most ordinary citizens depicted in Contagion stayed home without any government prompting!

      While anything is possible for a movie, I’m not convinced that a respiratory virus that kills 10 percent of humans is evolutionarily fit. After seeing neighbors drop dead in the street, so many people will stay home spontaneously that the virus will burn out. According to governors in California and Massachusetts, it is “essential” that people get marijuana, but it would be a very dedicated stoner indeed who was willing to run a 10% risk of death by leaving the house to go to the cannabis dispensary. What successful respiratory virus can we think of that has a death rate anywhere near 10%?

    • This might be a good time to recall that the initial logic behind lockdowns was not that they would reduce deaths by reducing infections. As you may recall, the message was “flatten the curve” – we were told that the same number of people would ultimately get infected, we would just have less deaths due to not overwhelming hospitals. It was only after governments and scientists discovered their awesome new power that the strategy was changed to “lockdowns to prevent infections,” a notion that was not consistent with pre-March-2020 science that predicted the same number of people will ultimately be infected with or without lockdowns, and history had now proven that to be the case.

    • The most evolutionarily fit virus would probably be one that was engineered for that purpose and leaked from your bioweapons lab of choice of course!

      In terms of risk management I think you are saying the probability of an occurrence of that type of virus is so low (although impact high) that there is essentially no need for public policy planning – which wouldn’t be effective in any case.

    • Craig: I think your choice of the term “bioweapon” is apt. Basically you’re saying “How would you prepare a country to deal with a virus that was 10X more deadly than the 1918 flu?” (the 1918 flu killed roughly 0.6% of the U.S. population)

      I think you’d need to start with the stuff that we’ve seen China do, i.e., a government that can lock people into their homes and have the military drive around in hazmat suits throwing supplies in. You’d need the stuff that I’ve proposed here, e.g., an RFID chip in everyone’s neck so that contact tracing can be done properly. You’d need tight border controls so that nobody can come in with the plague. You’d need physical restructuring of schools, stores, etc. so that Americans didn’t get so close to each other on a regular basis. You’d stop accepting low-skill immigrants, since such people tend to end up living in high-density situations and therefore are susceptible to contagious disease (and also because you’d want the U.S. population to shrink gradually and thus reduce crowding).

      Here’s some 2001 testimony from an expert: https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/our-work/publications/femas-role-in-managing-bioterrorist-attacks

      She says “FEMA is one of government’s organizational success stories” (Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005) and “such a surge in patient demand will overwhelm local health care systems”. She predicted the current testing shortage: “No one would know if they were infected until they became ill.” She predicted the current headlines: “The U.S. health care system is operationally fragile and inelastic. The quest for financial efficiency within the health care sector coupled with the financial pressures imposed by managed care, rising drug prices, regulatory mandates, etc. have virtually eliminated hospital surge capacity.” (That said, right now it is easier and cheaper to get an ICU bed in the Palm Beach area than it is to get a hotel room at the Breakers on Palm Beach Island.) She gets concrete: “The lack of surge capacity in American hospitals is such that few, if any, hospitals could handle a sudden influx of 100 patients needing advanced life-support care. In most locales, even the combined resources of all hospitals in a metropolitan area could not handle such a demand. No city in America, and no contiguous geographic region could handle 1000 patients suddenly needing advanced medical care.”

    • @philg, since the US is seemingly not on the path to overcome the highlighted issues in health care system (and did not learn its lesson since 2001), do you see any Western countries that may be in a better shape (i.e. Portugal since it was frequently discussed here 😉
      And as to the US, I’d expect then rural areas are better prepared for doomsday scenarios due to the lower population density? So should we flock to Wyoming rather than Florida?

    • @Craig, the lockdown, masks, 6′ distancing, vaccine mandates, et. al. is doomed to fail to defeat COVID. Why? For the same reason that we cannot defeat homelessness, poverty, those on welfare, alcoholism, drug user, et. al. After all, governments all over the world have been trying to defeat those bad traits since the written history!

      I would have supported and justified the war-on-COVID if our government AND media was also spending 1/10 of the time and resources on the importance of education and having a strong family. Instead, our government and media has made COVID into a doomsday apocalypse.

      The only message and the only way to flatten-the-curve (there is no beating COVID) should have been:
      1) Wash your hand as often as you can and learn how to do it right, and
      2) Stay home when sick and away from family members, and
      3) Keep healthy by exercising and eating healthy.

      There is no need to inject fear into the arms of people, that’s what the vaccine is.

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