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Why Have So Many American Conservatives Embraced COVID-19 Pseudoscience?

With almost 150,000 COVID-19 deaths, the United States, putative leader of the free world, now is competing with Brazil and Russia for global supremacy in pandemic mismanagement. Not only does the United States lack any kind of coherent federal leadership on this issue, but even state and city leaders have fallen into bickering—and even lawsuits—over the correct response. While many Western nations have all but extinguished COVID-19 within their borders, the American pandemic is raging with a new ferocity. Yet some conservatives continue to protest even basic public-health measures, including masks. How could some of America’s best and brightest abet their country’s collapse into dysfunction in the face of a once-in-a-century pandemic?

The most obvious answer lies with their president, Donald Trump, who has continued to hold large rallies even into July. He and his most fervent supporters boosted the patchwork of conspiracy theories, crank medical science, and plain apathy that informed much of the American response. At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. back in February, the president’s then acting cabinet chief, Mick Mulvaney, assured everyone that no country is better equipped to deal with this kind of crisis, and that “the press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president… That’s what this is all about.” This was in late February, a full five months ago, when the American death count was still in double digits. Yet now that it is well into six digits, we still get the same script. People die all the time, from all sorts of causes, they tell us. Take the flu. It kills tens of thousands every year, right?

As someone who has a wide network of conservative friends and ideological allies, cultivated over decades of writing on the Middle East conflict, anti-Semitism, terrorism, and related issues, I’ve watched in horror as writers I’ve long respected succumbed to this nonsense. On January 30th, well before many people had even heard of COVID-19, in fact, American Thinker writer Jeffrey Folks was already warning that this was merely a case of “Dems rooting for a global pandemic”:

Russiagate didn’t work. Ukraine didn’t work, the economy is growing at a healthy rate. Nothing works against this president—but maybe the coronavirus will do it! … Things would have to be a lot worse than [the SARS outbreak] in 2002–3, when there were 8,098 cases and 774 deaths worldwide.

Of course, plenty of leaders and pundits botched their response to COVID-19 in January and February. But even in March, by which time it had become obvious that COVID-19 wasn’t just another iteration of the seasonal flu, Trump continued to act as if the disease could be fought on the basis of hunches and pseudoscience. Confiding in Fox News host Sean Hannity, the president said that reports of a high mortality rate were false. Around the same time, an American Thinker writer blithely assured everyone on the basis that “the odds of recovering are far higher than the odds of dying” (which is also true of many kinds of cancer). In the conservative blogosphere, the idea of communist China waging germ warfare against the West was conflated with alleged Democratic efforts to profit from the political fallout—with Trump cast as the adult in the room resisting the call for panic. Or as one writer put it: “Thank God for the cool, calm, collected and seasoned business mogul, President Donald J. Trump, who is guiding us.”

In his weekly articles on the American Greatness site, New Criterion publisher Roger Kimball conferred legitimacy on the no-big-deal approach to the unfolding pandemic with highbrow literary references and Latin phrases. As the body count climbed, he began insisting on picayune distinctions between “dying from the virus [or] with the virus.” This pedantry continues to this day, as various conservatives spin the death numbers this way and that, in order to present the plague as an artifact of testing, natural mortality cycles, or media bias.

Meanwhile, the actual scientists trying to save lives, Anthony Fauci foremost among them, have been demonized. In May, Kimball proclaimed that “the country has been on a moral bender, intoxicated by fear and panic,” and then luridly demagogued the “Svengali-like Anthony Fauci” as some kind of Rasputin figure, noting that the doctor was accompanied by “his comely, Vanna White-like assistant Dr. Deborah Birx.” To this day, Trump himself insists that Fauci is an “alarmist.” Among the president’s supporters, Sweden’s failed effort to let the disease progress toward a state of herd immunity remains an object of admiration.

Even the usually sure-footed Heather Mac Donald wrote that:

Fear-mongering news stories should begin by admitting that there is [as of March 13th], a total of 41 deaths in the United States, half of them from a ‘poorly run nursing home outside of Seattle.’ The chances of dying from the disease in America are infinitesimal compared to the economic damage. In 2018–19, 34,200 people died from influenza. The annual death toll from automobile accidents is 38,800. Even if the current Covid-19 fatality rate were multiplied by a factor of one thousand, it would outnumber traffic deaths by a mere 2,200.

As of late July, in fact, the death toll already has spiked upward, compared to March 13th, by a factor of about three thousand—and no one knows how high it will go. As for the dead, Mac Donald nonchalantly noted that no children under the age of nine had died, while 89 percent of the Italian victims were over 70, “nearing the end of their lifespans. [They] might have… died from another illness.” Succumbing to Godwin’s Law, Dennis Prager argued that the economic effects of the lockdown would be worse than the disease itself, and, in the same breath, that “the Nazis came to power because of economics more than any other single reason.”

The demand that the medical community recognize the miraculous COVID-19-curing qualities of hydroxychloroquine formed another absurd subplot. In his in-depth report on Didier Raoult, the controversial French professor who championed the drug, journalist Scott Sayare explained that much of the misinformation began spreading in early March, when Gregory Rigano—who falsely presented himself as an advisor to Stanford Medical School—self-published a Google Docs report on the subject that he’d formatted so that it looked like a legitimate scientific paper. Fox News host Laura Ingraham picked up on his misinformation, and pronounced hydroxychloroquine to be a “game-changer.” Sean Hannity followed suit. Rigano appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show, where he claimed that Raoult’s study had shown a 100 percent cure rate. At a March 19th White House task force briefing, President Trump repeated the claim that the drug was a “game changer.”

In time, the debate over hydroxychloroquine became suffused with misinformation on both sides, as even the debunkers who opposed Trump’s claims ignored the usual scientific safeguards. In May, the Lancet published a report declaring that hydroxychloroquine wasn’t merely ineffective in regard to COVID-19, but dangerous, too. In June, that work was retracted. This was around the same time that progressive media and public-health groups were insisting that mass attendance at Black Lives Matter events was perfectly safe because the underlying political cause was important—an absurd contradiction of the same health protocols these same experts had properly defended since March. When it comes to COVID-19, Trump and his followers may have led the assault on the sanctity of science. But many of his opponents have made a bad situation worse, proving that political extremism can be a risk to human health no matter which direction it comes from.

* * *

What I have described here represents a crisis of ideology—an abstract, electronic-media-driven phenomenon by which conservatives prioritized partisanship and wishful thinking over saving lives. But the results played out all over real-world bricks-and-mortar America: Healthcare workers begging for PPE, governors bidding against federal emergency-management officials for desperately needed supplies, scenes of triage at hospitals, and chaotic protests outside state capitols. Meanwhile, the nation’s elderly remained holed up as prisoners in nursing homes (the decrepit state of which has been revealed as a scandal in and of itself). The whole world is now watching Trump’s America degenerate into the kind of dysfunction that we usually associate with failed states.

As with all important policy issues, the best approach to fighting COVID-19 is open to debate. Even scientists don’t fully understand the role of drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, or the medical side effects of lockdown. But what I’m describing here isn’t evidence-driven debate: It’s angry, ideologically driven luddite mysticism masquerading as hard-headed conservative skepticism.

Here in France, I’ve already lost two precious friends to COVID-19: Jewish community leader Claude Barouch and senior politician Claude Goasguen. Others who are close to me have suffered horribly from this illness. Ideologues didn’t create the virus that struck these people. But they did let themselves become trapped in a partisan rabbit hole at a time when they could have been lending their influential voices to productive, scientific, life-saving ends.

 

 

Nidra Poller is an American writer who has lived in Paris since 1972. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Post, Commentary magazine, New York Post, and other publications. Her most recent book is the 2019 novel So Courage & Gypsy Motion.

Featured image: May 1st protest held in Spokane, WA against statewide stay-at-home order.

Comments

  1. But even in March, by which time it had become obvious that COVID-19 wasn’t just another iteration of the seasonal flu, Trump continued to act as if the disease could be fought on the basis of hunches and pseudoscience. Confiding in Fox News host Sean Hannity, the president said that reports of a high mortality rate were false.

    Complete nonsense. The lack of evidence then was questioned, famously by Ioannidis:

    Around the same time, an American Thinker writer blithely assured everyone on the basis that “the odds of recovering are far higher than the odds of dying” (which is also true of many kinds of cancer).

    What was the evidence then? Compare actuarial estimates then, on the Imperial College Model (IFR: 0.9%):

    In his weekly articles on the American Greatness site, New Criterion publisher Roger Kimball conferred legitimacy on the no-big-deal approach to the unfolding pandemic with highbrow literary references and Latin phrases. As the body count climbed, he began insisting on picayune distinctions between “dying from the virus [or] with the virus.” This pedantry continues to this day, as various conservatives spin the death numbers this way and that, in order to present the plague as an artifact of testing, natural mortality cycles, or media bias.

    Attribution of COVID-19 death is extremely difficult. Evidence in the discourse around attribution of death to influenza by the CDC. Confirmed influenza cases, and attributions vary by several orders of magnitude. Countries have changed how attribution of death works for COVID-19, prominently the UK, where COVID-19 death attribution was fast-tracked, creating perverse incentives. Many countries (the US approach varies across states), the numbers were simply indicative.

    The UK, for example bungled this attribution atrociously:

    The US:

    Those numbers imply that the virus kills less than 0.3 percent of people infected by it—far lower than the infection fatality rates (IFRs) assumed by the alarming projections that drove the initial government response to the epidemic, including broad business closure and stay-at-home orders.

    Ideologues didn’t create the virus that struck these people. But they did let themselves become trapped in a partisan rabbit hole at a time when they could have been lending their influential voices to productive, scientific, life-saving ends.

    And what are these “productive, scientific, life-saving ends”? Especially when the author states:

    As with all important policy issues, the best approach to fighting COVID-19 is open to debate. Even scientists don’t fully understand the role of drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, or the medical side effects of lockdown. But what I’m describing here isn’t evidence-driven debate: It’s angry, ideologically driven luddite mysticism masquerading as hard-headed conservative skepticism.

    Alongside Ioannidis, there were multiple calls for collecting evidence worldwide. The common element was the failure of public authorities to justify. They invited populations to ceaseless speculation on the evidentiary basis, rationale of state response. The US mainstream media lurched from claiming COVID-19 was insignificant, to apocalypse, then suddenly BLM and again insignificant, but yet somehow apocalyptic to the US. There is hardly any mention of any of this in the article.

    There isn’t a single cogent argument in the article. It is guilty of all it charges.

  2. While Claude Goasguen did contract the coronavirus, he died of a heart attack at age 75. The author accuses conservatives (and to a milder degree, Dems) of being dunderheaded about the coronavirus. Actually, it was correct to be skeptical about the lockdown, but hotter, stupider heads prevailed. We have actually learned nothing new about Covid-19 since the global lockdown was imposed: figures are still all over the place, the vaccine seems like a unicorn and no one has a clue of how to restore life to normalcy. The author may retain her sense of righteousness, I’ll retain my skepticism.

  3. What is the point of this article?

    Any 17 year old could deconstruct the US virus response, cherry pick little nuggets and make an argument either for or against either the left or the right.

    We have a global viral epidemic, an emerging mental health crises from lockdown, a global economic meltdown, and a person who has lived in France since 1972 wants to blame everything on Donald Trump.

    Partisan hit piece after partisan hit piece, it is all kinda boring. Yeah i get it, everything is weaponized, and everything all the time is Donald Trumps fault.

    Hillary lost.

  4. Pseudoscience like:

    • Quarantining healthy people
    • Closing down beaches and parks
    • Mandating mask wearing outside
    • Selectively choosing which mass gatherings to condemn and which to celebrate based on politics

    That kind of pseudoscience?

  5. “What is the point of this article?”

    This is the Democrats talking point until November. Notice the accompanying photo. Conservative protests spread the virus. Leftists protest do not.

  6. The Article might as well be titled

    “Why Have So Many American Progressives Embraced COVID-19 Pseudoscience?”

    (edited to fix typo)

  7. Never Trumper nonsense. I stopped reading right there. Trump has executed his part of it just about as well as it could have been done. Pence, likewise.

    Conservatives don’t like lies! They don’t like brazen hypocrisy. They don’t like swamp corruption. They don’t like dishonest media. They hate that any and every situation is immediately turned into a naked power grab, in an incremental march to totalitarian elitism. They hate that any and every opportunity is exploited to hand Wall St. trillions of dollars of the peoples’ money----with which they are going to plunder a whole swath of needlessly distressed assets, from broken and destroyed businesses and families.

  8. The real damage that has been done to efforts to contain coronavirus, has been caused by the media’s hypocritical response to the BLM protests- especially in America where one type of entirely peaceful protest has been deemed politically unacceptable, whilst another type of protest- with accompanying violence, looting and riots (albeit by only a small percentage of demonstrators), is seen as not only acceptable, but necessary.

    We have to remember that people aren’t idiots, despite efforts to portray them as such. If they see kids on the TV burning buildings, gathering in large crowds without masks and looting shops, and then see the media portray these events as causing no increased risks of COVID, then they are naturally going to think that it OK for them to go out in public without masks, visit their favourite sports bar and relax on the social distancing. Sometimes the media just doesn’t see the untold damage caused by inconsistent messaging, when an eleven year old could see the double standard.

    It’s called behavioural economics- and its coming soon to a town near you. The consequences of the media breaking quarantine in the hopes of unseating a president whom they loath. Somebody should be pointing the finger at them, for their reprehensible actions. Whatever damage Donald Trump caused by ending the Lockdown prematurely, it is as nothing by comparison to a media which unintentionally provided the general public with all the evidence they needed to come to the wrong conclusion- and abandon even common sense precautions like wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding lengthy stays in enclosed spaces.

    With the Trump-only scenario America might have seen only a modest uptick in COVID cases, very similar to those seen in Sweden, but with the media cynically presenting an image which is patently false, regardless of the motives behind this obvious deception, the media stands indicted of causing far worse harm than Donald Trump ever will.

    Any attempt to limit harm in the face of pandemic, was always going to require the consent and cooperation of the general public at large- but by presenting a narrative which was fundamentally unfair to 50% of Americans, and obviously so, the media broke trust with the American people. Little wonder then, that in a country with such strong libertarian traditions, people decided to rebel against a stacked deck and a crooked worldview. Shame on you American media, blood is on your hands.

  9. That’s one incident Jack, against a backdrop of a large-scale mass movement. Compare that the over 700 police officers injured in mostly peaceful protests, and we talking about the exact double standards that I highlighted.

    P.S. I hope those making threats were quickly tracked down and charged.

  10. Wow that looks like a dangerous crowd there. There’s a family with a kid and a guy on a motorcycle…with a flag. Oh the horror…

    How many stores were looted by these protestors? How many police cars were burned? Can you give us an exact count there Jack?

    JackBNimle, can’t manage a coherent argument so he tries to cherry pick a ridiculously small cherry to make his case.

    Meanwhile he ignores the massive country wide rioting and protesting from BLM.

    There have been faults on both sides, but the idea that it’s all the fault of conservatives is just a partisan argument, that ignores the mishandling by the CDC, the FDA, the New York state and local government, TSA being lax, New York public health officials failing to quarantine travelers early in the process.

  11. The parable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf ends with a real wolf coming and killing everyone. The boy doesn’t die alone; everyone else dies too.

    In reality, the boy is the Left. It lies. A lot. So what happens when one of its stories happens to be true?

    It started with the overt cheering for COVID-19 to ruin “Trump’s economy”. It peaked here:

    Then the unnecessary shutdowns happened, with partisan definitions of “essential”. Hydroxychloroquine trials were done improperly just to make “Trump’s drug” look bad, and a variety of other political stunts demonstrated greater desire to hurt Trump than to fight the virus, whose impacts were greatly exaggerated for months.

    Then BLM happened.

    The same people who were Karening us to death over every venture within 6 feet of a stranger started declaring, en masse, that COVID-19 was no reason to restrict “protestors” in the slightest. This was a watershed moment for millions of Americans, who abandoned all respect for anti-COVID policies as a consequence. And why shouldn’t they? The Left plainly didn’t believe in them.

    Politicizing the virus, as the Left did from the outset, was a disastrous move. Doing massive economic damage with shutdowns that had little benefit was another disastrous move. We will pay for both of these mistakes as a society for many years to come.

    But let’s put blame where it belongs.

  12. The notion that they didn’t increase infections is not derived from data. It’s derived from a strong left-wing effort to avoid collecting data, coupled with the old “absence of evidence is evidence of absence!” fallacy.

    Contact-tracers where prohibited from asking about protest participation. Nobody tracked or studied protestors. The most widely-shared article on the subject ignored protestors completely and talked about how non-protestors happened to shelter more than usual during protests, which is a complete deflection.

    But far more significant than any of that is the impact of the Left’s protest blessings on millions upon millions of protest critics. I know it’s orthodox in Lefty circles to believe that noncompliance with COVID dictates has been consistent on the non-Left all along, but that’s not remotely true. There was a big change inspired by the Left’s protest blessings. Many, many people stopped social distancing and wearing masks in response to the BLM hypocrisy. The impact of this on the infection rate is huge, and it is the BLM crowd’s fault.

    The case data makes plain the lie of the Lefty narrative: Cases didn’t begin trending upwards again until 6 weeks after most reopening policy changes. And they didn’t trend upwards among “churchgoers” (the Lefty scapegoat of the moment). Churchgoers are largely older! No, case rates trended upwards among the young and urban. Bar-goers. People who saw no reason not to behave socially as they (or others like them) did at protests, which had the Left’s blessing.

    Lefties will completely deny that the protests influenced non-distancing behavior among non-protestors, despite the obviousness of it and the time correlation of the case spike. But this is on them.

  13. “A plague on both your houses” Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare.

    There should be things that are NOT political and medicine is one of them. Personally I wear a mask everytime I go anywhere where other people are present (ex. supermarket) I wear a mask when repairmen come to my house. Masks have proven to be effective at limiting the spread of the disease.

    OTOH, let’s be honest. Covid is the best thing to happen to the Democrats and both sides know it. The Trump economy has been seriously damaged. Saying that is it OK to attend a BLM march with thousand of people yelling a screaming in each others faces, but not an Orthodox Jewish funeral does not make sense. The virus does not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation. This new batch of cases developed immediately after the protest marches and is overwhelming affecting the under 35 crowd

    Trump, like nearly every Democrat underestimated the effects of this virus in early March. This was the same time as Cuomo was moving critically ill Covid patients back into assisted living complexes and de Blasio was telling New Yorkers to go out to the bars and attend parades. The shortage of PPE dates back to 2009, when stocks were depleted to fight the H1N1 flu and never replenished. Multiple administrations both Republican and Democrat, have presided over the outsourcing of critical medical supplies to China.

    The desire to have everyone stay home has to be balanced against the need for people to work and for children to go to school. It is the kids and low skills workers who will really suffer, both academically and socially. There is no easy solution and there is plenty of stupid to go around. Whitmer called weed stores essential business but refused to let lawn care companies work or use of powerboats. It is pretty hard to catch Covid when you are in the middle of a lake several hundred yards away from the nearest boat. It is easy to sit at home and criticize when you are being paid. It is a bit harder it you are m one of the many out of work and have no way to pay the bills. That $1200 did not go very far for most people and the fact that I my wife and I got checks, despite our comfortable financial situation is nuts.

    Despite the press’s attempts to blame Covid on Trump, both sides have it handled it poorly. We need to stop the political bullshit on both sides (yes, i I know that s not possible) and look at how to attenuate its spread while not destroying the economy or our educational system. There are no easy solutions and things are made harder when people like the author are ranting about one side or the other. It would have been nice to see a totally nonpartisan article on Covid.This was not it.

  14. Whoever okayed this piece should be ashamed.

    It is absolute garbage.

    Most hilarious, it engages in the pseudoscience it decries, having bought the ‘new normal’ created by politicized science hook, line and sinker.

    Just quick glance fallacies, political and scientific–

    " Donald Trump, who has continued to hold large rallies even into July"

    Continued? Trump was not holding rallies at all The Juneteenth rally was the first of his campaign since securing the nomination. Began might be a better word.

    “At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Washington, D.C. back in February,”

    …after Trump had closed the borders to the Chinese in January. Go on, tell us how he wasn’t serious

    " Confiding in Fox News host Sean Hannity, the president said that reports of a high mortality rate were false"

    ‘Confiding’? It was on a TV show.

    Reports of a high mortality rate WERE false. The rate is falling even now. The projections that brought us that high mortality rate have been retracted–even the people who created them are admitting their flaws.

    " As the body count climbed, he began insisting on picayune distinctions between “dying from the virus [or] with the virus.”

    Picayune? Really?

    Wait–is this satire?

    That would explain the sheer and absolute idiocy on display here.

    Oh–it MUST be. No one could be this ill informed, or deliberately ignorant.

    Dammit, Quillette, you got me.

    But it has to be said that I only fell for it because current conditions make satire so difficult. This sounds as of the writer is serious–because these are actual positions held by actual people who can easily see that they are less than real yet still hold tightly to their belief in them.

    Good job.

  15. Giggling at the pretentious and largely substance free nature of this article. I’m easy to convince, I use facts and science to come to my conclusions. Here’s some science that isn’t disputed, where am I believing something that isn’t true?

    1. Masks are incredibly limited in there value in stopping the infection in most settings. The CDC published that on their site for decades, and that’s what Fauci said initially. This is based on tons of studies and science. The impact of masks is the following, Unless it’s a properly fitted and worn n-95 mask, all it does is slow the velocity of your breath exhalation plume, meaning the aerosol droplets in your breath only travel 10 inches or so versus 3 feet unmasked. It does not stop the virus from infecting you in any way. All it does is slightly slow your ability to infect others in enclosed areas where the virus can concentrate if someone infected enters. But even then, it has a minimal impact. This is what all MDs have known for years, masks and “flu-like infections” have been around forever. We know masks don’t really do much. Show me science that says this is incorrect.

    2. Children are basically invulnerable. We’ve had like 20 children die from Covid - more have drowned in bathtubs during the crisis. An average of 87 kids under 5 drown in bathtubs each year. Either we need to have the feds and states ban bathtubs immediately or perhaps we need to realize children do not need to wear masks or be quarantined or socially distance to protect themselves.

    There is the additional issue of them being infection vectors to others. But the studies so far show children transmit the infection at very low rates too…Science, every bit of it.

    1. Herd immunity - NYC spiked in infections in January and February - not in March/April/May. You can see the data from the “flu like symptom monitoring” data base run by the CDC. I wonder, has the self-anointed genius who wrote this article ever looked at that dataset? What you see is a disease running wild at that point. When you factor all this in and look at the data in NYC, what a scientist or epidemiologist would tell you is that NYC has achieved herd immunity. Lockdown has been largely ignored there since May - I lived there until the end of May, many people on the streets and socializing and in the parks every day and night.

    They are approaching herd immunity so it’s dying out. There is no other actual interpretation of their data available. Other states who’s infections came later are still working their way through. Unfortunately, NYC and NJ both terribly mismanaged their vulnerable populations and as a result have ridiculously high mortality rates as a result. The idea that NYC is a success is truly an Orwellian kind of proposition. Fyi, I got sick with a weird cold living in NYC in december that would not go away…like about 50 other people I know.

    If you go back to Fauci’s early statements, he was talking about how to get us to herd immunity and was dismissive of masks - was he not doing “science” then? I’m so confused.

    1. Vaccines - Lol. Truly. We’ve not yet successfully ever produced a vaccine for a corona virus. I’ve also listened to a top virulogist and molecular biologist who runs a monkey lab in Japan in which he tests such things on monkeys say, unequivocally: No vaccine can be considered safe without double-blind, well controlled and designed, long term primate studies. There are too many variables in the genetics, we will not know the risks until that kind of testing is complete. I will not take such a vaccine and most people I’ve spoken to will certainly not give it to their children who face practically no risk of death from this.

    So, even if the vaccine is perfectly safe - most people will not take it. Based on “the science”.

    I’m happy to debate this author live on a Youtube channel or something. His arrogance and ignorance are stunning.

    What’s the plan? Lockdown until a vaccine? NOPE. That was never the stated policy of any public health official when all this started. Our economy and society will collapse - that’s not a possible choice. And ANYONE recommending that choice is recklessly irresponsible and should be removed from power cuz they aren’t capable of rational thought. Risks are hard to face, leadership isn’t easy, most decisions require tradeoffs. We take life threatening risks every day, this is just another one we need to manage until herd immunity arrives.

    Best choice is simple. Voluntary lockdown for the vulnerable, and a special program for them to keep them above water. Everyone else? Spread the damn disease as quickly as possible so it burns out due to herd immunity. We can then allow the vulnerable to rejoin us and we will have mimimized the death from this.

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