Wednesday May 27, 2020
In the saga of the virus and the lockdown, the wisdom of the crowds, that is the wisdom of each of us, was thwarted by bad data, perhaps intentionally bad. On the other hand, the ersatz wisdom of the collective bureaucracy in federal, state and local health agencies was based on crafted data. In the end data didn’t matter, as the bureaucracies were more concerned with their natural territorial imperative, which is to rule and control.
The most frightening aspect of the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) epidemic in the US is that it brought about exaggeratedly heightened fear of death. That fear, once magnified to proportions which become palpable to the individual, became the basis for dreadful economic and medical policies from governments and crushed the natural optimism of the public.
In early days, we were caught in a squeeze of conflicting information. Was COVID-19 a bioweapon gone rogue and destined to indiscriminately wipe out young and old? Or, was it another bad flu or perhaps an extremely bad flu? After all, initial information showed the victims were concentrated in a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington.
No cases were reported amongst the homeless on West Coast streets. No deaths among children were reported. And in the closed world of cruise liners and later a military ship, there were lots of early cases and some deaths. As time passed, there was little more bad news. We should have been suspicious of the data.