by Jeffrey A. Tucker
I’m sitting at a bar in Texas, surrounded by maskless people, looking at folks on the streets walking around like life is normal, talking with nice and friendly faces, feeling like things in the world are more-or-less normal. Cases and deaths attributed to Covid are, like everywhere else, falling dramatically.
If you pay attention only to the media fear campaigns, you would find this confusing. More than two weeks ago, the governor of Texas completely reversed his devastating lockdown policies and repealed all his emergency powers, along with the egregious attacks on rights and liberties.
There was something very un-Texan about those lockdowns. My hotel room is festooned with pictures of cowboys on horses waving guns in the air, along with other depictions of rugged individualism facing down the elements. It’s a caricature but Texans embrace it. Then a new virus came along – as if that had never happened before in Texas – and the new Zoom class took the opposite path, not freedom but imposition and control.
After nearly a year of nonsense, on March 2, 2021, the governor finally said enough is enough and repealed it all. Towns and cities can still engage in Covid-related mischief but at least they are no longer getting cover from the governor’s office.
At that moment, a friend remarked to me that this would be the test we have been waiting for. A complete repeal of restrictions would lead to mass death, they said. Would it? Did the lockdowns really control the virus? We would soon find out, he theorized.
I knew better. The “test” of whether and to what extent lockdowns control the virus or “suppress outbreaks” (in Anthony Fauci’s words) has been tried all over the world. Every serious empirical examination has shown that the answer is no.
The US has many examples of open states that have generally had better performance in managing the disease than those states that are closed. Georgia already opened on April 24, 2020. South Dakota never shut down. South Carolina opened in May. Florida ended all restrictions in September. In every case, the press howled about the coming slaughter that did not happen. Yes, each open state experienced a seasonality wave in winter but so did the lockdown states.
So it was in Texas. Thanks to this Twitter thread, and some of my own googling, we have a nice archive of predictions about what would happen if Texas opened.
- California Governor Gavin Newsom said that opening Texas was “absolutely reckless.”
- Gregg Popovich, head coach of the NBA San Antonio Spurs, said opening was “ridiculous” and “ignorant.”
- CNN quoted an ICU nurse saying “I’m scared of what this is going to look like.”
- Vanity Fair went over the top with this headline: “Republican Governors Celebrate COVID Anniversary With Bold Plan to Kill Another 500,000 Americans.”
- There was the inevitable Dr. Fauci: “It just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now.”
- Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke of Texas revealed himself to be a full-blown lockdowner: It’s a “big mistake,” he said. “It’s hard to escape the conclusion that it’s also a cult of death.” He accused the governor of “sacrificing the lives of our fellow Texans … for political gain.”
- James Hamblin, a doctor and writer for the Atlantic, said in a Tweet liked by 20K people: “Ending precautions now is like entering the last miles of a marathon and taking off your shoes and eating several hot dogs.”
- Bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald flipped out: “Goddamn. Texas already has FIVE variants that have turned up: Britain, South Africa, Brazil, New York & CA. The NY and CA variants could weaken vaccine effectiveness. And now idiot @GregAbbott_TX throws open the state.” He further called the government “murderous.”
- Epidemiologist Whitney Robinson wrote: “I feel genuinely sad. There are people who are going to get sick and die bc of avoidable infections they get in the next few weeks. It’s demoralizing.”
- Pundit Bill Kristol (I had no idea that he was a lockdowner) wrote: “Gov. Abbott is going to be responsible for more avoidable COVID hospitalizations and deaths than all the undocumented immigrants coming across the Texas border put together.”
- Health pundit Bob Wachter said the decision to open was “unforgivable.”
- Virus guru Michael Osterholm told CNN: “We’re walking into the mouth of the monster. We simply are.”
- Joe Biden famously said that the Texas decision to open reflected “Neanderthal thinking.”
- Nutritionist Eric Feigl-Ding said that the decision makes him want to “vomit so bad.”
- The chairman of the state’s Democratic Party said: “What Abbott is doing is extraordinarily dangerous. This will kill Texans. Our country’s infectious-disease specialists have warned that we should not put our guard down, even as we make progress towards vaccinations. Abbott doesn’t care.”
- Other state Democrats said in a letter that the decision was “premature and harmful.”
- The CDC’s Rochelle Walensky didn’t mince words: “Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19.”
There are probably hundreds more such warnings, predictions, and demands, all stated with absolute certainty that basic social and market functioning is a terrible idea. The lockdown lobby was out in full force. And yet what do we see now more than two weeks out (and arguably the lockdowns died on March 2, when the government announced the decision)?
Here are the data.
The CDC has a very helpful tool that allows anyone to compare open vs closed states. The results are devastating for those who believe that lockdowns are the way to control a virus. In this chart we compare closed states Massachusetts and California with open states Georgia, Florida, Texas, and South Carolina.
What can we conclude from such a visualization? It suggests that the lockdowns have had no statistically observable effect on the virus trajectory and resulting severe outcomes. The open states have generally performed better, perhaps not because they are open but simply for reasons of demographics and seasonality. The closed states seem not to have achieved anything in terms of mitigation.
On the other hand, the lockdowns destroyed industries, schools, churches, liberties and lives, demoralizing the population and robbing people of essential rights. All in the name of safety from a virus that did its work in any case.
As for Texas, the results so far are in.
Texas is not run by the Stipud Jackass Part(Liberal Democrat)Like we here in California are
No doubt the Democrats are faced a tough dilemma. Ever since last March when Democrats (long after Trump) finally realized we faced a dangerous pandemic, they have been using the virus as a political weapon. They’ve inflated numbers of cases and deaths, denounced cheap and effective treatments and promoted the most draconian measures possible to inflict the most pain and suffering on the US population as possible to blame on Trump. Even as they incited and promoted riots and massed demonstrations, which flew in the face of their “no gatherings/super spreader events” they denied the massive riots had any impact on the spread of the virus.
So now what are they going to do? The idiot Biden is drawing in and releasing into the population as many illegal immigrants as can be lured to our borders. The infection rate among the tightly-packed future Democrat voters is over 10% and the idiot Biden is having them released and distributed all around the country. Therein lies the dilemma.
Democrats want nothing more than to have the destruction of their shutdown, total government control, liberties suppression agenda prevented. They would love to see Abbott suffer the responsibility for thousands of new cases and, please, oh please, oh please, DEATHS. But how to create that and not have the totally failed and disastrous border debacle blamed?
Tough one, indeed.
Trump Vaccine: Epic win, and saving millions.
Good thing Trump planned for the rollout and dictator Biden is just executing the plan.
@Nathan Blue: I guess the idiot Biden was not satisfied with the 200,000 he has killed so he has to import more infection with illegal immigrants.
Fauci and his boys of the perpetual lockdown tried to scare state officials into buying that herd immunity doesn’t kick in until between 70 and 90% of the population is either immunized or over having an infection.
But, classical definitions of herd immunity is just over 50%.
So, Texas has gained, or is very near gaining herd immunity.
The conservative guess is that, for every infection registered there are two to three people who had an asymptomatic case and is over it, having also gained immunity.
So, most of Texas’ immunity comes from the huge pool of people who got covid and never knew it.
Add to them all the vaccinated people.
Over 56% total.