May 6, 2020
One lesson our nation’s elected leaders should learn from COVID-19, is that common sense should take precedence over fear bound decision making. As of today, Kentucky has 5,245 known confirmed cases of COVID-19. We also have 261 tragic COVID-19 deaths. Based on Kentucky’s 2019 population of 4,468,000 this means that you have approximately a 1/10th of 1% of chance of being infected by the COVID-19 virus. If you are infected you’ve got 5/100th of 1% chance of dying from it! The national statistics are remarkably similar to Kentucky’s despite the fact that some states, like South Dakota, did not shut down and follow the foolish mandates of conflicted health officials who utilized incredibly bad data and, really bad “science” to lock down our country.
Our elected leaders need to understand that every state is not New York and get themselves, and our state and nation, back to work. This week the U.S. House of Representatives is lengthening their already extended break by another week, while they cowardly stay home and collect their government guaranteed paychecks. As a matter of fact, all of the decision makers at the state and national level, who have deprived our citizenry of not only our God given constitutional rights but of the ability to put bread on the table for our families, have literally incurred no financial hardship because their salary and benefits are guaranteed by our tax dollars. Does that sound like a conflict of interest in terms of who the decision makers are? I think it is.
What will Kentucky’s governor, and a few others, do when coronavirus doesn’t inspire the fear needed to convince us to go into house arrest?
I also think that those who are in positions of responsibility making these decisions need to revisit the science and understand that one size does not fit all. All of the hype that went into literally scaring people to death in our country, and in other countries, about COVID-19 is slowly fading away as our citizenry now realizes we were sold a bill of goods. The data and science show that the damage done by this lockdown of our nation’s economy, and the virtual house arrest imposed on many of our country’s citizens, will vastly exceed any lives saved by a huge factor. The sweeping lockdown was a huge overreaction based on flawed models that showed exponential growth of COVID-19 that never happened – regardless of the area’s lockdown status compared to other areas that went into complete lockdown. Developing “herd immunity,” as Sweden has done, is a much better strategy to fight a virus like COVID-19. The standout winners in Europe now are Germany and Sweden. They didn’t lockdown everything and enough people got sick to develop that “herd immunity.” Folks there are still no vaccinations effective for the common cold. There are still no vaccinations for HIV/AIDS, which has killed over 675,000 Americans. And despite vaccinations being available for the common flu, we still lose approximately 30,000-70,000 people per year to that virus. Death estimates by COVID-19 now appear to around that 70,000 person range – the same as a bad common flu year. Compare this to the 1918 Influenza Pandemic in which 675,000 Americans lost their lives and 500 million people globally became infected with the virus (1/3 of the population at the time!)
Elected officials need to wake up. Stop inspiring fear in our citizenry – even if you like being on TV. Protect the vulnerable and quarantine the sick. Don’t shut down our economy, disrupt our children’s education and their ability to gain college scholarships in sports or other extracurricular activities, and destroy thousands of small businesses that are very likely not to find their way back from this. Not once in the history of our country have we shut down due to a pandemic. Not once! Other pandemics have been much more disastrous in terms of infection rate and deaths. But we didn’t shutdown the economy causing increased suicide, increased alcoholism, increased drug use, increased domestic violence, and increased child abuse. If the cure is worse than the disease, we need to kill the cure! Please consider calling or writing your congressmen and senators, as well as your local mayors and governors offices. They’ve had long enough now to take a second, third, and tenth look at the data and to determine that Americans are really good at determining what risks are appropriate for them, their families, their companies, and don’t need folks who may not be used to taking any risks – because they never started a business, or had Profit and Loss responsibility, or served in high risk occupations – like our first responders and military – where every minute of every day you’re assessing risk. The real risk of infection from COVID-19, much less death, is incredibly low, unless you are 65 with multiple issues – like diabetes and obesity.
Why is Kentucky still very locked down? Why is our governor demanding that we wear masks starting May 10th when at the height of this pandemic, his family was running around the governor’s mansion with a house full of construction contractors not wearing masks? Hypocrisy? I think so. Conflicts of interest? Absolutely and conflicts are also evident throughout the scientific community as they wedded themselves to the initial “catastrophic” data and cannot now admit that they were wrong. Those same conflicts created mistakes in judgments by our political class who are also wedded to lockdown and rather than just admit that either they, or the data they examined, was wrong. They want to begin an extremely slow reopening despite the cost not only in dollars but also in lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost education, lost meals on the table, and increased deaths – through lack of treatment to those who needed ongoing care at our hospitals but were told they couldn’t come in. I’ll bet all our nation’s empty hospitals, for this period of time, will result in fewer hospitals existing next year. Relatively unaffected states should open now and give our businesses and families a chance to recover from the mismanagement of COVID-19 response. Protect our elder population, quarantine the sick, get our kids back in school, and reopen our businesses! If hot spots emerge, shut them down and we will develop antibodies and resistance to COVID-19 – herd immunity.
C. Kelly Buckley, MBA, CFP®
Managing Director for Asset Management
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