The economic devastation that is now playing out before our eyes is not caused by the Wuhan flu virus. In the last 21 days, approximately 162,000 Americans have died. Of that number, 150 were killed by the Wuhan virus. If governments at all levels had done nothing, other than eliminating regulatory barriers to the deployment of already-existing medicines, would the virus have killed more Americans? Yes, that is what flu bugs do. Would it kill more than the 13,000 or so who have died from this year’s seasonal flu virus? Who knows? More than the estimated 80,000 who were killed by the flu in the U.S. just two years ago? I doubt it: world-wide, it has killed only a little more than one-tenth that number.
The answers to those questions are speculative, but this is not: by dictating a virtual cessation of economic activity, governments at all levels, but especially state and local, are causing an economic collapse the likes of which, if it continues, we have not seen since the Great Depression, if ever. When has such a government-caused disaster comparably devastated a non-socialist country? Not often. The inflation of the Weimar Republic comes to mind.
I agree with the Wall Street Journal editorial that Scott quoted from this morning, but I think it is too mild. Here is a prediction: the deaths of Americans caused by the Wuhan flu bug will be dwarfed by the suicides committed by people whose life’s savings have been wiped out, whose businesses have been bankrupted, whose jobs have been lost, and whose prospects have been blighted by the insane overreaction we now see from our governments. That overreaction must stop. Right now. Before it is too late, if it is not too late already.
UPDATE: More here.