A March Gallup poll asked Americans their opinions on various COVID-19-related topics. One question was “what are the chances somebody with Covid must be hospitalized?” The correct answer is between 1-5 percent. The self-proclaimed “follow the science” Democrat crowd performed significantly worse than Republicans, with 70 percent giving answers wildly off the mark. Forty-one percent of those believed that more than 50 percent would require hospitalization(!), while another 28 percent thought between 20-49 percent would.
Why do so many Democrats have their facts wrong? I believe the problem lies with the choice of media they consume and their blind trust of apocalyptic mathematical models. Their data models predicted 2.2 million Americans would die from COVID-19. In my April 29, 2020, column, I demonstrated that those models were off by a factor of 10. There’s an old saying, “garbage in, garbage out,” and faulty data will lead to faulty conclusions and, inevitably, bad decisions.
What kind of public policy decisions were made with 70 percent of Democrats significantly misinformed about COVID-19 hospitalization rate, death rate and effect on children?
Last August, Daily News columnist Nick Gier argued Washington State University was acting responsibly by going fully online, and that if the University of Idaho did not follow suit, COVID-19 deaths would explode throughout Moscow. How did that work out, Nick? There were 10 deaths in Latah County with zero transmission from live UI classes whereas Whitman County suffered 49 deaths and Pullman at one point was the No. 1 COVID-19 hotspot in the U.S.
Last August, I criticized closing schools when only 16 children out of 41 million had died from COVID-19. That fact led red states to reopen their schools and get kids back into the classroom. Not so with blue states. In November, Pullman parents and children protested against keeping schools closed. Two physicians pleaded with the Pullman School Board to reopen the schools, but the school board voted no, leaving everyone wondering if it was truly about the kids.
Moscow and Pullman, two neighboring cities with opposing methods for dealing with COVID-19 panic, manifestly demonstrated the wrongheadedness of liberal tactics. Moscow’s 500-student Logos School has had live classes since April 2020. No masks required. No social distancing mandates. No faculty, staff, student, or family member hospitalized — let alone died. Logos followed the science, and its students received another full year of in-person, stellar education. Can anyone say the same for the students who were only offered abbreviated, isolated Zoom lessons from their kitchen table? Protesting parents in Pullman would say otherwise.
In Moscow, I know at least 2,000 Christians who didn’t play the liberals’ lockdown game, and kept attending worship services, conducting business, and regularly interacting with friends and family. They celebrated life at baptisms and weddings. They mourned together at funerals. The result? Zero COVID-19 hospitalizations or deaths.
Pullman followed the conventional wisdom coming out of the blue states and opted for an almost full lockdown model. Restaurants were closed or barely open for most of the year, schools were closed and WSU failed to offer in-person classes. What’s more, they did all this with a deep sense of moral superiority, making its residents believe that they were their saviors when in reality they were taking away their livelihoods and sacrificing their mental health for a poorer mortality rate than neighboring Moscow.
COVID-19 will certainly be back in the fall because it follows the flu season. In order to be prepared for further pandemic controversies, we must be willing to set aside bias-driven interpretations of the quantitative data we gained over the last year. Only a straightforward analysis of the government’s contorted responses to the virus will prevent the U.S. from repeating its blunders again in the fall.
It also is time to stop villainizing states like Florida and Texas and communities like Moscow simply because they refuse to sacrifice healthy lives in favor of unscientific lockdowns. COVID-19 has been running its course for a year and a half, meaning that we have more than enough data to make rational, healthy decisions based on the good of entire communities, not based on the fear-mongering hypochondriacs who sit in our governments and are willing to throw away our livelihoods for their sense of unfounded moral superiority.
Courtney served 20 years in nuclear engineering aboard submarines and 15 years as a graduate school instructor. He now spends his spare time chasing his grandchildren around the Palouse.