I think it's possible to say both "the US response has been very bad" and also "Progressives have been leaping at any comparison to make the US look bad because they basically feel embarrassed about America anyways and confirmation bias is strong."
It is in fact possible that the US response has been worse than it should have been and also that the European response has been worse than it should have been, and that pretty much "the response" was determined by..... let's say March 1.
Once the disease was widespread in many countries, as it clearly was by early March, it's not clear how much influence governments could really wield in terms of preventing a major death spike.
There were definitely policies that could make the spike a bit smaller or larger in a specific local area, the problem though is that the defining feature of the death toll isn't "did you make it a bit less bad in New York" but "will it also spread to Texas."
In the long run deaths are determined not by intensity of penetration in a given community, but by the geaographic extent of spread, which is why in Feb-April I was quite-seriously telling state and local governments to set up roadblocks.
Look, one reason we had more notice than Italy despite having a lot more travel to/from Wuhan than Italy is, wait for it....

.... because Trump actually *did* act very early to restrict travel to China, and Europe was much slower on this!
The problem is Trump didn't restrict travel to Europe. What should have happened is after human-to-human transmission was confirmed, we should have just grounded all flights in/out of the US, sealed the borders, and set up a wartime rationing board.
Roadblocks at every state line, call out the national guard, roll tanks down the street, etc, etc. Militarize the entire response. Strike terror into the hearts of the people.

And then by May it would have been over and we'd all be like "wow Trump was SO AUTHORITARIAN"
Instead we were like, "hm, well, what if we kinda sorta restricted a little travel."

So look, I fault Trump. He should have done the full-on "The President is basically a dictator if Congress isn't paying attention" thing.
But instead the entire Western world was like, "meh, let's just let hundreds of thousands of bodies pile up; anything to avoid having to actually respond in a quick and coherent threat to the people."
And it was the entire Western world. European doctors were just as anti-mask as American ones. European officials were even more anti-travel-rules than American ones at first (they've come around now).
Which is all really insane since the data from past diseases suggests travel restrictions were actually very effective. It still is just insane to me that we didn't really do any actual mobility restrictions.
But hey instead of getting on a war footing for three months we get to all have a range of personal liberties curtailed for months or years.
Wildly enough, one of the better responses has been in Canada, which had a VERY bad early outbreak in Montreal.

A key part of Canada's response is they staffed nursing homes and high-risk facilities *with uniformed military personnel*.
They were like, "well, these guys are young, healthy, and already willing to die in principle; so they can change bedpans for a few months."
Here's just one of manye xamples of Canada's vaguely militarized response: politico.com/news/2020/05/2…
Canada, as I can attest, also has irritatingly complete border controls up. Though they should really work on getting at-the-border rapid testing set up!

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More from @lymanstoneky

15 Jan
i mean by my count is 550,000 but YMMV
The math on this pretty simple.

First, you take CDC's reported deaths. Then you make an adjustment for underreporting of recent deaths. Various ways to do that I won't get into here, but all methods yield similar results.
Then you compare deaths in each week to deaths in each week in prior years.

Various ways to set a baseline. But one uncontroversial way to set a *maximum* expectation for "normal deaths" is to take:
1) maximum deaths in a given week 2014-2019
2) multiply by pop growth
Read 29 tweets
15 Jan
When people think of "extremely functional microstates that just work for hard-to-explain reasons" they always leave out Mongolia and it's infuriating.

Mongolia has had *negative* excess deaths in 2020 y'all.
When we give examples of successful introduction of participatory demcoracy, rapid economic development, etc, we should really be giving Mongolia as a textbook example.
I am partly pro-Mongolian because they have anomalously high TFR for their income level, because Mongolians love the babies.

Also, lowkey, this is, um, a thing that is happening:
Read 26 tweets
14 Jan
I get the desire to punish everybody associated with Trump but "a bunch of people who've been running the country for 4 years and have a bunch of political supporters and cash being angry and bored" is perhaps not actually the ideal outcome.
One of the issues to reckon with is that Reconstruction didn't go far enough, but attempts at strict Denazifiction were widely regarded as mistakes. De-Baathification has been seen as a catastrophe for IRaq.
I'm not sure what defines the differences. But study of authoritarian regimes most definitely does *not* support the idea that you should always purge as much as possible!
Read 7 tweets
14 Jan
listening to Dan Carlin's Supernova in the East and super irritated that he focused on Hiro Onoda instead of the 10-million-times-more-interested Teruo Nakamura.
The last Japanese holdout to ever surrender was not Japanese imperial fanatic from the home islands but...

.... a Taiwanese aborigene who decided not to surrender with his unit but just build himself a hut on a deserted island and lived quietly until accidentally discovered
Also I guess I shouldn't call him Teruo Nakamura since he did not actually speak Japanese (or Chinese!). His name in his own language was Attun Palalin.
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
Saw @mattyglesias tweet about a poll of QAnon support (linked). I think it's a *bit* mistaken tho: the table he shared was QAnon support *among those who had heard of it*. But TONS more liberals have heard of QAnon than conservatives!
Here's the net favorability of QAnon (double-weighting the "very" folks) accounting for differences in who's even heard of QAnon.
Key to understand is Democrats and liberals are EXTREMELY anti QAnon not only because they are very unfavorable to it but because large shares of Rep/Con folks ***have never heard of QAnon***.
Read 22 tweets
13 Jan
I think it's fair to criticize US support of the Saudis in this war.

I also think it's unreasonable to argue that we should be providing even humanitarian aid in a region where we know both sides will steal it and use it to enhance their exploitation of the local people.
During the US Civil War, the Confederates starved because the Union starved them.

Food aid to the Confederacy would not have gone to slaves, folks. It would have gone to slave-owners.
It's possible to say both "we should not support the inhumane Saudi war effort" and also "if the Houthis want Iranian support, let Iran feed them."
Read 13 tweets

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