Survival Of The Richest: Why Some Support Indefinite Lockdowns

One of the main reasons why I've turned more cautious on stocks is due to a growing number of extended lockdowns around the country.

However, investing is all about beating expectations. I had been secretly hoping most of the country would reopen by June 15, after roughly three months of staying at home. Unfortunately, in 2021, there are still country-wide shelter-in-place orders!

The economic destruction so far has been immense. Keeping the economy closed for much longer than three months feels like an extreme overreach by our politicians.

We've slowly gone from locking down in order to flatten the curve to locking down indefinitely until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. What happened to locking down until there is enough hospital bed and ventilator capacity? The healthcare system is no longer overwhelmed. Tens of millions of lives are being ruined.

If Congress successfully passes another massive stimulus package with enhanced unemployment benefits extending through the end of the year, we know that lockdowns around the country will be extended. Be mentally prepared for what's to come.

In an effort to provide different perspectives, I reached out to folks who support indefinite lockdowns to fight the coronavirus. Their stories will also help explain why the stock market has held up so well, in spite of so much economic disaster we hear in the news on a daily basis.

If you've been on the fence to support keeping the economy shut for longer than three months, perhaps these stories will persuade you to help minimize the risk to our essential workers. Or, maybe these stories will have an opposite effect and piss you off. Perhaps we'll find a middle ground.

Survival Of The Richest: Profiles Of People Who Support Indefinite Lockdowns

1) Tech couple making $415,000 combined.

Our company has allowed 100% of our workforce to work from home. Although we went through some job cuts globally, most of the core corporate office remains intact.

We continue to earn our regular salaries and our stock price has rebounded by over 80% from its March lows. I have a base salary of $250,000 + RSUs. I'm busy working on numerous M&A transactions that can help strengthen our position once the economy opens up.

My wife has a $165,000 base salary + RSUs and also gets to work from home. Her company's stock price is actually up for the year because it is in the digital payments space. The longer the lockdowns last, the stronger her business will grow due to the growth of online payments.

Although we are going a little stir crazy at home, we are doing fine financially. All of our friends are still employed and are able to work from home too. Some of our friends who work at Twitter and Salesforce have been told they can work from home for the rest of the year.

We should probably keep sheltering-in-place past the winter given winter is traditionally the flu season. I'm afraid of a second wave. By Spring 2021, there will hopefully be a vaccine.

2) Hedge fund manager in NYC who makes millions.

As you know, my income depends on my performance. I manage a $1.6 billion risk-arbitrage fund and have a base salary of $500,000. In good times, I've earned tens of millions. In bad times, I only earn my base salary. That's how it should be. Eat what you kill.

We were net short going into the market meltdown in March. As a result, we closed up 2% for the month. But I didn't cover quickly enough and underperformed in April.

We remain net short in May and will probably increase our shorts the higher stocks rebound. The stock market is so disconnected from the real economy, I think there's a 35% chance we re-test the lows.

Overall, my goal is to return positive single-digit returns in 2020. If I do, I will be able to earn between $5 – 10 million. More importantly, I'll be able to significantly raise assets due to my outperformance as investors are seeking security.

I'm currently working from our vacation home in Jupiter Island, Florida. One silver lining is that if we live here for more than six months, we should be able to drastically reduce our NY state tax and claim Florida residency.

New Jersey and New York have been hit hardest by the virus. I'm not returning until the virus is eradicated.

Tiger Woods' home on Jupiter Island is so sweet

3) Online business owner who makes between $600K – $1 million.

It's been a wild, wild year. I was on the verge of selling my home workout equipment and nutritional supplement business last year but decided to give it one last go around.

Thank god I did because my site's traffic and sales have grown by over 300% because everybody is working from home. The only challenge is that it's been hard to keep up with inventory. The average wait time for delivery has increased by over 100% due to supply chain issues.

Who knows how long my business will be booming. I'm saving 90% of all profits just in case the economy opens up again and my traffic declines. But I'm betting there will be a permanent increase in work from home arrangements that should help my business long term. I'm never selling my business now!

As you may guess, I fully support our politicians for keeping us home for the rest of the year. Not only is staying home saving lives, it's helping me make more money than I have ever dreamed. Go lockdowns!

Survival of the fittest: why folks support indefinite lockdowns

4) Actively run mutual fund manager who makes over $25 million.

This lockdown sucks. It sucks for my son who is a high school senior and isn't able to graduate with his friends. The lockdown is terrible for my daughter, a high school sophomore who was nominated to be the co-captain of her varsity basketball team. It stinks for my wife who was doing so well with her non-profit initiative.

The positive is that I've gotten to spend so much quality time with my family at our summer house. Selfishly, I'm kind of hoping my son's college closes for the Fall so that I can spend even more time with him. If his college moves online, I plan to rent a nice RV and go on a West Coast camping trip with him. It'll be the greatest father-son bonding moment ever!

To cope with the indefinite lockdown, we're pretending like summer vacation just came three months early. We've been playing lots of basketball and tennis on our vacation property in Healdsburg. We also got some really cool jet skis to ride around on our lake.

Our fund performance is in line with the market. We get paid mainly by assets under management, and so far our assets are only down about 7%. As long-only fund managers, the main thing we can do to protect shareholders is raise cash and buy defensive positions.

I'm in support of locking down for another couple months to beat the virus. The government and businesses need more time to figure out safety arrangements before millions of people return to work.

5) Friend of a mayor who has a salary of $297,386.

Survival Of The Richest: Why Some Support Indefinite Lockdowns

I'm proud of our mayor for quickly enforcing shelter-in-place rules to save lives. History will look back on her kindly. She and the governor are very much in-line with keeping the city and the state under shelter-in-place for as long as it takes to beat the virus. Enhanced unemployment benefits will last at least until July 31, 2020, therefore, she has no problems keeping the shelter-in-place rule until then.

Maybe the rules would be different if she and her fellow politicians weren't paid so much. But someone has to lead, and I think her salary is well-deserved given her city's budget is over $12 billion. She has aspirations to do greater things and I think she will.

6) Mother and wife of a tech startup founder who is worth $25 million on paper.

Before the lockdowns occurred, my husband was seldom home. He would leave for the office by 7:30 am and regularly stay until 9 pm. If it wasn't long hours in the office, it was business trips to see clients.

We have a two-year-old who has barely seen him. It made me so sad.

Now that my husband is forced to work from home, I'm happier because he gets to play with our son more and help out more around the house. It's still hard to get him to make time given the business is now under stress. However, it's so much better having him at home than not.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind if the lockdown lasts for another 3-6 months. Toddlers grow up quick. Being able to share our toddler's milestones will be priceless.

For people who are in strong support of longer lockdowns, I stand with you. Stay home and save lives!

7) 56-year-old retiree with a ~$8 million net worth.

If the stock market didn't rebound off its lows, I'd be much more in favor of opening up the economy quickly. But since the stock market is looking to recapture its all-time high thanks to tremendous government stimulus, I support continued lockdowns.

Think about it. If we can save lives by staying at home, not have to work as much while still getting paid, receive government support, spend more time with family, and not see our investments plummet, supporting an extended lockdown makes sense.

I'm using this time to learn about baking sourdough bread. I'm also catching up on all these books I promised to read but haven't. Let's continue to shelter in place until there is a cure.

workers who could work from home by income

8) Preschool teacher who used to make $65,000 a year.

I'm by far the poorest person here. But thanks to unemployment benefits, I'm able to make about 80% of my full-time salary without having to work. Teaching 2-5 year-olds is stressful. Not only that, I was constantly sick.

Since the lockdowns began in March, I haven't been sick. My immune system is healing after so many years of strain. If called upon, I will go back to work before the enhanced unemployment benefits runs out. But, I'm happy to keep supporting our essential works and fighting the virus by staying at home.

In the meantime, I finally started my own website. It feels great learning about design and utilizing all these features the internet has to offer for free.

9) Journalist who makes $120,000 while working from home.

Lucky for us, traffic to our website has boomed as people have become addicted to the news. As they say in news industry, “if it bleeds it leads.” The more fear-inducing the headline, the more people want to read it. It's like luring a moth to a flame. I feel for people losing their lives and livelihoods, but I'm thankful me and my colleagues are doing well.

Survival of the fittest, why people are OK with indefinitely lockdowns

Don't Rely On The Government

Hopefully, these examples have provided some perspective on why some people are OK with indefinite lockdowns. Although the livelihoods of lower-income workers and certain minority groups are being decimated by shelter-in-place extensions, a whole other portion of the economy is doing just fine.

I'm assuming that our politicians believe that stimulus checks, enhanced unemployment benefits, and PPP money should be able to support those who are suffering the most until the lockdowns end.

Further, the lockdown situation is ideal for politicians looking to gain more power by having more people depend on politicians for financial support. After all, if you can give over 50 million people enough money to survive comfortably without having to work, there's a good chance they may vote for you in the upcoming election.

The tricky thing is, what if there are no businesses or jobs to return to once the lockdowns and the elections are over? Politicians are bumping up against their power limits before citizens start revolting. Just like how airline counter staff don't announce another delay on an already delayed flight until the last minute, politicians are smart for doing the same with the lockdowns.

Be A Rational Citizen

As rational citizens, it is dangerous to rely too much on the government to survive. Governors and mayors unilaterally decided to destroy livelihoods by closing the economy for months. Instead, it's much better to rely on yourself. If the government so happens to send you some stimulus money or keep their Social Security promises when you're in your 60s, then great. If not, it won't matter because you never relied on them in the first place.

The more wealth you can build and the more defensive your income and wealth, the stronger you can support keeping the economy closed. We can do our part to support essential workers who do not have the luxury of staying at home.

After all, as the media, the politicians, and the wealthy like to say, “We're all in this together! “

I hope we find a middle ground. There is so much hope that we will finally get herd immunity with multiple efficacious vaccines. Therefore, the key is to NOT take too many risks and get sick before you get your vaccine or before herd immunity.

Stay safe, and protect the wealth you've recovered!

Readers, should we keep the shelter-in-place rules going until there is a cure? Why can't the rich understand why tens of millions of people want the economy to open sooner? After three months of lockdowns, what's wrong with a middle-ground where the young and healthy go back to work following new safety precautions and the sick and old stay home?


The New Three-Legged Stool For Retirement: You, You, And You

The Economy Or Maybe Your Life

165 thoughts on “Survival Of The Richest: Why Some Support Indefinite Lockdowns”

  1. This is America. They cannot force you to stay in your home! We live in a FREE COUNTRY PEOPLE! I can travel anywhere I want too you know why? Because this is a free country!! Don’t forget the Constitution and what it represents! Forget about money for a minute and remember where you live. In A country where you have rights!

  2. Has anyone realized that as more employees work from home that it is only a matter of time before corporations realize that Americans will not even be necessary? Might Covid be remembered as the driving force behind the offshoring of white collar jobs much like the opening of the Chinese economy was the catalyst in the exodus of blue collar jobs?

    1. For sure. With 40+ million unemployed and employees “working from home,” the stock market is partly marching higher due to the realization this many employees are not needed.

      I encourage all employees who still have their jobs to work extra hard during quarantine. Managers are deciding who to cut once quarantine is over.

  3. Yeah lockdown sucks only because I cannot see my family. We’re not allowed to do social visits, so an indefinite lockdown would be a problem. Haven’t seen them in 3 months despite living 20 minutes away. The only way to see them would be to run a risk of being arrested by police or army if you’re doing a non-essential task. Oh and no parks/camping/hotels/restaurants are allowed either, so no way around it other than to commit a crime.

    Otherwise, working from home an indefinite lockdown wouldn’t matter.

  4. We have insufficient data points to show if the lockdown was effective. Our response to the covid 19 was the equivalent of ducking your head to avoid getting hit, all the while not understanding what’s being fired.

    At this time and for the foreseeable future the success of the lockdown will remain unknown. What we do know are the devastating economic and mental health effects happening now.

    As for flattening the curve, I’ll be the contrarian and say that there is not enough evidence to show if the lockdown achieved this. And for those who say there is, show me causation and not correlation. For those who know Kahneman, show me system II thinking.

    This will not be the last pandemic in our lifetime and new viruses will appear with more virulence and pathogenicity. If anything we should be learning what works and what doesn’t.

    1. Agreed. The R0 appears to have peaked before the shutdowns, and so far the states that have re-opened have not had a surge in hospitalizations and deaths (in fact, they continue to drop). I also am shocked that people only seem to care about COVID-19 deaths, and ignore all the other ones caused by this or will be caused by this (suicide – one place said they were getting 10x as many attempts, alcoholism, drug overdose/abuse, stress/despair causing heart issues, etc).

      Additionally, the CDC’s latest death rates are only about 0.25%, and 0.05% for those under 50. We need to do a better job of protecting the elderly (who make up 85% of the deaths despite only 20% of the population) and less on worrying about 12 year old Johnny.

      Lastly, the government doesn’t have the money to cover the freebies. So we’re basically borrowing trillions of dollars from future generations to cover the biggest social experiment in human history. I predict history will not look well on the shutdowns at all, and I say that as someone who has fortunately kept my very well paying job and no immediate family who has lost their job.

  5. @Steve

    Your comment is well thought out except for one crucial fact. No one in India takes Hydroxychloroquine as a malaria prophylactic nor is it used as a cure. The strain of malaria in India has been resistant for many years. Unfortunately the number of cases are on the rise in India and labs in some states have been prohibited from conducting more than 150 tests per day; I’ve been told this is to ensure the official numbers remain low. The outflux of migrant workers during the lockdown has also become a huge problem as these workers return to their villages. As many of them have not been home in a long time they arrive to their villages and meet and greet everyone; the police in these areas are not preventing these contacts.

    1. Hi Alan,

      I didn’t make myself clear. I meant a prophylactic for coronavirus, not malaria. India has in fact approved it for prophylactic use in their country

  6. Common theme I noticed amongst those you asked…ALL of them want the country to stay locked down for their own selfish reasons. I own an executive search firm as a solopreneur. My gross income this year before taxes will end up somewhere between $500 – $600k. My overhead is a phone and a few software subscriptions to run my business. I was doing very well prior to the lockdown but this will be my best year ever and even I don’t want this country on lockdown anymore.

    As I drive through my area I see for lease signs and abandoned storefronts (saw 6 in a row the other day) the more this lockdown continues. I get calls everyday from candidates who are begging me to find them a job and the stories are pretty heartbreaking. If things don’t reopen soon, there won’t be enough tax revenue to support all these Democrat freebies – and then what?

    We did our job and flattened the curve. The hospitals were not overrun. Cuomo only used about 25% of the beds created in the makeshift hospital at the Javitz Center and the big boat parked out on the Hudson was hardly used. We now have a full stockpile of ventilators and masks. The purpose of the lockdown was never to make sure nobody ever caught the virus. That’s an impossible task with a novel virus like this. But politicians are now drunk on power and making life miserable for the majority of middle class workers.

    It’s well past time to open up and get the economy going. There will be three camps anyways…the fearfu (that will wear masks 24/7 and not leave the house), the cautiously optimistic (who will try to resume a normal life but follow the CDC guidelines), and the fearless (if I get the virus I’ll live).

    This is a virus that most of us have a 99% chance of surviving from. There was never a need to shutdown the world over it. India has 3x the population of the U.S. and only 3,720 deaths to date. They produce over 75% of Hydroxychloroquine worldwide and it is commonly taken in that country for malaria and used as a prophylactic. Could that be why their death numbers are so low? Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the media is trying to do everything they can to discredit the drug because Trump is/was taking it.

    At this point, lockdowns are PURELY political and serve no purpose other than to prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected in November.

    1. “At this point, lockdowns are PURELY political and serve no purpose other than to prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected in November.”

      Hmmm. Even in states with Republican governors?

      And now that all 50 states have begun re-opening?

  7. I find that the discussion of lockdown is really not even relevant in the United States. The first cases in the United States were officially reported in January although many now believe they may have been as early as late November/early December. Lockdowns were not even seriously discussed until March. The disease was allowed to spread for several months with zero control.
    Contrast this response with that of Mongolia. Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world but their capital is densely populated and has a population of 1.5 million. Even before their first case, the country listened to China and the WHO and took appropriate action. To date they have had 30 imported cases and zero deaths.

  8. I love how actors say we must stay in lockdown. I want to ask them if they want to donate their royalties to struggling actors who do not have a royalty deal with Netflix. My cousin’s acting career is pretty much over right now when he just started.

  9. It is interesting how the wealthy rarely if ever have to deal with the problems that affect the rest of us. They are able to stay at home and watch their wealth rise as the government provides them with a bailout through the subsidy bills. The rest of America receives a crappy check which will not even cover rent in much of the country. Wars overseas are fought by a volunteer military and even when there was a draft, the rich used deferments to avoid it.
    Maybe the time has come to instigate a draft (with no deferments, whatsoever) to create a pool of essential workers. The pool could even replace those busloads of Mexicans who are still arriving daily to perform mostly agricultural work.
    Of course I’m being sarcastic but if the wealthy were forced to leave their sanctuaries and actually work side by side with those who are truly keeping the economy afloat and continuing to provide a steady supply of food, I honestly believe we would not be in the situation we are now.

    1. I’ve noticed an anti-wealthy vibe from the country lately. What is your definition of wealthy in terms of income or net worth. Trying to decide if I am wealthy and evil, or still a man of the people.

  10. There are 3 types of national response to COVID

    1 – Government treating their citizens like adults – open and honest communication. All citizens understand and accept the risks and consequences.

    Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Sweden

    2 – Government treating their citizen like children – Many countries including US. Stay home Johnny! It’s dangerous out there.

    Subset – Bad parent trying to discipline unruly toddler throwing tantrums – United States.

    Our government feed us misinformation to cover their miss-steps. We did not have enough masks for healthcare workers. Instead of just saying that, they had to lie, tell us masks are not needed, even dangerous. I still remember the Sanjay Gupta CNN video 6 weeks ago. Also exaggerating the COVID danger posed to the young in order to scare the young adults into staying home and not infect the elderly.

    Los Angeles lockdown….

    – One woman I know is throwing a party of 30 guest because her son is sad because he won’t have a high school graduation.

    – Multiple people I know goto “underground” barber shops or hired in home hair, manicure and eyelashes services.

    – My friend kept visiting her mom in Orange county every weekend. Another 80 year old lady goes to supermarket 5 times a week. My buddy goes to Home Depot everyday.

    – A girl who was single before the lock down is somehow pregnant now.

    – Real estate investor cruising around with their business partner in the same car visiting their construction site where all the workers hammering away without mask when they were suppose to stop non essential work.

    – Lockdown protests at Huntington beach

    Literally only 1 out 20 people I know adhere to the home sheltering according to recommendation.

    3 – Government treating their citizens like animals – China, India, Jordan…etc. Lock them up, board up their doors, military police on the streets.

    I would have been ok with very strict lockdown for 3 weeks where you cut the chain of transmission then opening up gradually with social distancing as long as the government is honest about it. Most of my friends thought it was just a 2 week shut down. I told them this is not gonna be two weeks, it’s gonna be much longer. Then the state kept extending the lockdown and people get disillusioned and mistrustful of the government like the boy who cried wolf. Now we have a dog and pony show with everyone swimming is a cesspool of spit and saliva and disease along with record unemployment. Yes, it not a super deadly disease, but it sure is not pleasant to know this thing is circulating in your community.

  11. Sam: As a reader of several blogs in the FIRE movement, I’ve appreciated many of your posts, featuring great financial analysis and helpful, empowering examples of how you’ve made financial decisions based on that analysis. This post is a glaring exception. Before venturing outside of your area of expertise – finances – and into politics, public health, and science, consider applying the same level of thoughtful analysis you put into your financial posts. When you don’t, as I believe happened here, sure, you may excite a few of your readers in inflammatory comment threads, but you will more likely lose credibility with the vast majority of your loyal readers – most of whom have reasonable common sense, compassion, and believe in the greater good – who now question your judgement, and will view all of your work with that lens. Hope you can get things back on track for the rest of us.

    1. Sharing different people’s stories is bad judgement? Get outta here. Staying in an echo chamber and not seeing different perspectives is why people are so clueless in America.

    2. 100% agree with this, Science. Sam has shown very unique insight in the past but I personally feel like his political lean has injected itself too much in his posts in the last year/year and half. I see this website now as more of a niche blog for the wealthy right on the west coast, which is totally fine, but the focus of which is too narrow for me personally.

      In this post, these “profiles” (anecdotes which could be made up or embellished for all we know) are pushed as evidence to drive home the inflammatory narrative he wants. Sam, you realize that lower-income workers and “certain minority groups” you claim to care about are being kept afloat by PUA too, right? Their livelihoods were being systematically decimated long before shelter-in-place extensions. The anecdotes I have in the midwest, which include many middle/lower-middle class individuals, respect the public health and scientific reasoning behind stay-at-home orders. It’s not just the rich who want to keep the shelter-in-place rules and to imply so is grossly misinformed.

      1. Hi Elliot – Can you share what is my political lean? I encourage folks to not depend on the government to achieve financial freedom. If there is gov’t support, great. If not, it doesn’t matter b/c you didn’t depend on it in the first place.

        I understand it’s tough to accept and see different points of views. It’s one of the reasons why many Americans born and raised only speak one language and most don’t have passports. As a result, there’s a lack of appreciation for the world and how great our country is.

        But I encourage you to keep an open mind and see the other side of the equation. We already know there is massive devastation with unemployment and businesses closed. To keep highlighting the devastation is beating a dead horse b/c the mass media does this everyday for months now.

        Folks want to know why the stock market is booming again, despite all the devastation. This article may explain why.

        I’d love to profile your viewpoint. Also, I’m working to profile different points of view from those who want to open up the shelter-in-place ASAP to save lives and livelihoods.


        1. Hey Sam thanks for your response. The lean I’ve noticed is more conservative/libertarian. I don’t want to make assumptions or reduce you to a political identity but it’s just something I’m seeing creep in to more of your posts. You do you though, I just find that it reduces the credibility in some of your posts. I acknowledge and understand the differing points of view on a basic level that reopening the economy = increase in economic prosperity. This flawed and oversimplified logic appeals to certain groups of people who are financially struggling but it’s unfortunately more complex. I reject the view that prematurely reopening the economy during the spread of a highly contagious virus will result in an economic rebound that so many assume will occur.

          The lack of a national plan and preparation due to amateur leadership gives way to almost total reliance on local governments which complicate everything. Inconsistent plans to safely re-open will slow public confidence no matter how bad they want to return to work. The economy won’t magically transform until people feel safe. No level of denying or discrediting public health and scientific experts in the name of freedom or liberty will change that fundamental reality. People won’t feel safe if/when a second wave hits and further decimates communities, necessitating another lockdown and even greater economic hardship than before. But that seems to be the way some states are heading.

          The virus doesn’t discriminate between those who appreciate the exceptionalism of America and those who don’t. As the recovery and infection data changes I will always keep an open mind about the viability of safely re-opening. My wife and I run a small short term rental business and would LOVE for the travel economy to rebound but not at the cost of exposing more people to the virus.

          I agree we shouldn’t rely on government to achieve financial freedom; I don’t think many do. I do believe that first world governments should provide some degree of a safety net for its citizens and this pandemic has made it clear how critically important the existing aid has been for millions of people. Prematurely reopening the economy may increase livelihood for some, including myself, but to imply that it will “save lives” is devastatingly untrue, at least as of right now.

          1. What type of short term rental? Property? If so, how’s that going?

            What type of political leaning would you like me to be and write about? Also, feel free to share me more about yourself.

            The good thing about financial freedom is the freedom to do as I please. Not sure if that makes me a libertarian, but it feels great.

  12. spaceassassin

    Boy did this turn into a hot mess, Sam.

    The government shuts things down and begins implementing restrictions and everyone goes bonkers. Same thing happened after 9/11–the government restriction part, that is. Anyone see any planes in the air on September 12? The difference? The Government understood the cause of 9/11, developed a cohesive, nation-wide response and loosened/tightened restrictions in a much more swift and meaningful way.

    With COVID-19? The Government was/is clueless.

    Researches are still debating if masks are effective or not–months later.

    The efficacy of of potentially life-saving or life-ending drugs are being debated and touted on open television.

    States, Counties, and Cities are adhering and ignoring various parts of each others conflicting orders.

    Federal and State governments are openly competing for life-saving PPE equipment.

    Its a total mess. That is the reason why we are all in this state of chaos debating what we should do right now because no one is taking the lead, controlling the response, putting together a cohesive, nation-wide plan (even if that includes letting states develop their own protocols to some extent), and implementing that plan.

    I fully support any cohesive plan that results in the least amount of damage, both socially and economically. And I won’t pretend I am capable of developing that plan on my own. But if that plan includes closures for another month? fine. two months? fine. a year? so be it. We will get through it–humans are amazingly resilient and adaptable.

    1. Wow, you hit it on the head. I have houses in Illinois and Wisconsin and travel between them. Remarkably different attitudes – Illinois is locked down, masks required, non-essential business closed, … Wisconsin as of last week is going back to “normal” – no masks, big groups at bars and restaurants, water-parks opening up …

      I think the US is in the worlds largest social experiment. Not to be too political, but a total amateur leading the nation through one of the most difficult crisis.

      1. David–

        I’m in WI too, and the differences even in between counties have to be seen to be believed. It’s a testament to how fractured we are both as a state and as a nation.

  13. So much we don’t know about this virus. I was sick with it for 5 weeks, yes 5 weeks. After two weeks of feeling almost normal the last two days I feel sick again. It feels just like when I had it. I’m in my mid-40’s and what I thought was good health. So it not just the elderly. You can either have no symptoms, “mild” symptoms (which is severe for something else) or be in the hospital. So you are rolling the dice.

    Testing is not reliable. I had 3 negative tests, two swabs and a blood test. I had the symptoms to a T. So how can you have people go back to work based on a test that you’re not sure is accurate?

    On the financial side I had my hours cut 20%, so that doesn’t qualify me for unemployment. So its not just people out of work, which I am fortunate to not be, but also reduced incomes. So I’m not spending on anything other than food or essentials.

    From the little I’ve spent outside social distancing seems to go out the window once you open things up. There has to be a balance in opening things up, but know that if you don’t do it responsibility you’re rolling the dice with you’re health.

    1. Jim, did you get a 4th test which turned out positive? It is unclear from your comment how you know you had the coronavirus.

      It feels that if one doesn’t feel well, then one shouldn’t go to work, regardless of the test results. Of course, some jobs are more flexible than others. I assume employers will absolutely not pressure employees to ever come to work when feeling ill, ever again.

      I felt that pressure a lot during my finance days from 1999 – 2012.

      1. I had all the virus symptoms while I was sick. After 7 days I went to the ER, because of my breathing, but they wouldn’t test me. I needed to have severe shortness of breath. I finally got a nasal swab at the 2 1/2 week mark which was negative. I continued to have symptoms so I went back a the 4 week mark and again another negative swab test. At the 5 week mark, which I was on the tail end, I got the blood test. Which came back negative.

        Now I know with the 3 negative tests, you’d think that I never had the virus. However, I can assure you I’ve never been sick like this and all the symptoms are exactly as how they describe. There have also been many reports recently on the new with false negative results and bad tests.

        So my point is that you can’t rely on a test that will tell you if you had the virus for certain especially if you never had symptoms. Because in my case I did have them and still a negative test, which isn’t reassuring if people are using that as a metric to go back to work.

        1. Got it. Congrats for being negative!

          I’m assuming with your symptoms you would self quarantine anyway, regardless of the test result right?

          The social pressure of coughing or sneezing in public would be immense?

          1. The negative test doesn’t actually mean I’m negative, which is what I was trying to convey. The tests aren’t accurate. You can be positive regardless of what the test says. Doctors don’t know much about immunity either even if you have antibodies. They HOPE you have some immunity, but no one know for sure and for how long.

            Yes, I went by the assumption that I have it based on the symptoms. Luckily I’ve had someone shop for me and the few times I ventured out I used a masks, etc.

            1. Gotcha. So perhaps tests are a total waste of time given people will still believe they have COVID-19 even after 3 negative tests and vice versa.

              It would be nice if I also got COVID-19 between Dec 2019 – Feb 2020 so I hopefully have a greater chance of being immune. I was sick during that time. I wonder if people should just say they had COVID-19 despite the negative tests to improve their chances of getting a job, their mental state, etc.

            2. Maybe you had the flu? People seems to take the flu lightly as they often confused the common cold for it.

            3. @hansen – The flu doesn’t last 5 weeks. I’ve had the flu and its nothing like it. When you typically get a cold or flu, you start feeling sick, then its full blown and you start to get better. This is different… you’ll feel normal for like 2 days and then it comes right back at you. This happened like 6 times, when I thought I was getting better. That’s how I know

  14. nofreelunch

    One thing for sure, a voter who is mad about the restrictions will make a more motivated voter than otherwise. The longer this goes on, their numbers will probably grow. My guess is they will take out their frustrations the most on state and local politicians.

    1. Same goes for those voters who are angry at their politicians for recklessly putting the public health of their community in danger. My guess is they will vote too.

      1. Do you mean the progressive bloc that was mad at Trump for putting restrictions on travel to/from China?

  15. I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that “lockdowns” were misguided and what we really needed to do was focus our energy on providing the most resources possible for the very vulnerable members of our society. What good is a lockdown if it still means that an 80-year-old grandma still needs to go to the store to buy toilet paper because she doesn’t have anyone nearby to take care of her needs?

    I think we should reopen with caution and focus our resources on protecting the most vulnerable until we get a vaccine.

    I’m fearful that we are instead heading for a reality of massive civil disobedience which will likely lead to even fewer resources and energy to protect the most vulnerable as governmental attention is instead focused on asserting power and control to keep the least vulnerable in line.

  16. I can’t stand these debates about the shutdowns because there’s only ever two narratives:

    1) “We NEED to stay shut down as long as possible! The economic sacrifices are worth it because you can always just MAKE MORE MONEY! We can always just #cancelrent. But let’s stay locked down as long as possible because we ain’t gonna #DieForTheDow! F*** CAPITALISM!”

    2) “REOPEN THE ECONOMY NOW! The coronavirus is a Democratic HOAX designed to destroy the economy to take down President Trump! Our freedoms are being violated and we ain’t gonna stand for it no more! We ain’t gonna sacrifices our liberties for your pwecious widdle FEELINGS!”

    This is more or less both sides of the shutdown debate, which is ridiculous because both those who want to reopen the economy and those like me who think the shutdown should continue see legitimate large scale issues with taking either route.

    Keeping the economy shut down is essentially a death sentence for so many people. Not just low income, but even middle class people living paycheck to paycheck. I think something like 40% of the American people are $400 away from financial ruin? As far as I’m concerned, that’s the statistic that defines America. Millions of people die from poverty every year. We don’t recognize it because “poverty” doesn’t show up on a coroner’s report, but I’d wager the vast majority of deaths in this country are poverty-related in some way, from exposure to the elements due to homelessness or malnutrition-related health issues all the way up to death from poor conditions at a job that someone couldn’t leave or being trapped in a household with domestic abuse. The next Walmart employee to get trampled to death by a Black Friday crowd? That’s death by poverty, whether you like it or not. Shuttering businesses and denying an income primarily to low income and middle class workers won’t just lead to less consumer spending, but an increase in full on poverty and even death.

    Yet reopening the economy is probably even worse. We like to pretend that the coronavirus isn’t out there still and hasn’t killed 85,000+ people in about 3 months, but it is and it has. We’re about to hit 90,000 deaths. That’s THIRTY 9/11s! That’s if 9/11 wasn’t a day, but a whole friggin’ month! The people protesting in front of capital buildings with guns and no masks, let’s be honest, don’t care and don’t take this seriously. It’s an infectious disease that spreads in secret because you may not even be exhibiting symptoms yet. Reopening the economy in a nation full of people who don’t take this threat and honestly couldn’t care less how many people died so that they can sit in a crowded Red Lobster will just lead to tens of thousands of more deaths. NEEDLESS deaths. And let’s not pretend that if we do open the economy, it won’t be a decision made by the wealthy political elite at the behest of the wealthy corporate elite, all of whom will not be the ones out there risking infection. It will be young, low income workers most at risk.

    What irritating is that there’s an easy fix that satisfies both solutions. If the fact that people don’t have incomes and can’t pay their rent is the problem with shutting down the economy, then the government should just provide everyone an income. More and more people are calling for an Emergency Universal Basic Income. Imagine if everyone got enough to pay their food and housing costs and the like, no means-testing or anything like the stimulus checks. Monthly payments until the pandemic was over (or at least controlled enough where we can safely go back to work). Then you can shut down the economy without most of the negative effects of shutting down the economy. Since the issue with shutdowns is that people lose their incomes, that takes care of the income issue and you can shut down the economy safely. Plus, people will have money to spend when the economy finally reopens, which is not the case right now since everyone’s incomes have taken a hit. It’s also better than cancelling rent, since then you’ll have to bail out the landlords.

    It’s a way better idea than all the crap these “stimulus” packages have had. All juggling things around as if this were 2008 (you can’t approach a recession caused by the physical inability of workers to work the same way you do prior ones where the capital wasn’t in the right place to provide work to those otherwise ready workers), none of these recent packages do anything. I just posted an article on my blog today about all the blunders of the Paycheck Protection Program. You could have done an Emergency UBI for so much cheaper than any of these other half measures. Even if you had to inflate the money supply to do it (ugh), it’s still better than just cutting off everyone’s incomes and hoping people suddenly come up with the money to pay their rent via demonic sacrifice or something (that never earns more than $200).

    But the government either isn’t smart enough to do that or simply doesn’t care if you go poor. So let’s just get back to accusing each other of wanting tens of thousands of people to die in the streets.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

      1. Also, lay-off freezes so that we don’t have hordes of people losing their health insurance. Other countries are doing that too, not because of health insurance since their government provides it, but because it’s easier to restart the economy when the time comes.

    1. Yep- I agree the current discussion is very dysfunctional and not fact-based. Also agree that the current federal approach to economic support is very inefficient and patchwork. Other countries are simply reimbursing companies for some or all of their payroll costs; it’s cheaper, more efficient and less disruptive than all of our various loan/unemployment packages. And now they are talking about payroll tax cuts as a solution again– as if that will help anyone who needs it.

      I also think there’s confusion as to the purpose of the “lockdowns”. It was to give the healthcare system time to ramp up and prepare. I give credit to my county for putting together a dashboard showing the various metrics they need to achieve before re-opening (PPE, contract tracers, etc). That makes a lot of sense- but something like this should’ve been done at the national level and clearly communicated. I dont think anyone is *seriously* advocating keeping the economy closed until the virus is erradicated.

      A side effect of all the uneven and confusing response is that people are pretty spooked. That doesn’t bode well for the economic recovery when things do re-open across the country; many people won’t just got out and resume “normal” life immediately.

    2. Are you ready to increase taxes to 60% of income to pay for universal income? Most middle class workers don’t make much extra with the current tax structure. Second, you’re promoting a culture of laziness. Now no one has to hustle to make a living…they can just sit at home. Note, we have a social net, it’s called Welfare.

      1. I used to think the same thing when I first heard about UBI. Then I read about it. And doing so, I learned that what I thought about it–and, coincidentally, everything you just said–is wildly untrue.

        Regarding increasing taxes to 60%, that’s not a thing. Permanent UBI proposals by modern proponents have funding mechanisms which rely primarily on consolidating means-tested welfare into the program, a Value Added Tax, relying on the additional tax revenue on new business generated from the additional consumer spending, and the cost savings on poverty-related spending, as well as ancillary funding mechanisms such as carbon taxes and financial transaction taxes (side note: A “carbon fee and rebate” is one proposal to fight climate change and alleviate poverty, and I believe it was a conservative think tank that proposed it initially). While I did read one proposal that would eliminate the standard deduction, even in that plan, the UBI received would be 4x as much as the new taxes paid for a middle class worker.

        The issue with funding comes on Emergency UBI plans that are designed specifically as temporary measures to tackle the coronavirus. To my knowledge, they primarily involve expanding the money supply, a measure that I do NOT like. However, the economic consequences of an economy that remains shut down with no universal income support is far more disastrous than the consequences of money printing at this point. So I oppose printing money for Emergency UBI less than I oppose shrugging our shoulders and doing complicated bailouts that always backfire.

        As for your point about a culture of laziness, this is wildly untrue and quickly becomes apparent the moment a base level of common sense is applied (which, I will admit, I didn’t apply myself when I first heard of UBI as I too thought we’d all become lazy if we got it). For permanent UBI proposals, the amounts of $1,000 and $1,200 per month have been the most mainstream and common numbers thrown out there. No one is living off that amount. Even a pair of roommates or a married couple making that much each will find it difficult to live a comfortable life without the shame of being so far behind their peers, assuming they can even live on that amount. My own housing costs alone are just over $1,250/month, so relying solely on UBI for me would be literal homelessness. So the idea that we can all just sit at home just doesn’t work in the face of the economic (and social) realities of living in this country.

        You mentioned welfare. THAT promotes not working, primarily because of the means-testing. If you disincentivize people to work, people will not work. In many cases, underemployed recipients can’t take promotions or extra hours because the amount that they’d lose in benefits is greater than the amount they’d earn in extra pay. It’s a safety net, and a terrible one at that because so many people fall through it. I read something like less than 20% of the people who have been identified as in need of housing benefits actually receive them. UBI is better because it doesn’t disincentivize work by punishing people who do so, and no one (particularly those in need) is excluded. It’s less of a net and more of a higher floor. It’s also cheaper to administer.

        Emergency UBI is a little bit different because you WANT to provide enough to give people the incentive to NOT work when there’s a virus that’s killed almost 90,000 people in three months and likely no vaccine in sight. That’s why you see amounts like $2,000/month get thrown out by UBI proponents. Generally speaking, that amount is not being proposed for permanent UBI proposals. Remember that the circumstances and resulting dynamics of an Emergency UBI are far different than those of a permanent one.

        As far as “hustling” to make a living, I mean I just came off a job where I worked 50-55 hours per week every week for almost a year. I could have stayed on unemployment, but I took a job recently with a lower take home pay because I want to work (and work remotely. YAY!). So it’s not about not wanting to “hustle” or work; it’s about wanting an improved capitalist system that works for everyone.

        And one final thing regarding work and UBI, there’s been a ton of studies and experiments done on the subject. Even the “failed” Finland experiment had its full results come out a couple weeks ago. Guess what? No decrease in employment. Though these studies in aggregate do show various results such as decreases in things like financial stress, strained personal benefits, likelihood of drug abuse, domestic violence, and crime. But more importantly to the context of what we’re saying, no decrease in employment.

        So we were both wrong (you now, and me about a year and a half ago). The idea that UBI promotes a “culture of laziness”? Debunked by actual data. And again, by common sense once you really sit down and think about it.

        ARB–Angry Retail Banker

        1. Excellent post! Hope you hang around here to bring some common sense (and data driven) points of view into the conversation. I’d like to believe the US could implement something as rational as UBI instead of our crazy ineffective patchwork of safety net programs hat currently exist. Sadly, I’m skeptical that politics will allow it to happen.

  17. Elizabeth C.

    The economy needs to open up ASAP because the longer this goes on, the more long term bad effects will pop up such as food shortages, medicine shortages, etc. And that will effect all these rich people too who are WFH and stacking up their investment portfolios right now. And to all the people who may be milking the $600 a week and hoping the government will extend that: There is only so much money in the unemployment funds and the government can only print so much money before things start to go sideways and the U.S. could end up in a huge long term pickle. I feel the death rate of this virus has been exaggerated and the media has downplayed the fact that mostly the elderly who already had many organ systems compromised are at most risk (and they probably would have died from regular flu too). I also feel that most people cannot seem to accept the fact that the older you get the more at risk you are to die anyway! Also, nursing homes are the end of the road usually for most folks. Now that every nursing home will be sued into the next century nobody will be able to afford them and then there will be a collective outcry when you realize you have to change grandpa’s diaper for the next 5 years because he can’t die of anything when you call an ambulance for every little thing . . .

  18. Sam, now you need a post with interviews from the other side of the equation — people who, like your cartoon, are sinking.

    (We aren’t…but that’s because we tend to plan ahead for anything, and took our normal precautions. We don’t make anything like your wealthy interviewees, though.)

    I am puzzled by the unevenness in what’s allowed to stay open — and what isn’t. we live in Colorado. Retail stores are open (with strong suggestions to wear masks), but churches are not. (Must be 10 people or less!) And I’m supposed to believe that the retail stores keep less than 10 people inside at a time?? Because they don’t.
    Hair salons and tattoo parlors are open. (Wouldn’t they have more up-close-and-personal contacts with people?) But restaurants are not??
    I don’t get it.

  19. There has been poor communication of the purpose of lockdowns and mission creep from “flatten the curve” to “eradicate the virus” in some places. Also, data from China showed the virus killed 5% of infected, but we now know this was due to severe undercounting of cases. Still, NYC shows it is a lot above 0.1%. So, people are arguing based on these different perceptions.

    My wife has been in some Chinese social media bubble where they are all paranoid about the virus…

    Here in Australia the lockdown pretty much killed the virus off. So we are lucky and don’t really have the same debate now about opening, though it is going pretty slowly. We will just suppress any breakouts with test/trace/quarantine. After that we can form “travel bubbles” with countries with similar conditions, until there is a vaccine or effective treatment available.

  20. RatherBeFreeThanRich

    This lock-down has benefitted my spouse and me financially, but I am still very much against this lock-down. I am a pharmaceutical executive, and my spouse is in the tech industry. Both our companies’ revenues are off the charts during this lock-down, and our normal spending on vacations and retail goods are so low that the only thing we end up doing is invest.

    Regardless of the short-term benefit, I know that we would be missing the forest for the trees by gloating in our circumstance. My primary reason for being against the lock-down is based on the sanctity of individual liberty. There are so many other reasons for being against the lock-down, e.g., economic, social, etc., but the impact on civil liberties is so flagrant that no other reason comes close. My spouse and I may be getting richer and richer this year, but I see due process being completely obliterated. The history of the United States has been based on a certain amount of common good being sacrificed in exchange for individual rights. This is the reason we have due process and a criminal justice system that requires a unanimous jury to convict someone as guilty. Some criminals will slip through the cracks and endanger society, but the sacredness of due process is so great that this sacrifice is warranted.

    In the interest of public health, we have effectively become imprisoned in our homes (with certain allowances such as groceries, exercising, etc.) without due process. With the lock-down end date being continuously extended to an indefinite future, the possibility of due process at a later time is also dwindling. We no longer have freedom of assembly, association, or travel. Due process places the burden on the government to evidence that a person has contracted the virus before restricting the person’s movement. The person would have an opportunity to contest the finding either now or at a later time if exigent circumstances call for a delay in procedural due process. Further, when the government restricts a fundamental right, the restriction must undergo strict scrutiny by the courts.

    What I see right now are Americans being restricted from a fundamental right, and most people are not batting an eye. People are not demanding due process or strict scrutiny by the courts. Everyone is instead saying “Look at the science!” Assuming the science is real, does that warrant taking away due process? Isn’t freedom just as important as life? While freedom of assembly and movement is a fundamental right, freedom of being virus-free is not. Why are we exchanging a fundamental right for a non-fundamental one without asking the question about due process?

    My spouse and I may be getting wealthier, but no amount of money is worth my freedom of movement, even during a pandemic. Unless the government can meet its burden to prove that I am an undue risk to others in society, let me decide for myself whether to assume my own risk in going outside. I am part of an at-risk population for Covid-19, but the thought of other people being restricted in their movement for my sake is ludicrous. We each assume our own risk, and this is the price of liberty, which is something our forefathers fought so hard for and that which we should be fighting for with everything we have.

    Despite the fact that we have lost nothing financially, despite the fact that being seen among the protesters would do us more harm than good socially and career-wise, and despite the fact that we are increasing our chances of contracting Covid-19 by being in a crowded environment, my spouse and I will be attending the next scheduled demonstration downtown, fighting for the liberty that we so strongly believe in. I would have never thought that the first demonstration I attend in my lifetime would be one in which I fight for individual liberty. I thought that fight was won long ago.

    1. Christine Minasian

      Wow! You said it well! My husband and I are, like your family, becoming wealthier due to business, etc. But we’re quickly finding out- why have more money when you can’t do the fun things in life, ie: travel, see friends, buy art work/dinners to enjoy with your friends, etc. Freedom is priceless we’ve found! We have a 2nd home in Florida we are going to a lot- they are doing just what you recommend: “enter at your own risk”.

    2. Wholeheartedly disagree. Individual rights have also been scarified for common good – you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater even though you have the right to free speech. Name one person that has been detained or arrested due to the lock downs. They were merely suggestions, you could still travel and go where you want when you want.

      Compare them to the alternative – the government does nothing, lets the virus run wild and says “Yes, lots of you will get sick and many will die – good luck!”. Did any country try that? The federal government response was weak (at best) and chaotic, and the state responses were varied, but I fail to see any alternate motives other than to slow the progression of the virus and reduce the death count.

      We were unprepared this time, and hopefully next time there is a better plan and execution, but to complain you would rather have “freedom” and screw every else is a childish response.

      The virus is not over. You will have your chance at freedom as the lock downs end and see what effects the virus has. It will be with us for a while still.

      1. You are correct to a point. And built into your answer is “it is complicated.” I agree. These things are always a matter of degree. Where is your line? You wouldn’t shut down the country to save a single life from COVID, would you? How about a 100? A 1,000? Shutting down the country kills people too (suicide, failure to get routine health checks, starvation, etc.). This is well documented. You wouldn’t kill 500 to save 50 from COVID, right?

        Somebody tell me where the line is please. Is it 50,000 or 500,000 deaths. There is a line and nobody wants to admit it because they are intellectually dishonest. Calling it a “childish response” is ignorant. Politicians should pick the number of acceptable dead ahead of time. Then ban all human activities that could result in deaths over the line. Anything short of that is nonsensical if you care about saving lives. You are simply trading one life for another otherwise. The very definition of playing god. Why do politicians get to decide who lives and who dies in a free society? Why does a mayor? Why does a 30 something “health inspector” in a major city have that kind of power? Why do the “experts” get to pick winners and losers when the stakes are life and death?

        If someone suffering from depression kills themselves tonight because of the lockdown why is that death less important than a 90 year-old in a nursing home who dies of COVID? Show me the evidence that a worldwide shutdown of the economy kills LESS people than COVID. You can’t. It has never happened in modern society. I’ve yet to even see a “model” on how many it kills to shutdown the economy worldwide for three months.

        Why is that not being modeled by the same COVID modelers? You think it is zero? We know it isn’t. Is it 100,000…maybe. Is it 10,000,000? Prove to me it is not. If it ends up being more than those who died of COVID then all the folks advocating staying at home have blood on their hands? Of course not. But, this is why you let everyone make their own choice in the absence of hard data. There is hard data that yelling fire in a crowded theater for no reason puts people needlessly at risk. Neither you, nor I, have any idea what the unintended consequences of a lockdown will be. And neither does anyone else.

        1. RatherBeFreeThanRich

          I am so in agreement with you, “B says”. Your response makes me believe that at least some Americans see through the wool to recognize the slippery slope here. My last glimmer of hope is the courts, which are unlikely to rule that such a long and indeterminate lockdown can pass Constitutional muster under strict scrutiny standards. Regardless of the philosophical arguments that people make about the lockdown, we will eventually find out one way or another how this expansive lockdown withstands the Constitution.

          As a final comment, I’ll add that even in the middle of a pandemic, I see market forces at work in country-shopping. As much as I love my country and will stick around to advocate for what I believe is right (happy to have started some pro bono work on the side), like many of the economically privileged subscribers of FinancialSamurai, there is nothing forcing me to live in the US if the system becomes oppressive. The whispers I hear from close friends in similar situations reveal that I’m not alone in coming up with a few contingency plans. In all the years I have lived through national crises and recessions, I have not felt as much as I do now that a paradigm shift is taking place in the core values of Americans. Unfortunately, not everyone will have the option of just relocating to a less hostile country if or when America crosses a bright line.

        2. Life Expectancy in modern times is inversely correlated with how the economic is doing. The Great Depression and the Great Recession both saw increases in life expectancy. With the great recession we could even see regional variations, with death rates lower in areas with higher unemployment. Anecdotally, I know a fair amount of people who are exercising more (myself included). Lots less fast food being eaten, more meals cooked at home, less miles on the road, less time in dangerous hobbies and jobs. the US is a major agricultural exporter, and it makes up about 6% of our GDP. We can take a lot of economic loss before we’re talking about people going hungry. There’s obviously going to be tipping points, but the evidence is strong that we’re not talking about millions dead from a shutdown. Suicides are tragic, but are a very small sliver of total deaths, such that in the Great Depression the increase in suicides was more than offset by other factors.

          You could make a case that maybe the isolation is different this time, or whatever, but it’s a pretty gigantic leap to go from “historically this should decrease deaths, but I think it’s going to be 10 million excess dead”

          On the other hand, the best estimates look to be 1-1.5% mortality rate with a non-overwhelmed healthcare system. So if this takes off through the population, maybe 3 million dead? At least that number with serious medical complications that stay with them for the rest of there life? And we’re not talking about a healthy happy economy with that sort of disruption either.

          There are economic costs. Delayed retirements. People who had planned to travel in their retirements not having that opportunity. Fewer vacations, less stuff. There is a cost here. And it’s obviously not “indefinite closure” or “3 million dead”: America is starting to experiment now as see whether we can keep the infection rate down with more business and social distancing and masks. We’ll find out. So there’s a case to be made that the unhappiness of individuals isn’t worth the lives that will be lost. But it’s a weak argument to claim that lives won’t be lost, or that despite history, without any evidence, the shutdown is actually the thing costing lives.

    3. I think the right response is you have the right to move around as lo as you can guarantee not anybody else. It’s the same as the the right to flail your arms about as long as you don’t accidentally punch someone. Let’s say you own a 200 acre property – sure move around wherever you want to. Go to a crowded protest where you can potentially infect someone? Different story. A gray area would be you driving back and forth to your vacation home. Even then, you might get in a car accident, get transported to a hospital, and infect others there.

    4. Please look into who is organizing these demonstrations. My husband often says “you need a crazy person to lead a revolution”. But people who own confederate flags and have to be told to leave them at home cannot be who you throw in with. They don’t care about your liberty. This is a means to the other revolution they want. The disgusting white supremacy one. Alex Jones, the disgusting Sandy Hook denier, cannot be who you throw in with. There needs to be some standards of what concerned citizens are willing to do to protect their liberty. I have listed above only 2 examples of the reprehensible types of people organizing these demonstrations. Do your research and please don’t get sucked into the orbit of these types of people.

    5. Your circumstances and general outlook on these matters mirror our situation pretty closely. Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts!

    6. Your points are well-reasoned and nuanced- neither of which seem to exist in 2020 America.

      So you’ll go to the next rally with an armful of thoughtful points that beg further debate…and you’ll be drowned out by a bunch of Karens waving “I need a haircut!” signs, and people that decided playing soldier might be a fun way to spend the afternoon. The signal will be lost in the noise.

      Best of luck just the same.

  21. As a nurse working at a public hospital I felt the need to chime in. While the economic toll has been staggering and devastating to many in this country. It is worthwhile to keep in mind the root cause, which is a highly infectious virus. While it is true that the mortality rates are very high among the elderly it is often not mentioned in news outlets the serious nature of the level of illness in younger the 40-50 patient population. I have witnessed severe level of illness which has required ventilatory support and at times dialysis. Many Americans at younger ages have the comorbidies such as hypertension, some level of obesity, pre diabetes to diabetes. The goal of the shelter in places were to prevent the overrunning of health care systems which were seen in areas such as Italy and NYC. Our lack of PPE was a legitimate concern for health care workers. Many have become infected themselves. Everyday we are stressed for own health while trying to deliver compassionate and excellent care for our patients. I feel the states are trying to balance the needs of public safety and the economy. It is not an enviable job IMHO.

  22. I propose closing all businesses that are deemed essential including the stay at home workforce and opening all businesses that are currently deemed nonessential.
    Maybe we could alternate weeks. You can open grocery stores or the stock market on the first and third weeks of the month and restaurants and hair salons on the second and fourth weeks. Wouldn’t that be fair? We could become a glorious socialist nirvana. Let’s let the government decide. They are smarter and more caring than we are. They always tell the truth.

    In Washington state we have the great governor Jay Inslee. I’m sure if he tried he could run a business better than anyone. It’s his care and compassion that’s keeping me and my family alive. Plus, he likes whales. Who doesn’t love whales! He’s also helped the homeless situation immensely. The homeless are lonely, which isn’t fair, so he’s creating more homeless so they have friends. He also helped us realize that it’s important to spend time with your kids. Absolutely brilliant! I would have never thought that.

    If you don’t agree with what I said, well then your a heartless racist bigot.

    Sincerely, Bill

    1. How about taking personal responsibility? Anyone who doesnt agree with the lockdown is free to go out and do business. As long as they sign a pledge to not be treated by hospitals should they contract coronavirus along with their immediate family members.

      1. Why stop there? Let’s quarantine skinny people so they can’t get to McDonald’s. Let’s stop people with good driving records from being on the road so they don’t get injured. If anything happens to them, the hell with them. They should’ve known better. Let’s all sign a pledge for any behavior you disagree with.

        My guess is you don’t like whales

        1. You are all about freedom right? So why force anyone to do anything?
          Hey, if nurses/doctors don’t feel like treating people who defy lockdowns, it should be up to them!

          1. Ht, your first sentence says it all. Your all about freedom right? Yes I am! We have this thing called the constitution. It contains something called The Bill Of Rights. It basically allows us to be as stupid as we want. It has 10 ammendants. The very first amendment allows me to the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Do you think our government is listening or gives redress to our grievances? Is anyone listening to the 40 million unemployed? My bet is they have a few grievances. Maybe we just accept there are risks and we do our best to minimize them. Maybe we allow ourselves to take “ Personal Responsibilitiy” for our actions.

            Quite frankly, if doctors and nurses don’t want to treat us that is their choice.

            Why won’t you give the same choice to the forty million unemployed people in the country?

            1. Agreed. You are free to go out and do what you want so long as doctors are clearly informed that you are one of those nutcases and they have the option to not treat you and not face legal consequences.

      2. I would gladly sign this pledge with the caveat that the hospital can still treat me if they have open beds and doctors sitting around doing nothing. The overwhelming and vast majority of hospitals have less patients right now than they did before COVID. By vast I mean 99%.

        Also, I get to go before drug addicts (personal responsibility?), suicide attempts (personal responsibility?), drunk drivers, smokers, rock climbers, professional athletes, motorcycle riders, scuba divers, mountain bikers, …. and a few million other people for which I am much more careful than and less selfish.

        Will you also require every smoker in America to sign the same pledge before they light up? Eight MILLION die each year worldwide from smoking…with 1.2 MILLION being from secondhand smoke.

        Why are we not sheltering in place until we get smoking under control? This is a completely unnecessary activity that allows selfish people to kill over a MILLION innocent people per year. Where is your outrage? Where is MSNBC’s? Where is the WHO on this? What about the children? What about the elderly? Why are these deaths less important? The reason is that the American people are sheep right now. Captivated by dishonest politicians and the hysterical media.

        I haven’t heard one word about how secondhand smoking kills the exact same number of people as COVID. We can save the same number of people without destroying the economy. But we do nothing and have done nothing, worldwide, for 100+ years. We are “free people” when it comes to smoking, but not COVID? By all means, explain the difference to me. Explain to me why I can, right now, go to the store, by a pack of smokes…and smoke everyone one of them outside of a public playground without breaking a single law in the vast majority of countries and U.S. states?

        I guess COVID needs a good lobbyist if it wants to continue to kill.

        The “personal responsibility” argument is intellectually dishonest to say the least.

        1. Sorry, no caveats. Smoking deaths are factored into long term hospital resources and they don’t all fall sick at once.

          1. There it is. This is what has so many frustrated. Flatten the curve because of overwhelming hospitals, right? In many communities that has now become a complete non-issue. But, nevertheless, we remain locked down. It kills public trust and will make it very difficult to do this again politically. Of course, if Trump gets re-elected, he will have no political concerns and will simply refuse to lockdown at all next time. He also likely is getting re-elected now since so many blame democrats (rightly or wrongly) for us remaining locked down after we flattened the curve.

        2. The main differentiator here is how easily you can infect other people if you leave home and congregate in crowds. Yes you can do whatever you want to harm yourself – just like smoking. But just like smoking, there are already a lot of laws out there that prevents you from smoking indoors/in public spaces that will harm other people.

          1. I appreciate you making my point. If I have COVID, I should be restricted from infecting others because it spreads easily. If I am smoking (verifiable), I can be restricted as to where I can smoke (although not nearly as much as if I have COVID apparently). The problem is the government doesn’t know if I have COVID. They are restricting my freedom because I “might” have COVID. Well I “might” kill someone when I drive. I “might” do just about anything. We don’t restrict people in this country for things that “might” happen (at least it is not allowed under the constitution without Due Process). This is the entire point of Due Process. Due Process allows for a process to determine if you “did” do something. Due Process is also in place if you are mentally ill and “might” hurt yourself or others. A raving lunatic in the streets on meth screaming uncontrollably has a right to Due Process. How come I don’t right now? Particularly living in a city that has almost no COVID cases. What if I go get a test that says I don’t have COVID? It is readily available to me. What if I had COVID and now have antibodies preventing me from spreading the disease to anyone else? Can you still restrict me if I pose no threat to society and it is verified by the best science available?

            There also is no scientific evidence to support the fact that I probably have COVID. In my city there would less than a 1 in a 1000 chance that I have it. 1 in a 1000. You really want the government restricting your freedom based on a .001 percent probability that you pose a threat? That is insane IMHO.

            Again, I’m not talking about morality. I’m not talking about society making a collective and voluntary decision to stay home and wear masks to save the old and sick. I’m talking about the government forcing you to stay locked in your house based on a .001 percent chance that you cause another harm. I’m talking about the government tossing out freedom of assembly because of a .001 chance it is causing others harm. That is the definition of denying Due Process and it is unconstitutional.

            1. Don’t forget all of the liquor stores, marijuana dispensaries and junk food that has been available during the lock down. The government really cares about everyone’s health, it’s so obvious, especially the states that closed down their parks and beaches.

            2. First off, your math is wrong. A 1 in 1,000 chance is a 0.1 percent chance that you have the virus and can infect others. That’s 100 times higher than a 0.001 percent chance. Your two-orders-of-magnitude error greatly diminishes the impact of your argument.

              Secondly, smoking certainly can be lethal, including second-hand smoke, but it’s not a pandemic. Smoking does not spread exponentially, and it’s generally not something than can kill you in a few weeks. You have set up a “straw man” to attack, but it’s not reasonable to compare a pandemic to smoking, or driving, or junk food. The infectious nature of this virus, and the rapid mortality it can cause, are very, very serious.

              Thirdly, you continue to deny the legitimacy of the government‘s shelter-in-place order while in a declared state of emergency. This is simply based on your profound misinterpretation of our Constitutionally-protected freedoms. The civil liberties we all love are no where near as absolute as you portray, and there is over 200 years of case law, including from the Supreme Court, to prove me right. I would provide many links here, but “links in the comment body are not permitted.”

              From us “Most Americans think of civil rights and liberties as principles that protect freedoms all the time. However, the truth is that rights listed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are usually competing rights. Most civil liberties and rights court cases involve the plaintiff’s right vs. another right that the defendant claims has been violated.”

            3. Rich, it is a message board—not a legal brief. I’m only going to put in so much effort on the math. It is an extremely low probability given the number that have it in my state. Nobody knows the exact statistic—we just know the number is low based on sampling.

              I see, the fact that smoking kills you in years versus weeks makes all the difference? I’m sure those with dead family members make that distinction. Well, car crashes kill you faster than COVID. You drive? 1.25 million die each year in car accidents. Tons of them instantly.

              You say it is “exponential,” but that hasn’t been the case everywhere—including in places where they didn’t shelter in place at all. So could Newsom do what he did if it didn’t spread exponentially? Ebola doesn’t spread that way because it kills too fast. By your logic Newson can cause a lockdown for COVID, but not Ebola. Interesting. I bet he would disagree. Bottom line is you are willing to do whatever Newsom decides is best for you. Cool. I personally would never give that much power to a single person. Not a president, governor, or even a priest.

              I’m not the only one claiming it is unconstitutional. So I don’t think your 200 years of argument is going to hold up. Wisconsin agreed (based on its constitution for now). Oregon agrees. Texas AG agrees. You have no idea how the SC will rule on this issue. To claim you do with certainty is ridiculous and pompous. You have obviously never argued before a federal appellate judge (let alone the SC). I can assure you these issues are never that black and white. They are judge (or panel) dependent in nearly every case.

              Luckily Sam keeps this blog going. So when (not if) it gets ruled on, I’ll be man enough to admit I was wrong. I hope you will have the humility to do the same if it goes the other way.

            4. I’m not going to keep beating a dead horse here; it’s fine if we disagree on what civil liberties can be appropriately abridged during a state of emergency.

              I just want to point out that you are wrong re: Oregon: 4 hours ago their Supreme Court stayed the lower court’s ruling that overturned the governor’s shelter in place order. The Oregon Supreme Court has bought themselves some time to study the situation.

              I’ll be the first to admit that these are not easy decisions, balancing civil liberties with public health with economic devastation. However, my argument is that, in almost all cases, the rulings of the courts will ultimately side with the governors, as long as the emergency orders are based on public health metrics and do not continue indefinitely.

              If I’m wrong, of course I’ll admit it.

              In summary, we are seeing an overreaction on the part of a few, based on a misplaced sense of entitlement. These are not some random restrictions placed on our civil liberties; we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, and we have no idea how serious this situation could become. The second wave could be far, far worse than the first.

            5. Rich, I’m not wrong about Oregon at all. My point was actually well made by what happened. A judge in Oregon ruled it was unconstitutional. Are you a judge? You are pretty big on giving power to the executive branch, but not so much the judiciary? The fact that another judge disagreed doesn’t change the fact that a sitting judge found the order unconstitutional. Also, the Oregon SC didn’t disagree at all. They just stayed the order. Very common. They may well agree with the lower court yet. Even if they don’t, the SC may agree with the lower court (appellate and state SC courts are overruled all the time). That is how it works. Very weird you would take that set of circumstances and announce I got it “wrong.“

              An overreaction based on a “few”? You really think only a “few” disagree with you on the stay at home orders? Wow. The owner of this blog disagrees with you. The President and all of his tens of millions of supporters disagree with you. Constitutional scholars disagree with you. World renowned Stanford doctors disagree with you. The entire audience of Fox News disagrees with you. You think more people in this country watch MSNBC at night or Fox News? Google it.

              I’m not saying I support every nut job COVID denier out there. But to think your views are shared by nearly every singe American is delusional. Your views aren’t even shared by most of the people commenting on this blog.

  23. Northwest Islander

    I am not nearly as affluent as those described in this post, but I still consider myself affluent. I have a low 7-figure net worth and I can WFH. My employment is solid. Frankly working from home has been great for me. But I still support re-opening *responsibly* for the good of the broader country.

    WHERE in God’s name is the PPE and supporting infrastructure that we need to open responsibly? WHY are Americans relegated to improvising low-efficacy masks from bandannas and T-shirts when we are 3 months into this mess? WHERE are the N95 masks, available and/or distributed to all who desire to wear one?

    My questions are most rhetorical, of course. China is hoarding all the PPE, and I don’t blame them especially given our current central government’s inability to muster basic diplomacy for the good of its citizens. But we have had plenty of time to ramp a domestic solution for effective masks. We haven’t. We aren’t even trying. Instead we are throwing up our hands and saying “well, time to get back out there.”

    NO. People should be empowered with safe and effective <$1 masks so we can start re-opening. How embarrassing that we can't manage such a simple, inexpensive, and straightforward path to mitigation and public safety.

  24. Rich, poor, or in the middle…everyone should care about living in a free country. In a free country you get to do what you want …. within reason. If you want to risk getting a virus, you should be allowed to do so (we are free to take bigger risks…including…you know…driving). I mean seriously, we allow smoking in the U.S. with known issues with second-hand smoke. Also, if you want to risk getting sued for opening your business too soon, you should be allowed to do so. The idea that some mayor gets to decide my personal freedom is offensive. Food, medicine, … it can all be delivered these days. If you want to “shelter-in-place” for five months…knock yourself out. I don’t care what you do. You want to wear a mask, that’s cool too. Wear a hazmat suit if that makes you feel safe. Just don’t tell me what to do. You live your life and I’ll live mine. Until there is evidence I have a contagious disease (or an extremely high probability based on science that I have one) nobody should be allowed to curtail the freedom afforded to me by the Constitution. This nonsense is going to get crushed in the courts and never happen again. It is the price we pay for living in a free society…and no…it is not too high.

    I’ve benefited financially from the lock-down. I couldn’t care less. It isn’t worth it. Freedom should be protected at all cost (including at the cost of human life). It has always been that way…and at least for some us…it always will be. I’ll trade mine, my families, and your life gladly to remain in a free country. Just like those that sacrificed before us. If you don’t like it, move to a communist country that better suits your belief system. We are not governed in this country by “consensus.” It is not majority rule when it comes to certain rights. You don’t get to vote on my personal freedom. Blue state, red state, blue city, red city…doesn’t matter…they are all superseded by the Constitution. That’s why we have interracial marriage, abortion, guns, etc. All unpopular with a “consensus” at one point (or currently). Makes no difference.

    Those of you “voting” for a lockdown because of a perceived benefit (time with kids, money, etc.) have no appreciation (in my humble opinion) for what you are giving up long-term.

    1. RatherBeFreeThanRich

      I agree whole-heartedly with “B says.”

      This lock-down has benefitted my spouse and me financially, but I am still very much against this lock-down. I am a pharmaceutical executive, and my spouse is in the tech industry. Both our companies’ revenues are off the charts during this lock-down, and our normal spending on vacations and retail goods are so low that the only thing we end up doing is invest.

      Regardless of the short-term benefit, I know that we would be missing the forest for the trees by gloating in our circumstance. My primary reason for being against the lock-down is based on the sanctity of individual liberty. There are so many other reasons for being against the lock-down, e.g., economic, social, etc., but the impact on civil liberties is so flagrant that no other reason comes close. My spouse and I may be getting richer and richer this year, but I see due process being completely obliterated. The history of the United States has been based on a certain amount of common good being sacrificed in exchange for individual rights. This is the reason we have due process and a criminal justice system that requires a unanimous jury to convict someone as guilty. Some criminals will slip through the cracks and endanger society, but the sacredness of due process is so great that this sacrifice is warranted.

      In the interest of public health, we have effectively become imprisoned in our homes (with certain allowances such as groceries, exercising, etc.) without due process. With the lock-down end date being continuously extended to an indefinite future, the possibility of due process at a later time is also dwindling. We no longer have freedom of assembly, association, or travel. Due process places the burden on the government to evidence that a person has contracted the virus before restricting the person’s movement. The person would have an opportunity to contest the finding either now or at a later time if exigent circumstances call for a delay in procedural due process. Further, when the government restricts a fundamental right, the restriction must undergo strict scrutiny by the courts.

      What I see right now are Americans being restricted from a fundamental right, and most people are not batting an eye. People are not demanding due process or strict scrutiny by the courts. Everyone is instead saying “Look at the science!” Assuming the science is real, does that warrant taking away due process? Isn’t freedom just as important as life? While freedom of assembly and movement is a fundamental right, freedom of being virus-free is not. Why are we exchanging a fundamental right for a non-fundamental one without asking the question about due process?

      My spouse and I may be getting wealthier, but no amount of money is worth my freedom of movement, even during a pandemic. Unless the government can meet its burden to prove that I am an undue risk to others in society, let me decide for myself whether to assume my own risk in going outside. I am part of an at-risk population for Covid-19, but the thought of other people being restricted in their movement for my sake is ludicrous. We each assume our own risk, and this is the price of liberty, which is something our forefathers fought so hard for and that which we should be fighting for with everything we have.

      Despite the fact that we have lost nothing financially, despite the fact that being seen among the protesters would do us more harm than good socially and career-wise, and despite the fact that we are increasing our chances of contracting Covid-19 by being in a crowded environment, my spouse and I will be attending the next scheduled demonstration downtown, fighting for the liberty that we so strongly believe in. I would have never thought that the first demonstration I attend in my lifetime would be one in which I fight for individual liberty. I thought that fight was won long ago.

    2. Not sure if I agree or disagree with your, but the argument for locking down, and a similar argument for requiring vaccinations is for individuals to give up a little liberty for the greater good. I’ve heard the argument that if you book a cabin on a cruise ship, and decide to dig a hole in your cabin. You dig until you hit water and it starts to flood the ship – it was your cabin so you should have had the freedom to do what you want, right? Your actions can affect others – like if you are the carrier of a virus and infect others. Not saying it is as black and white as that, but that’s how the argument goes.

      1. If I dug a hole into your space, I have affected others negatively. Same if I sink the boat. It is verifiable. I “might” have the virus. Based on my DNA profile, I “might” kill someone someday. Or I “might” develop cancer and become a burden on the health system. In the absence of definitive evidence, or strong scientific probabilities, there is no reason to believe I have COVID and am a threat to anyone. In fact, based on my city stats, there is less than a .01 percent chance that I do. In that case, you cannot restrict my freedom. At least in the old USA where the Constitution mattered. Now, if I test positive for COVID, then the government has a right to demand I quarantine.

        1. You are 100% correct. Why is government telling healthy people to stay home? Total nonsense and against our Constitutional rights as you so eloquently stated.

          1. TechSalesGuy

            If you want your freedom, that’s fine but wear a mask so you do not infringe on other people’s health.

            Personal freedom is touted in the motorcycle community. It is a high-risk pursuit, with a lot of smiles and fun. Some people don’t like wearing helmets – in some states you don’t have too. Usually if a motorcyclist hits someone in a crash headon it’s the motorcyclist who suffers.

            Trucks are another transportation vehicle where the freedom argument can be played out. If it’s laissez-faire trade – why check trucks weights, or their brakes, or enforce limits on road time? We do, because if those go unchecked other people’s freedom to pursue happiness is infringed and people’s lives are needlessly put at risk by others.

            It’s fine that people don’t want to wear masks. But if you want to re-open don the mask so that other people can go out too…That’s what sacrifice for the greater good is. With a virus we cannot go back and check who infected who, but we can do things to prevent transmission.

            1. Trucks and motorcycles are inherently dangerous (to a point). Regulation is fine. You can determine ahead of time what measures are necessary. Plus, trucking laws and motorcycles are regulated by laws passed by legislatures (state versions usually). The problem is you don’t know that I am dangerous or in need of regulation. There is no evidence or even probability that I have COVID (based on my city). You are attempting to regulate someone’s personal freedom based on something they “might” have with no evidence whatsoever that they are actually a threat. This is not allowed under the Due Process clause. You cannot punish someone for committing a hypothetical crime.

              I wear a mask. I do it out of respect for others. I understand they are afraid–even if I am not. No problem. It is in fact the right thing to do. But, if someone is arrested for not wearing a mask, that is a bridge too far. Same goes for the lockdown. There is nothing wrong with asking folks to voluntarily take steps to help others. It is fine to make the “moral” argument. I am making the legal argument. You cannot put me in prison because I wanted to get my haircut. You cannot be sent to prison in this country for being selfish. If you could, there would be like three people walking around.

        2. It is absolutely hilarious to read these posts from supremely entitled, privileged people who apparently have never been asked to sacrifice anything for someone else in their lives. “Greater good? Screw that! It’s all about me! Me, me, me, me, MEEEE!!!” I get it. The outrage is very, very real. So is that of a two year old throwing a tantrum on the floor.

          Also, the chatter about “what right do these officials have to dictate XYZ to me?” Again, hilarious. Do you mean our duly elected public executives? Agree or disagree with their decisions, but it seems you just discovered that we live in a republic governed by elected officials, who are empowered to govern. They literally have power over you! Are you just now realizing this? That’s adorable. If you have a grievance, go to court. Or, are you saying you only support our system of government when it’s personally convenient for you? Feel free to vote for “the other guy/gal“ (whomever that may be) in the next election, or stage a revolution. Perhaps a dictatorship, or a monarchy, or socialism, or a different form of oligarchy would be more conducive to maintaining your personal privilege? Exactly what kind of power WOULD you be willing to submit to?

          If you’ve never looked up the meaning of the word “entitled” in the dictionary, now is a good time. Go ahead … I’ll wait.

          1. Again, intellectually dishonest. Yes, we elected officials. If one of them decides to kill your dog to slow down the spread of a virus is that okay? How about put your kid in a “camp” against your will to isolate them from the virus? Where is your line? Everyone has one. You compare Americans standing up for freedom afforded by the Constitution to a two year old throwing a tantrum? If it is statistically more likely that someone with brown skin will commit a crime in my city, can we imprison them before they commit the crime? Elected officials have been responsible for the world’s greatest atrocities–including genocide. You okay with that? Hitler thought he was doing the “greater good” as well.

            Entitled: “believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges.” You are damn right I am entitled to each privilege afforded to me by the U.S. Constitution. Proud of it and those who died to protect it.

            You live in a world where you believe it is okay that government has unlimited power over you? No check and balance? You ask what kind of power WOULD I be willing to submit to? All of the powers given to government that are not protected by the Constitution. I am not giving up Due Process for a virus. I pay taxes, obey the speed limit, … all of it. I also took an oath to uphold the Constitution. These concepts are not at odds–unless of course you lack the intellect to debate the issues and not just insult others. I suppose under those circumstances all you do is throw a tantrum on the internet and say “government knows what is best for me.”

            1. You are proving right here that your freedom of speech is completely unabridged. You are free to challenge my intellectual capability to debate you. Cool, go for it. My Harvard degree is in a field you probably don’t respect, anyway. You can speak out against the government, the media, anyone you like. Completely free. So there’s one Constitutional freedom you still have left …

              Speaking of intellectual honesty, your outrage conveniently ignores the the due process that has already happened, starting when Newsom declared a state of emergency March 4. (I’d provide you the link but it’s not permitted here) Then we’ve had various state, county and city orders to shelter, duly declared. They will survive most court challenges, because our freedoms are abridged only for a short time, and for a compelling public interest. The CA State Assembly is certainly free to pass legislation overturning these orders … hmmm, why haven’t they?

              By the way, the governor can actually declare martial law, if he so chooses. I’m sorry that’s repugnant to you. The executive branch certainly has a lot of power in our country! Maybe it is YOU who would be more comfortable living somewhere else, less regulated, with fewer restrictions on elites like you and me?

              Fortunately, we still have a (somewhat) functioning system of checks and balances, between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. I sincerely hope your concerns are adequately addressed by one of them, eventually.

              For my part, I’m really tired of this shelter in place. I’m an executive with a well-known stock exchange, and we’ve been flourishing with all the market volatility. However, I’m deeply aware of the terrible economic toll this shelter is having on tens of millions of people. It is literally destroying them financially. This is a terrible situation and no one is happy about it.

              I don’t dispute the government’s right to declare a temporary state of emergency; I’d just like us to be able to move past this emergency as quickly as possible. Part of that will rely on us — wait for it — following the public orders.

            2. TechSalesGuy

              Hey B – Couldn’t reply to your reply to the motorcycle/trucking issue.

              Motorcycles are not inherently high risk. People operating motorcycles are. Kind like guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
              Life is inherently high risk – no one is making it out alive.

              You’ve danced around probabilities as your rationale for no due process in regards to masks. Actually right now there is a probability that you have Coronavirus. It may be low for you in your city. But the probability is not zero. That probability is definitely not zero when you look at the broader population in your state, or since you’re referencing the Constitution, your country.

              Regulating the way you go about your business is not infringing on your freedom. It’s regulation, in the time of a global pandemic. Legal regulation. Based on constitutional precedents; like due process and the commerce clause.

              The question that you’re begging, is what happens to this regulation after the pandemic. What happens to geo-fencing people with cell data after the pandemic ends? Does that continue? What happens to that data?

              Those are worthwhile questions. Ed Snowden has asked those in this era – but no one on either side of this debate is?

              Taking an approach on data and testing, and risk is prudent. It is the path to re-opening. It will limit the long-term impacts. There’s been all sorts of screeching on both sides of this issue because we’ve had a failure of leadership at the highest level, and an inability to discuss it pragmatically.

              There will be a 2nd, and a 3rd, and maybe a 4th wave; maybe an Nth wave. The virus is not going to just disappear because we re-open, much like the economy will not just go back to the way it was because we re-open.


            3. Rich, I’m not sure what your argument is. True…I could care less if you went to Harvard. I’m willing to bet we are all highly educated on this site. I have a advanced degrees, but that doesn’t make me right.

              I’m not sure how Newsom declaring a state of emergency translated to due process. Due process has to do with civil liberties—not powers granted to states. Newsom has the power to declare all immigrants should be caged for public safety. He can even order that to happen and enforce it through the police. Doesn’t make it legal or constitutional.

              Some courts have sided with governors—some have not. What about Oregon yesterday? Wisconsin? The Texas Supreme Court?

              No Newson cannot declare martial law “if he so chooses.” I can’t believe someone really believes that. He has to have a reason. A very specific one. If the reason is not well supported by facts and evidence it is unconstitutional. It is that simple.

              As I’ve explained, this is all a matter of degree. If Newsom crosses your personal line, you will be screaming “due process” from the rooftops. You are just okay with what has happened. So you go one step further and say it is constitutional. That’s not how the constitution works. It is not a consensus document. If it was, we might not have gay marriage in this country. Likely no guns. Certainly Trump wouldn’t be president. It is a set of rules we all live by—even when they are not convenient or dare I say popular. You should cherish those rights because you may need them some day. Just because you don’t today doesn’t mean they are not important and worthy of protection.

  25. Reading the rich people’s perspectives above, I can see why those folks feel fine. But that’s not going to last because I can’t see the foundations that support the economy able to support lockdowns indefinitely. The lockdowns need to end imo.

    The economy can open back up with modifications in place to keep people protected AND get back to work. The government needs to start being in support of that or people will and should revolt. The most vulnerable and those who become exposed can continue to shelter in place. I was okay with 30-60 days of lockdowns, but I’m not okay with indefinite lockdowns. Too many businesses will be forced to close permanently, too many people will not have jobs to return to nor be able to find new ones, and millions of our citizens are going to have some serious problems with mental health which is just as serious as a virus if not more imo.

  26. There’s no doubt that those able to work from home are doing better in this lockdown, that rich people have always been able to manage their investments through crises better than most of the people, that the lockdowns have increased inequality, and that some rich people even see significant personal benefit to the economy being in lockdown indefinitely. However, when Sam says, “Governors and mayors unilaterally decided to destroy livelihoods by closing the economy for months,” he’s apparently unaware of the science and history that’s informing governments that are attempting to save the economy and workers from much more catastrophic damage than we’ve been experiencing so far. What has been happening around the world is an attempt to get the infection, and its attendant suffering, death, and potentially more devastating economic impact under control. For countries that were unable to contain the spread early, they had to go to mitigation strategies. The closing of businesses like we’ve done is part of what Tomas Pueyo calls “The Hammer” – a most extreme mitigation strategy, and has proven necessary and effective in stopping the exponential growth in infections and deaths. It’s bought us time, and we are now entering the phase he calls “The Dance,” in which we have to carefully relax restrictions while making sure we’re still taking prudent measures, while bringing up more testing and contact tracing. “The Dance” is not “indefinite lockdown,” it’s simply the smart way forward out of this phase, and is being undertaken by every country in the world. To state or imply otherwise is simply irresponsible. If you want to learn more about why The Hammer was needed, you can read Pueyo’s data-rich article on this way back on 3/19/20 on Medium, titled “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance.” If you want to learn more about what “The Dance” phase looks like, Part 1 of his 5-part series, “Coronavirus: Learning to Dance” studies how countries ahead of us, like Asian countries and Italy, have had successes and failures in opening up of their economies. The more recent parts explore what we each can do, how to do effective contact tracing, and how to start relaxing social distancing. There’s a wealth of science, data, and public policies out there that we can learn from as each state, county, and city figures out how to responsibly open up their economies again. Let’s rely on that, and not fear, blame, and misinformation.

    1. Really appreciate this post because instead of focusing on debatable rights and opinions, it simply reminds us why some U.S. governors and governments around the world felt they had to chose The Hammer and The Dance solution.

      “You can see the solution if you take your ego out of the equation.” Said my pastor, once.

      I hope we can take our politics and financial interests out of the equation and use this opportunity to discover solutions to long term public well-being. We have to get this right so that we have a good playbook for the next pandemic or wave.

  27. No one that I know support a indefinite lockdown and states are working on or rolling out plans to slowly re-opening the economy based on medical expert advices and public health pre-cautions. Many of us have the privilege to WFH but we need to be more compassionate towards the less privileged and essential workers. All life matters!

    1. Besides feeling compassion for the less privileged and essential workers, which is what people who support lockdowns love to say. What EXACTLY are you doing to help these people besides working from home and making your money?


  28. The Alchemist

    Wow. No one here, whether pro- or anti-lockdown, has even mentioned the 800-pound gorilla in the room. What are the ramifications of the federal government creating cash out of thin air to shower upon a locked-down populace? While all the while destroying the engine of real cash/value generation— the working economy.

    Oh, yes, by all means, let us further increase the dependency of the people upon the government. That will be wonderful for their mental well-being as well as their work ethic. Let us swell the ranks of the impoverished and homeless—- that’ll show that virus! Not to mention, won’t the larger effects of the decimated economy ultimately slam the wealthy as well?

    There are no good choices here. While humans in the West have succeeded in shielding ourselves from reality for a good 70 years or so, every once in a while nature comes and smacks us upside the head with the cold hard reality of our mortality.

    Perhaps it has to do with how the question was posed, but it’s interesting that none of these incredibly rich people appears to have given any serious thought to what the lockdown is like for those who will lose their small businesses or permanently lose their jobs. It MUST be how the question was posed….right?

    So you can plant me in the camp of those for whom these stories “pissed me off,” Sam. I can certainly understand the perspective of these extremely well-off folks, but I’m appalled by their limited vision. I’m able to comfortably work from home myself— for now. The large institution that employs me has committed to keeping employees for another month…. but then all bets are off, and there may well be carnage.

    What’s striking in the whole mess is the apparently “black and white” thinking in which so many people appear to be engaged. But this is typical of the recent stark trend in our nation to politicize absolutely EVERYTHING. People have absolved themselves of the responsibility to think; instead, they’ve given themselves over to mindlessly following the groupthink of “their” side. So much easier, and so very comforting!

    Personally, I believe governments need to be thinking in terms of protecting vulnerable populations, and proceeding on the current course of gradually opening up. Dangerous or not, it has to be done. Those who are seriously frightened of the virus can and should remain home, but let those who wish to accept the risk go back to work, with reasonable precautions in place.

    What we are witnessing now is the extreme result of the culture of “safetyism” that has mushroomed over the past 20 years. It serves us right if we succumb to it and get utterly smacked down.

    Apologies for the ramble. But this situation has pissed me off beyond belief. I would have thought that a crisis of this magnitude would enable us to overcome our differences and unite as a country. Silly me! How naive I was.

    1. Christine Minasian

      Plus these people make me NOT want to invest in the market/hedge funds/etc. They are making SOOOO much money and for what?!?! Pushing some buttons?!?! The real workers are the people at the stores and restaurants that have lost their incomes. How do people look at themselves when they’re making $25M per year?!?! The elitists have spoken I guess in his post.

      1. Pushing Buttons? Jealous eh? I envy them making millions but I also realize they have earned that skill to push the right buttons with years of hard/smart work. I bet your landscaper does a much harder job than you do but makes much less than you, that is if you have a landscaper.

  29. Thanks for using this article to share different perspectives! I work as a regional director overseeing sales & operations for a collection of dental practices. Although my income will drop by about 50% this year due to bonuses being cancelled and a slight reduction in my base pay, I’m not traveling at all right now (vs weekly travel last year averaging ~2 nights/week). So in a way, this lockdown is beneficial as we have a 7-month old at home and I get to spend more time with her and help mom out with caregiving every day.
    We just bought a home in January too so are able to keep our monthly expenses super low. we’re homebodies already and like getting outside to exercise so overall this is a net positive for our family living in the Denver suburbs

  30. I’m for opening up too, but we should try to keep the distancing rule in place.
    Covid-19 is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it. If you’re at risk, then you’ll have to be extra careful. If we see the number of cases increase, then lockdown again on a county level.
    People need to follow the distancing guideline instead of ignoring them. Why is it so hard to wear a mask?

  31. I don’t understand how young, healthy people can look at the data and not want to open up (and I say this as a SAHM with a husband who can work from home). Sure, older people and those with underlying conditions should continue to shelter in place but for the rest of us, we should get on with our lives while doing things that improve your health (eat well, get sunshine, exercise) and then one won’t have to worry if a second wave comes. The lack of rational thought now that we have more data is horrifying

    1. You know you can eat well, get sunshine, and exercise right now with the shutdowns, right? We’re not under martial law. I go out for walks and jog in the park all the time, and I regularly grocery shop and order takeout and delivery.

      People are concerned about the nearly 90,000 dead. I don’t think that’s overly irrational. Remember that unlike you and your husband who are fortunate to be able to stay at home and not risk infection, many who will be going back at work will be not only at a much higher risk of infection, but also of spreading it to family members and even strangers.

      I really am confused, though, why some people think we’re under martial law.

      ARB–Angry Retail Banker

      1. I said it was irrational to stay at home if you are young(ish) and healthy given the data we now have. You quarantine the sick, not the healthy. The hospitals are not full (and haven’t been for some time outside of NY) and some are on the brink of insolvency because of all of this. Small businesses and restaurants are not going to make it. Kids graduating from high school and college are not going to have a fair shake at starting their lives. If you had a disease and were told you had a greater than 99.5% chance of living, you would be happy about those odds. I consider it a patriotic duty to go back out into the world if you are healthy and able because herd immunity is the only way out of this.

        1. The only people actually being quarantined are people who’ve tested positive and/or are showing symptoms. The reasoning of the social distancing measures (“social distancing” is not a quarantine. I still go out for walks, jogging, to buy groceries, and get takeout) is that you can be carrying–and spreading–the virus and not be showing symptoms. At this very instant, I feel perfectly fine. Is it possible that I have the virus and can start showing symptoms tomorrow? Yes, even if I don’t feel it’s particularly likely that I am. Frankly, I’m curious how many of the almost 90,000 deaths came about not because of any alleged failures of the federal or state governments, but of people who don’t take the issue seriously and don’t consider the safety of those around them.

          If the government was worried about the negative economic effects to people and businesses due to the shutdown, it would provide an Emergency Universal Basic Income to everyone and provide either Paycheck Protection Program-style “rent loans” to businesses or put some sort of moratorium on commercial rents (I prefer the former, since you won’t have to bail out landlords afterwards). This way, you can protect people from the negative economic effects of an economic shutdown and ensure they have money for when everything reopens again.

          ARB–Angry Retail Banker

          1. I mean continue to let the sick (those with underlying conditions) continue to shelter in place. Unfortunately, that’s a large number in the U.S.

          2. If you fly from California to Texas you must quarantine by law for 14 days regardless of symptoms or if you test negative. And Texas is supposed to be the crazy state opening bars this week! :). Tons of other states have the same rule as of right now. If I have to travel from one state to the next to say goodbye to a family member dying of cancer, I have to quarantine for 14 days and hope my family member can hold out? Doesn’t matter if I test negative for COVID? Doesn’t matter if I have antibodies already and can prove it? That is the law and you must obey according to some on this blog.

            You seem very rational. You okay with that scenario? You going to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel and hope your sister, brother, mother, father, son, daughter, … can hold out? Or are you going to visit that dying loved one after you land (assuming you have no reason to believe you are sick)? My hope is that at least some will start to see the slippery slope.

            In this scenario are you not taking it “seriously” if you visit the loved one? These are not easy issues in my view. The choice can become very personal very quickly.

            I applaud anyone offering solutions though. I may not agree, but it is a reasonable solution you propose. Personally I would rather make it a moral issue and not a legal issue. I would rather give people the choice to follow their best judgment. In my experience, people are much more likely to go the extra mile when it is presented as a real team effort. The moment you tell me I am going to prison if I don’t comply with your idea, we can’t be friends anymore and we are no longer on the same team. I’m more likely to resist at that point even if I would have otherwise agreed. I think for some that is just a natural instinct. Maybe a flaw, but a reality nonetheless for many.

            1. “I would rather give people the choice to follow their best judgment.”

              Since this is a finance blog, let me get this back on track: ~ 40% of Americans can’t handle a $400 emergency (without borrowing) and far too many have blown up their finances again and again for mystifying reasons. Even worse, many of them see little to no problem with any of this. Given that level of judgement on something so critical, I’m hesitant to trust them with even more starkly life & death issues.

            2. Wow Liam. Should we reinstate the literacy tests for voting as well? I’m sure you mean well in your comment, but that was pretty offensive. You might want to read over your comment again. People in this country don’t lose their constitutional rights because they are stupid, selfish, irresponsible, etc. If so, nobody in congress would be allowed to vote. :)

            3. B,

              Nope, gonna double down. You don’t trust stupid people with the fate of the world. Especially as stupid, for the first time in history for most people, is a choice.

              All those founding fathers everyone’s been invoking also stated quite clearly that this whole republic idea only works with an informed electorate. But at what point can we state that everyone’s as informed as they’re gonna get, they’ve made their choice and its for stupid.

              We used to put people in institutions because they were insane but because their rights were violated, they then became the first wave of the homeless epidemic that has been persisting for decades. Should we put them back? Should we protect stupid people from themselves? Not what I’m talking about.

              If you are stupid, you don’t the right to kill others through your stupidity, be it nuclear weapons, tobacco or viruses.

            4. B,

              So first off, my condolences if you really do have a family member out of state who’s dying of cancer That’s rough regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic.

              Regarding the quarantining, symptoms and tests are two different scenarios. Texas requiring you to quarantine for simply “not showing symptoms” is not unreasonable. We just LOVE to forget that you can be showing zero symptoms and still be infected–and spreading–the coronavirus. “Not showing symptoms” means absolutely nothing.

              On the other hand, I disagree with the rule that you should have to quarantine if you test negative. If they perform the test and it’s negative, then it’s negative. As far as I’m concerned, unless there’s some major issue with the test I haven’t heard about, it’s as simple as that. Requiring quarantine for someone who tested negative right there makes no sense to me.

              Regarding what to do with the hospital visits, I think the issue is best solved by having testing be required at the airports to ensure that you are corona-negative. “Using your best judgment” and “not having reason to believe you’re sick” doesn’t hold up with a virus with delayed symptom development. Outside of that, my grandmother’s assisted living center just started having a tech set up Zoom calls so we can speak to her. It’s by appointment, unfortunately, but in a hospital, that service can be limited to terminal patients with a priority for short term ones. It’s NOT the ideal setup for something so terrible, I know, but it’s better than nothing and it’s better than letting a potential coronavirus carrier go around spreading the disease.

              But, let’s be honest, most of the people protesting the shutdowns aren’t (thankfully) in that situation where their loved ones only have days to live and they can’t see them. No, the ones storming the capital buildings with assault rifles are complaining about the government is taking away their freedom to eat at a restaurant and get their haircut. And that’s where my…….frustrations start to come out.

              I say this as a libertarian: Other libertarians annoy me. Or at least, the faux libertarians that have a selfish and childishly simplistic view of freedom (I really don’t believe in my heart of hearts that these people are truly libertarians). Do you have the freedom to eat at any restaurant you want, get a haircut whenever you want, without the government stomping on your individual liberty? Hell yeah, you should be able to do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt others.

              My fellow “libertarians” seem to have forgotten that last part. We, AGAIN, forget–or, let’s be honest, “ignore”–the fact that going out without a mask into crowded places means you risk taking part in spreading a virus that’s killed nearly 90,000 people in a few months. When these crowded gatherings and non-essential businesses are going on, that virus is spreading, and it’s spreading to–and killing–people who weren’t even part of the activities. You stop having the freedom to take part in these activities when they DO lead to potential harm to others. But at some point, “the freedom to do what you want as long you don’t harm others” somehow morphed into “the freedom to do what you want REGARDLESS of whether you harm others”.

              It annoys me especially because, listen, I HATE the idea of making great sacrifices for causes you oppose. I will NEVER support military conscription, NEVER support mandatory national service, NEVER support unpaid community service as a condition of completing public high school. Hell, I don’t even think jury duty should be mandatory! But seriously, the “great sacrifice” that is being asked of us all is “staying home and being somewhat mindful and respectful of the lives of others”. And we are completely unwilling to do that? You’ve GOT to be kidding me.

              I don’t want to go too far into it because I’ll be doing this all night, but I feel modern “libertarians” have developed a very simplistic and childish view on what “individual liberty” and the “free market” are. The presence or absence of government is not the be all end all of everything.

              [Libertarian rant over]

              Oh, and regarding “sending you to prison if you don’t comply with my idea”, I don’t really have the power to do that but I would say that you would have to either agree to be tested or be quarantined, or be required to be on the return flight to the state you came from. Simple as that. We can enforce these measures without turning into a police state. No prison is necessary unless you find yourself in a situation where you are trying to tackle a TSA agent.

              It’s all a great debate and the issue with the cancer patients is very grey and very difficult, but it’s also a situation that thankfully is very rare. Unfortunately, the majority (not totality) of people angry about the shutdowns in the context of “individual liberty” really don’t about individual liberty so much as they are petty and selfish and think the world should revolve around them, the lives of others be damned. Someone wrote a comment somewhere on this article that “freedom should be defended at all costs, even at the cost of human life”. Spend your own life to defend the freedoms of yourself and others, sure, but don’t sacrifice OTHER people’s lives for your own freedoms. And don’t paint the “freedom” to disregard the safety of others for your own selfish convenience as some sort of great reverence for individual liberty. It’s not; it’s just petty selfishness that most people grow out of by junior high school.

              As you can clearly see, other people piss me off.

              ARB–Angry Retail Banker

      2. Agree totally. The measures taken in the US were very mild compared to the rest of the world. I think the people upset are the same people looking for conflict and conspiracies. This is a new situation with no federal government support, the states did what they thought were right to prevent deaths – and not 10 or 20, we are rapidly approaching 100,000, and it could have been much higher.

        1. To be fair, people are justifiably upset over losing their incomes and ability to pay for necessities. I don’t think those are what those armed, unmasked protesters are screaming about (they are complaining about this misguided idea of what “freedom” is, but that’s a whole other conversation), but many are rightfully upset over the economy costs of shutting down the economy.

          I feel that if that was cancelled out by an Emergency Universal Basic Income, those negative effects would be offset and the vast majority of opposition to the shutdowns (which I like to think are NOT represented by people chanting “I need a haircut”) would suddenly be more accepting of it. Because, you know, now they can pay their rent.

          But yeah, I agree, it’s amazing how the same people who [rightfully] freaked out after 9/11 can look at a disease that’s on its way to claiming 100,000 American lives in a few months and go “You know, I think this really isn’t THAT big a deal. Do we REALLY need these social distancing measures?”. It’s because of all these measures to slow the spread that we probably don’t have triple the deaths right now. Wasn’t Trump predicting about 200,000 to 300,000 come May a few months ago, or am I remembering things wrong?

          ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  32. Nicole Sweeney

    The country cannot stay closed forever and people need to get back to work. I worry about the debt our country is going into funding these stimulus packages.
    Stop the bailouts and let the chips fall where they lie. That is free enterprise.

  33. I notice these scenarios are wealthy people. I think you missed a whole group of people who also want to stay home. Anyone who was working full-time and earning less than ~$50k will also want to stay home. Between the $600 from the federal government, and whatever they are making off their state unemployment, they are likely to be making just as much, if not more than they were while working. If I was in that scenario I would definitely rather stay home.

  34. So far, Covid has not affected me economically. If anything I am in better shape since we spend less money on eating out and entertainment. The whole thing still strikes me as really odd. If the whole reason for the lock down was to slow the spread of the virus, it seemed to have worked. However, my question now (and thoughout the lock down) has been, if we needed to lock down then, why do we not need to lock down now? What has changed – there still is not a vaccine, we can’t treat it effectively, it kills even healthy people (although the numbers appear small). I guess we go back to normal – I know people are “saying” social distance, but I was in Wisconsin last week, and bars were packed with no masks, no distancing… I have to imagine we’ll see a big uptick in cases – and unfortunately it will probably be the lower income earners (wait staff, bar staff, gym workers, …) people that interact with lots of people on a daily basis that will contract and spread corona.

    Am I wrong in assuming this?

    1. I am thinking the exact same thing! Here in Western New York state a lot of people were getting the virus and getting very sick- yes the numbers are better…for now. But it will probably get bad again- what’s changed? I think we know the enemy and how best to handle it, but also people have become desensitized to the entire situation. They locked down for a few weeks and feel like they did enough-

    2. It is because the slow the spread idea was to avoid overloading the hospitals. We avoided that and now should be able to go back out. We weren’t trying to Stop the Spread, just slow it. We are all going to get this, just not all at once. It may surprise you, but way more people have had it than we think. You may already be immune.

      1. I haven’t left my house since March 20th. My husband is an anesthesiologist who was on the cusp of retiring in September but because of his age and the risk involved in intubating patients he retired 3 months earlier than anticipated- losing ALOT of his future pension money over the course of his retirement. This virus has thereby cost us a lot of money,but risk versus reward- your money or your life- he decided to retire.

    3. What’s changed is it’s now spring and we’re heading into summer and stronger sun and we have more information (like the actual death rate seems to be between .1 and .4%, not the 3% we were afraid of). COVID should not be a problem over the summer because people will hopefully be spending time outdoors and getting their vitamin D levels up. There have now been several studies from different countries that have all noted the relationship between Vitamin D levels and COVID severity (low Vitamin D also has a relationship to all of the underlying conditions that seem to make people more susceptible as well). I’m in Atlanta and we’re not seeing a spike and we’ve been open for three weeks now. The south should be good soon and the North may take until the end of June.

      1. I guess I don’t believe that sunshine or anything else will slow this down. I do think it is not as deadly to healthy people, although still pretty dangerous.

        I’m OK with things opening up slowly, with distancing and mask requirements, but that is not what I am seeing – full bars, full restaurants, full airplanes – seems we we are going to put ourselves right back where we were if not in worse shape right about the time kids will be going back to school.

        1. I guess I’m just surprised that people think we can shelter in place before we get a vaccine (which I’d rather not have) and that there aren’t severe economic repercussions for even future generations if we continue to do this. This is not the virus to do this for. I think the only way out of this is herd immunity, which we’re putting off (I think Sweden is probably correct and it’s way too premature to hold them up against other countries if this does have a second wave). There is a reason that winter is cold and flu season – lack of sunshine. What isn’t being talked about enough is that COVID is not an issue if you have a healthy immune system (who the media are calling the asymptomatic like this is some new and somehow scary phenomenon).

  35. I completely agree with your opinion piece. From our conversations around town, most workers (restaurant, retail etc) want to open up carefully. Their finances are being decimated. So many people in this area identify so much with the elites be it tech, Hollywoood, foodies, that they want to be part of the cool club thus share their opinions. They don’t even see what this is doing. This will keep them dependent on the elites and government for survival. Baaaah

  36. This is certainly a tough situation. I think there has to be a phased, smart reopening that protects as many people as possible while also getting as many people back to work as possible. There’s infinite options on how to do this. The cascading effects, such as the WSJ reporting 3 dozen countries now face famine (google it, the article is from May 13th), are as critical to manage as the virus itself.

    As info I’m a software developer able to wfh but I have parents and extended family members who are healthcare workers.

  37. How many companies in high rent areas like NYC and the Bay area will realize that they no longer require physical locations and begin to hire in the heartland at greatly reduced salaries?
    This may be a great excuse to layoff high income tech workers and rehire others at lower salaries.
    I have a friend who was laid off in the Silicon Valley and given a couple of months notice so he could look for another position within the company. Most of the hiring managers he speaks with prefer to hire from the outside.

    1. I’m very bullish on the heartland of America and see an acceleration in my investment thesis:

      Uber just laid off another 3,000 workers after laying off 4,000 earlier. Stock is up 8% on the news.

      Just like how the S&P 500 has rallied after every single massive unemployment claims number, so too are individual stocks.

      The more asset light you can be as a company the better.

  38. I can work from home and make decent coin. Like you, I am all for removing social safety nets and force the plebes to risk their lives so that my portfolio keeps increasing in value. And if they build up herd immunity while they are at it, all the better!

  39. The people cited in this article remind me of Marie Antionette i.e. “Let them eat cake.”

  40. Eric Bennett

    The real issue you’ve captured is that people’s support for the lockdown has more to do with the impact on their individual lifestyle than on any real understanding of the macroeconomic effects of it. If you’re rich you don’t care, or if your business profits off the situation you love the lockdown. But for a significant number of small business owners, like myself, whose livelihood is removed through this overbroad approach, it’s imperative to open as soon as possible. I lease space to salons, gyms, and restaurants. The current policy protects the tiny minority at risk from this virus at the expense of a much larger percentage of the population. The worst thing is that the extreme government response is disproportionate to the threat. Protect the 16% of the population that may be at risk through policies aimed at them.

      1. Eric Bennett

        If I believed that opening my business would harm others, I’d have a different opinion. But since the data does not support the efficacy of a lockdown, and since the whole point was to “flatten the curve”, which has already happened, my view, like other small business owners, is that good policy says the harm is outweighing the good and these restrictions need lifted. Apart from issuing snide rejoinders, do you have anything specific to offer on the policy benefits of these one size fits all restrictions?

    1. Anyone and everyone can get this virus- now there is a new ancillary component affect children. You can’t subdivide the population .

      1. Eric Bennett

        That’s true that anyone can get the virus. But the lockdown won’t change that. It only slows the uptake rate of the virus (possibly) and prolongs it. Look at the work of Scott Atlas from Stanford University for more information on that.

        1. I love how the this Scott Atlas maverick is cited everywhere. He was a professor of RADIOLOGY. Never mind the thousands of epidemiologists and virologists recommendations. Its all one big conspiracy, right?

          1. Eric Bennett

            So if you can’t debate the substance of his arguments (and that of other physicians at Stanford and other institutions) then you argue with his qualifications. There is legitimate debate in this area among those in the medical community. In any case, I believe that Dr. Atlas was a practicing chief of neuroradiology for many years at Stanford and is now a fellow at the Hoover Institute, providing research and policy advice regarding the impact of government and private practice on access and quality of medical care. So if among your “thousands of epidemiologists and virologists” you include the architects of the Imperial College model that predicted 2 million US deaths from this virus, I’ll side with the persectives of Dr. Atlas and others like him any time.

      2. Anyone can die in a car crash from a drunk driver. Even children. It is completely avoidable. Just ask the Amish. It is a complete non-issue in societies that don’t drink alcohol or drive cars and generally live in isolated villages. I can’t believe how selfish parents are when they drive their kids to school each day. Putting them at risk like that every weekday. Let’s take a guess—more likely your kid dies of COVID complications or killed by a drunk driver?

  41. A vast majority of Americans continue to support shelter-in-place, so while your examples are interesting, they don’t appear to be representative of the broader cohort. Perhaps there are non-financial reasons? Or perhaps some believe preventing a public health crisis from spiraling is also the best way to ensure a rapid economic recovery?

    1. People who want to force a reopen (essentially remove social safety nets and force poor people to work) don’t care about the majority opinion. They also dont care about the minority who will die. They only care about themselves. Nothing wrong with that, but I wish they drop the pretense of concern for the poor workers.

      1. I hear you my rich friend. You and I have the luxury to shelter in place for a while. Let’s keep this economy closed.

  42. The lockdown seems to be widening the rich and middle-class to lower-middle-class gap. Either it’s really helping people financially or it’s really hurting others (two extreme sides) and it all depends on the nature of your job and the ability to effectively work from home and the ability of your organization to continue to earn business based on this adjusted environment.

  43. Funny, not one comment from a healthcare worker on why to support the lockdown? Where in your proof do these people support INDEFINITE lockdowns? Where have Governors stated we will be in indefinite lockdown until a vaccine? All of them want to do a phase re-opening and get people back to work, they also don’t want people to die. They aren’t gungho and excited that people are sheltered in relying on unemployment benefits.

    Have you been smoking too much ELON musk’s musk?

    1. What’s so funny? Elon has been pushing to open up the economy right now. This article highlights people who would rather the economy stay closed.

      Did you misunderstand?

      Like you, I’m OK with locking down for months longer because my finances have not been affected. Let’s stay home and save lives!

    2. Doctors are not policy makers. Policy makers should balance the trade-offs of the broader society. It’s crazy to see the US shift from complete neglect to overreaction…
      Btw, Elon Musk has been right about most of things, tho some media painted him crazy, he’s actually the few who know what he is doing.

    3. Front line physician here.

      Financially this COVID situation has affected me negatively as the number of patients I see on a daily basis have gone down but at the same time my(and family’s) risk of acquiring an illness has grown exponentially. I’ve thought of staying at a hotel but realizing I could be away for months, disposed the idea. Emotionally, I’m drained because I’m fighting against a new disease with emerging/unknown pathophysiology. Some new data pops up everyday.

      I do feel for workers who have lost their source of income because of the lock down but it is important to realize that if a low wage worker is hospitalized due to COVID, the financial ramification could be much worse with both lost wages as well as medical bills. It is also important to know that low income groups have higher rates of poorly controlled co morbid conditions (Diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension etc).

      I feel a temporary lock down with increased unemployment benefits was a good step to buy time and decide on future course of action. An extended lock down can have unforeseen psychological ramifications on our kids not to mention the long term impact on the economy. A temporary lock down with increased unemployment benefits was a good step to buy time and decide on future course of action. Ideally if everyone of us practices basic hygiene measures like proper hand washing, social distancing, wearing masks etc, we should be able to curtail the spread but looking at many people gathering in close groups without masks, I doubt if that is possible.

  44. I support a lockdown because I’m an essential worker at high risk and I don’t want to die.

    1. I have been working at my health care job this entire time. I support the lock down. It has not gotten as bad here in Canada as it has in other countries and that is because of the lock down. Our Canadian social service net is helping everyone stay housed and fed.

      I want it to be mandatory for everyone to wear masks when in public. I wear a mask all day at work. You will get used to it. It is not a violation of your rights it is a way to slow the spread of the virus. You can slow the spread and protect everyone by wearing a fabric covering over your mouth and nose.

      I worry about the future of the USA because they are our neighbour and we want to be neighbours with a solid and sensible country and your news is terrifying. I wonder if you will continue as a democracy.

      1. I’ve been confused why CDC insisted on saying NOT recommending mask for months, and suddenly recommended that? What’s wrong with CDC?

        1. Because they didn’t realize how many a-symptomatic carriers there were. Wearing a mask has never protected you and still doesn’t, it just limits transmission from people who feel fine and healthy but that are actually shedding the virus.

      2. Lock Them Up

        We will not continue as a democracy. So don’t worry about that.

        Yes, masks for all. At all times. Gloves, too. And let the social distancing, business closures, and bankruptcies continue forever. The more everyone becomes dependent on the government, the better. Because they always know what’s best.

        Parks, concerts, cruises, sports? Who needs them. Kids playing together? As the saying goes, “never again!”

        If the guys making $10,000,000 a year can do it, surely ANYONE can. Our masters in Washington DC and various capitals have said so. End of story.

        Like you said: we will get used to it.

        1. The govt is advising you(us) to wear a mask to help contain the spread of a virus which is spread through droplets from your nose and mouth. Why are you peeps making such a big deal out of it? Are you from the US of A or a different country where they are mandating butt plugs in everyone? If that’s the case I can understand your anguish.

  45. A lot of businesses have opened back up here in Georgia. It will be interesting to see if the virus hits us hard for opening back up, but there’s a ton of people going out and living like there’s nothing to worry about. I think the rich are only looking at their own situation and can’t relate to the need of having to go to work or lose your house.

    1. Eric Bennett

      If the reopening of Georgian business had an impact on hospitalizations and death rates, it should have shown up by now in Georgia’s statistics, now 3 weeks later. Georgia also locked down later than most. And from what I’ve seen there’s actually been a decline in both statistics.

      1. It grows exponentially (existing cases cause new cases), 3 weeks you won’t see much change if it was relatively flat to start. If you look back from January 22 to February 22, there wasn’t much growth, but there was a lot from February 22 to March 22, then things locked down, and the growth flattened.

        1. I live in Georgia and the expert predictions of disaster in Georgia and next door in Florida simply haven’t materialized – maybe it’s due to heat, or maybe we just don’t live on top of each other like NYC. But regardless, claims that we are conducting “experiments in human sacrifice” have not been helpful. We all participated in flattening the curve. Now that it is flattened, it’s time to move on. High risk people can still choose to shelter in place.

  46. im guessing that mayor is london breed of san Francisco. people who can work from home are good right now but once companies realize how efficient work from home is, those people might be in for so much more competition for those tech jobs than they realize.
    i think the extended lockdown stinks for low income people because a lot of them havent recieved any UI payments since
    the lockdown.i know folks who havent gotten anything for weeks.

    for me being a sports gambler this sucks because usually i would have the nba playoffs , mlb baseball and the nhl playoffs to bet on right now.

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