The 2.2 million death toll cited by Trump that would occur without any mitigation will become a meme so that the quarter million death toll won’t seem so high. We’re not going to know the real numbers much like Puerto Rico, until much later.
So much disinformation in today’s COVID-19 briefing, as well as lies like not even hearing the 2.2 million death number which he confabulated with the $2.2 Trillion first cited for the CARES act. He says that his administration will have done a good job if 100,000 people die.
Ã¢ÂÂ Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) March 30, 2020
Ã¢ÂÂ Raw Story (@RawStory) March 30, 2020
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2020
Ã¢ÂÂ Alex Conant (@AlexConant) March 29, 2020
This delay alone and its disinformation will have cost many lives.
Ã¢ÂÂ Richard Hine (@richardhine) March 30, 2020
The failures were actually programmed decades ago as the shared commons of public health were simultaneously neglected and monetized.12 A country captured by a regimen of individualized, just-in-time epidemiology—an utter contradiction—with barely enough hospital beds and equipment for normal operations, is by definition unable to marshal the resources necessary to pursue a China brand of suppression.
Following up the Taleb team’s point about model strategies in more explicitly political terms, disease ecologist Luis Fernando Chaves, another coauthor of this article, references dialectical biologists Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin to concur that “letting the numbers speak” only masks all the assumptions folded in beforehand.13 Models such as the Imperial study explicitly limit the scope of analysis to narrowly tailored questions framed within the dominant social order. By design, they fail to capture the broader market forces driving outbreaks and the political decisions underlying interventions.
Consciously or not, the resulting projections set securing health for all in second place, including the many thousands of the most vulnerable who would be killed should a country toggle between disease control and the economy. The Foucaultian vision of a state acting on a population in its own interests only represents an update, albeit a more benign one, of the Malthusian push for herd immunity that Britain’s Tory government and now the Netherlands proposed—letting the virus burn through the population unimpeded.14 There is little evidence beyond an ideological hope that herd immunity would guarantee stopping the outbreak. The virus may readily evolve out from underneath the population’s immune blanket.
Our general theory of neoliberal disease emergence, including, yes, in China, combines:
- global circuits of capital;
- deployment of said capital destroying regional environmental complexity that keeps virulent pathogen population growth in check;
- the resulting increases in the rates and taxonomic breadth of spillover events;
- the expanding periurban commodity circuits shipping these newly spilled over pathogens in livestock and labor from the deepest hinterland to regional cities;
- the growing global travel (and livestock trade) networks that deliver the pathogens from said cities to the rest of the world in record time;
- the ways these networks lower transmission friction, selecting for the evolution of greater pathogen deadliness in both livestock and people;
- and, among other impositions, the dearth of reproduction on-site in industrial livestock, removing natural selection as an ecosystems service that provides real-time (and nearly free) disease protection.
The underlying operative premise is that the cause of COVID-19 and other such pathogens is not found just in the object of any one infectious agent or its clinical course, but also in the field of ecosystemic relations that capital and other structural causes have pinned back to their own advantage.65 The wide variety of pathogens, representing different taxa, source hosts, modes of transmission, clinical courses, and epidemiological outcomes, all the earmarks that send us running wild-eyed to our search engines upon each outbreak, mark different parts and pathways along the same kinds of circuits of land use and value accumulation.
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