By State Representative Blaine Wilhour -
Covid-19 is a serious disease. People have died and more people will die. We all acknowledge the importance of taking preventative measures to protect our most vulnerable. But when taking draconian repressive measures that have far-reaching negative effects on our lives and livelihoods, the threshold on reliable data needs to be high. Our leaders need to be over-the-top transparent about this data. We also need to be nimble enough and humble enough to adjust strategy, either direction, if further evidence indicates it’s prudent.
It has been widely reported that the original shutdowns and the ’15 days to slow the spread’ policies were based on a model released by the Imperial College of London. This model was projecting 2.2 million people would die if we did nothing and over 1 million would die if we put in place some mitigation practices.
Wow, that’s some scary stuff.
We can see why politicians who are risk averse by nature would take extreme measures based off these details from a highly respected institution. The problem is that this institution has completely abandoned these projections and replaced them with projections that look nothing like the original.
Now the ‘gold standard’ model that is cited by politicians and the media is the IHME-University of Washington model. In most of the states that are transparent about up-to-date hospital data, this model has also produced wild inaccuracies in its projections. For instance, in New York the model was over-projecting hospital needs by four times the actual number.
To say the models our leaders cite as evidence to uniformly shut down our lives have been unreliable is being very generous.
Shouldn’t we be asking questions about this? Shouldn’t we be concerned about placing so much trust in people who just haven’t been very accurate in almost everything they have said?
In an article published on Feb. 17th, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the danger of coronavirus to the United States was “just miniscule.”
On Feb. 26th, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lit into the CDC for stoking fear about the coronavirus.
“I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and suggest to the public that there’s a reason for them to be fearful,” Lightfoot said.
As late as March 3rd, Governor Andrew Cuomo was telling New Yorkers that it was safe to use public transportation. They might smell bleach on the buses, but other than that – riding the bus or subway was safe.
All of these individuals appear on TV daily to make even more predictions. There even is a movement in the Democrat party to find a way for Andrew Cuomo to replace Joe Biden as the Democrat nominee. Our own Governor, JB Pritzker desperately wants the Cuomo status. Cuomo has received praise primarily because he has been mostly measured and extremely transparent with his data. Conversely, Governor Pritzker has been either behind on collecting the proper data or just chooses not to share it in a manner that it can be scrutinized to find trends that could allow us to ensure good decisions are being made. His press conferences have been low information, highlighted by political outbursts deflecting all blame to the federal government. That’s not really useful information and it is counterproductive on so many levels.
In the midst of this crisis, few if any have stopped to question the validity of the things they are being told. Many of the same people who dismissed the threat of coronavirus are forcing a shutdown of our lives with no plan for when and how to get our country back online and the expectation is that we better just shut up and comply.
Our media and political culture have strongly discouraged all dissent. A couple of weeks ago, I was asking for legitimate data from Pritzker’s administration to ensure good data-based decisions were being made, and I was roundly ridiculed by Springfield insiders calling me an ‘unserious idiot' who was sowing seeds of doubt.
The idea that we shouldn’t question any of these moves is dangerous, irresponsible and downright scary. Maybe we are doing everything right – maybe we are not – but asking questions and making sure we are making good decisions based on real data is absolutely essential.
An Ivy League professor recently published an article in the Federalist stating that the longer we quarantine the entire population – the more we delay herd immunity which could lead to more people succumbing to the virus in the long run. The author suggested that a more targeted approach to quarantining might be the better solution.
Is this a better approach? Maybe. Maybe not. But can we at least have the discussion? The author published the piece anonymously because of potential negative repercussions. We are intentionally destroying people’s lives, wrecking our economy and limiting personal liberty all on the assumptions and models being made by unelected scientists and bureaucrats without an open discussion of the deadly impacts of mass unemployment.
As a recent Wall Street Journal article noted, “The problem here is not an inability to think clearly. It’s an unwillingness to be seen thinking clearly.”
I have found myself struggling with the concern that political viability could be taking a front seat to all other considerations. Are the media and political cultural making it politically unviable to change course even if the greater good may demand it?
We should be asking questions and we should expect answers. None of the Governors moves have had legislative input. As an elected member of the Illinois General Assembly, I have trouble getting answers to basic questions. Consequential decisions are being made that affect our districts without so much of a heads-up.
On April 8th, the Governor’s 30 day-emergency powers come to an end. It is time for the Governor to bring the Legislature to the table. Our constituents deserve input on potentially opening parts of the state less affected by the virus. We want answers – real answers – on hospitalizations and other pertinent questions. We want a plan for how and when to open the economy and put Illinoisans back to work. If the data shows that we are not ready to reopen on a regional basis, fine-but it needs to actually show that. We need to set parameters and establish benchmarks to reopen and we need to start today.
Of course. we need to take this threat seriously, but we need to ask tough questions, demand answers, demand accountability. The future of our country depends on how we answer these questions.
what is with these loons and their hatred of science
This whole thing is starting to stink to high heaven. It seems to me the longer this goes on the more rights are being stripped from us on both the State and Federal levels of Government. And mostly without explanation. Politico has now written and article that states that the DOJ wants to “temparairally” wants to undermine the US Constitution. If this is done it opens the door for any citizen to be arrested and locked up without going before a judge until THEY deem it time. Quiet the multitudes for more stripping of thier rights. We must stop this now!!!! What is being done is doing nothing but causing more distrust in our Government.
I don’t get this lame criticism by Republicans that “but a few weeks ago the Democrats said it was a nothingburger too.” That is a logical fallacy known as tu quoque.
What does it matter what they thought before if they were wrong? It was obvious to many people who paid attention to what was going on in Wuhan that people in BOTH parties downplayed it. That people downplayed it in the past and were wrong is no excuse to downplay it today and continue being wrong, but that is exactly what many people on the right do.
When facts change, reasonable people will often change their minds (including President Trump). Do you?
“None of the Governor’s moves have had legislative input. As an elected member of the Illinois General Assembly, I have trouble getting answers to basic questions. Consequential decisions are being made that affect our districts without so much of a heads-up.”
. . . . Oh come-on… he doesn’t OWE you OR us an explanation about his decisions. We all know better than to expect our OVER-LORDS to consult with those others in state government that just might have some VERY HELPFUL suggestions concerning this pandemic. How DARE any of us feel that WE should have ANY voice in what is going on in our state. And really… isn’t keeping abortion clinics open just SO important, even though other business’s are considered NOT important to keep open?? Of course it’s about the health of… um, well NOT the health of those innocent babies that are murdered. I mean our state really NEEDS that blood money. Seriously Rep. Wilhour… WHAT are you thinking??….
Obviously this is ridicule towards the Governor, and NOT directed to Rep. Wilhour (or at ANY Rep. that deserves to be in the discussion). I totally AGREE with him in his expectations and exasperation! To say I wonder if there’s not a larger picture behind what’s happening would be a lie. I don’t WANT to believe that there was and is a subversive faction working to bring the current Federal Gov. down but yet… stranger things have happened… IN the U.S. The disease is REAL…. the threat is REAL… however, to carry on the current rather “draconian” measures after a reasonable (?) time is a dangerous prospect. Our nation can NOT take that and survive… it just can’t. I wonder if everything was lifted right NOW and American’s could get back to work etc, just how long it would take to recover financially (jobs & lively hoods, our national economy, etc). Oh, and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s job and livelihood is guaranteed regardless of what happens in our nation. So he’ll be fine (and is fine) whether or not our nation survives this attack. It’s pretty easy for him to push the U.S. to keep on as we are until… uhh, exactly WHEN?? And let us not forget that he IS a “hold over” from the last administration which does give me pause…😐 Just sharing my feelings for what ever they’re worth.
Our state and national leaders ‘cried wolf’ on the devastation of this virus. It is my hope we, the sheeple, will not be as gullible the next time and there will be a next time.
Great article. None of the models have been remotely accurate. We’re supposed to take them by faith. That’s not science.
Please keep pushing for a much more nuanced approach to the disaster response.
Many people are suffering terribly, quietly, off of social media. There’s an epidemic of suffering going on.
Isolate the elderly and at-risk, and release the rest of the state where there are an abundance of beds available. Please keep fighting for our freedom.