President Trump wisely has taken his first steps to reopen America, and has just as wisely reminded the nation’s governors that the ball is in their court. This is not just wise, it’s brilliant: if people are torqued at government restrictions, they will not have the president to blame. Their beef will be with their governors and their governors alone.
I’ve argued from the beginning of this manufactured crisis that far more damage will be done by the panic than by the virus. It turns out I was right. And now a prominent Israeli professor is confirming what I have said all along.
Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University, who is on the research and advisory board for one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world (Teva), has concluded that all the lockdowns, all the shutdowns, all the closing of churches, schools, beaches, businesses, restaurants, and parks was nothing more than economy-destroying madness. It has all been unnecessary because coronavirus runs its own course no matter what governments do or do not do.
Professor Ben Israel plotted the rates of new coronavirus infections in the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, Italy, Israel, Switzerland, France, Germany, and Spain - the countries that most resemble the United States in culture and governing structure. He discovered an amazing and even astounding thing. It didn’t matter whether a country pursued a severe incarceration-in-place policy like Israel, or went about business as usual like Sweden, coronavirus followed precisely the same pattern. In the words of columnist Medina Melvin of Townhall, “coronavirus peaked and subsided in the exact same way. In the exact, same, way.” (Emphasis mine.)
Dr. Ben Israel’s research showed that all countries experienced identical patterns of disease progression. Infections grew steadily, even exponentially, until they peaked in the sixth week, and began to rapidly subside by the eighth week.
Israel has imposed strict quarantines. It does not allow residents to even leave their neighborhoods to buy food. Beyond that, they are only permitted to leave their homes for essential work and medical care.
These restrictions applied even during Holy Week, when just a handful of worshipers were allowed at the Western Wall (the holiest site in Judaism) during Passover, and Easter Mass was performed at a nearly empty Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built on the site where Jesus was crucified.
In Stockholm, by stark contrast, cafes and restaurants are open. Kids are going to school and to soccer practice. Parks are full. Sweden, in other words, is open for business. People are practicing some social distancing, and gatherings of more than 50 people have been suspended.
But the disease has followed the same arc in both places, which means Israel - and the United States - locked everybody down for no good reason.
Professor Ben Israel says the virus follows its own fixed pattern, which is not dependent on how much or how little freedom citizens are permitted to enjoy. “There is a decline in the number of infections even [in countries] without closures, and it is similar to the countries with closures.” While the “expansion (of coronavirus infections) begins exponentially” it “fades quickly after about eight weeks,” for reasons still unknown to epidemiologists. The virus seems to have its own life cycle.
Italy has an unusually high mortality rate, but Ben Israel attributes that more to Italy’s substandard health system, which also collapsed in 2017 because of the seasonal flu.
The professor believes this evidence - actual evidence and data, not the projections of some model - indicate that there is no need for either quarantines or economic closures.
So what’s behind all the quarantines and lockdowns? Said Professor Ben Israel, echoing my words from the very beginning of this crisis, “I think it’s mass hysteria. I have no other way to describe it. 4,500 people die each year from the flu in Israel because of complications, so close the country because of that? No.”
Remember that our own mass hysteria was triggered by Dr. Fauci running to President Trump with the hysterical predictions Professor Neil Ferguson of the UK. Ferguson projected that 2.2 million Americans would die from coronavirus. That number has now been ratcheted down, by the University of Washington model Dr. Fauci now embraces, to about 61,000, the number of Americans who die in a bad flu season. Ferguson has now reduced his projected death toll in the UK to 20,000, just four percent of his original prediction.
Ferguson predicted in 2001 that mad cow disease would kill 150,000 in the UK. The actual death toll? One hundred and seventy-seven. Why anybody gives Ferguson’s numbers any credibility at all, let alone histrionically closes down the most successful economy in history, is one of the mysteries of the ages.
So, the Israeli professor has demonstrated that our coronavirus closures were a disastrous, colossal, catastrophic mistake. Americans have lost jobs and businesses because of this, and some of those jobs and businesses may not come back for a long time. It will take us a decade to repair the damage we have done in just one month of cravenly surrendering to panic and fear.
Here’s hoping - and praying - that every governor in America will reopen his state so that America can get back to being America again.
The author may be contacted at email@example.com