Computer modeling is great, until it isn’t.

Contact tracing

Based on an op-Ed by Sarah Hoyt on Unfortunately, we have over the course of the last 50 years, blinded ourselves to one of the most important factors when modeling disease in human populations: culture. We have taught our kids in school that culture is food and clothing, and sometimes — but not always — language, but that culture is inherently the same underneath those trappings. Mind you, the computer modeling of humans in general is always hazardous. This is why no one can give accurate predictions of what will happen with the economy at any given time, and that is why most legislators are completely baffled when the second- and third-order effects of their legislation hit. However, culture is the most important – or should be the most important – in modeling the spread of any disease in a human population. Next and almost equal to it should be the physical home of that culture: where do the people live? How dense is the population? How much air do they share?

The models for how bad COVID-19 would be, and the measures for mitigating its spread, all, without exception, ignore these factors. looking at the clusters, you’ll find that there are reasons why it got exceptionally bad there, but not anywhere else. And it was never going to get as bad anywhere else. Consider the measures that should have been taken specifically in those places, without the ruinous cost of crashing the economy. For instance, her friend in Albany, Georgia, tells her he assumes part of the reason it got so bad in his neighborhood (the worst per capita in the U.S. last I looked) is that “we are the touchiest, most social people I know,” i.e., there is a lot of touching and hugging. At a guess, this is the reason it got so bad in Italy, too, but not nearly as bad in Germany, where, frankly, people aren’t that touchy/feely/huggy. I have read that Sweden, which is trying a different strategy than imposed isolation, is one of the least touchy feely cultures in the world, and has the highest per capita number of single person households. No wonder we can’t all do what they are trying.

I live in Spokane, Washington, which is very different both culturally and physically than New York City. So far all of Spokane county had 13 deaths from the Coronavirus, and hospitals are operating below capacity. I can go months without using an elevator. We don’t have subway trains, and relatively few people use public transport. Most people in this entire county live in single family dwellings. Now, in NYC, besides the fact they all live in modified closets with shared air, you can’t get anywhere without rubbing elbows with strangers. Subways and elevators are simply parts of daily life for most New Yorkers.

So, would a complete lockdown of the city, with perhaps distribution of food so the grocery stores could be closed, make sense for NYC? Sure it would. Of course it would. A grave violation of everyone’s rights? Sure. No doubt about that. But perhaps necessary for a limited time in a limited space. Does a complete lockdown in places where the culture is completely different make much sense? No. Our media relays scenes of panic and death without the slightest context that might make the rest of us realize that the factors leading to those are unlikely to occur in our own neighborhood. This is partly because most of our so-called journalists are incredibly ignorant and glib. And it is partly because they think crashing the economy and blaming it on Trump will get the Democrat Spokeszombie elected. But that’s a whole ‘nother matter, for another article.

So, yes, COVID-19 got very bad in spots (though the rates of both infection and death surfacing as more studies in Europe are done, as well as the rates of infection and death for the Diamond Princess, still indicate that those “bad spots” are nowhere near as bad as has been advertised). And we might have been justified in closing down, isolating, and stopping travel to and from those spots. It would have been economically painful enough since one of those spots is NYC. However, with the rest of the country (or the majority of it) working, we would have been fine. It wouldn’t have been the disaster that it’s been made into by the blithe “multiculturalist” assumption that “culture” is all about clothes and food, and not about how people behave and act in concert, due to cultural assumptions and the physical environment of their daily lives.

We can only pray that in the destroyed hopes of our children and grandchildren, in the scorched landscape of the world economy, in the revolt – dear Lord, I hope it’s a revolt to come, otherwise the United States as we knew it is dead – against the police state imposed during this madness, people will see what multiculturalism and inane computer models have wrought. She says she hopes if no other good comes of this, that people will open their eyes to the insanity of treating humans as equal widgets who all behave the same way and all cultures as essentially the same under their colorful wrappings. I don’t think the elites, the power structure or the lamestream media will; they have too much invested in their ideologies.

Speaking of which, the COVID-19 pandemic is exposing how the US Food and Drug Administration puts Americans at increased risk of sickness and death. Decades of killing medical innovation and forcing industries offshore made this inevitable. The FDA is one of those many creatures of Congress that effectively wields legislative, executive, and judicial power, with almost no real accountability. It has grown mightily since its inception in 1906. Yet, thanks largely to its treatment in the media, many Americans have never imagined how the country might benefit from doing away with the bureaucracy. That may change now.

The FDA’s most public failure is its most recent, the blocking of any private production of coronavirus test kits during the initial outbreak. How many Americans will pay the ultimate price for this policy remains to be seen.