Where We Stand: It’s Time To Start Planning (Domestic) Trips

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly says it is safe to fly again, “We’re doing everything possible to encourage people to come back and fly.”

I’m going to offer what I hope is a slightly more limited and nuanced take, that it is safe for some people to plan now to travel again during the months of June, July and August. This is speculative, but sums up my currently thinking about where we stand.

Society Can Re-Open A Little Bit

The number of new cases in the U.S. has plateaued, thanks to social distancing measures, but has not declined as hoped. Still the reproductive rate of the virus is likely less than one right now, so there’s some room to loosen restrictions.

Unfortunately in parts of the country where guidance is ‘opening up carefully’ the message people seem to be taking is ‘opening up’ and not ‘carefully’. That’s one reason there’s risk, that without precautions we could see the virus get out of control and a return to lock downs.

Still, the point of lock downs and social distancing wasn’t to eradicate the virus. It wasn’t going to do that once we passed (and failed) the containment stage. It was a mitigation measure to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed to the point that treatment wasn’t effective (indeed, where hospitals had to ration resources and potentially make decisions about which patients to save). Lock downs were meant to buy time to expand capacity and obtain personal protective equipment.

In much of the country there is plenty of capacity. In Travis County, which includes Austin where I live, just 35 out of 172 available ICU beds are in use and 16 out of 392 ventilators are in use.

It’s Not Going To Be ‘Completely Safe’ Any Time Soon

My rough back of the envelope has been to assume an infection fatality rate of 0.005, so in the absence of demographic information I multiply the number of reported coronavirus-related deaths by 200 to get the infection rate three weeks ago and then double that number to get current infections (given the slowed down rate of spread).

Here in Travis County there have been 52 deaths, which implies 20,800 cases (roughly 1.5% of the population). That’s not too far off my other working hypothesis that actual cases has been about 10x the number of confirmed cases. There are 1756 confirmed cases, implying 17,560 total (about 15% fewer than the first model suggests). Not bad that the two more or less converge.

Regardless whether we’re looking at 2% in Austin, 3-4% for the country as a whole, or even 25% in New York City, we’re not at ‘herd immunity’ where the virus is petering out but we’re also not currently facing exponential growth. As parts of the country re-open we could see greater growth, which would mean a return to more restrictions.

For now some states are seeing declining cases. In most places the number of new positive tests is flat, perhaps representing a new normal. We might see a respite over the summer. As I have said throughout I expect there to be some seasonality to the virus, and certainly more people spending more time outside is good because the virus seems to spread most aggressively indoors.

And though definitely indoors planes themselves are probably less risky than you think especially while the number of passengers remains so sparse. I wouldn’t fly a small regional jet which crams people together and lacks HEPA air filtration, however.

The coronavirus may simply persist at current levels or it may shoot back up in the fall. Different places may get it differently which means travel could spread it from affected locations outward to other places.

But hospital capacity is good in parts of the country and we are beginning to see treatments which makes it less scary. The goal is to keep the virus manageable, to improve patient outcomes, while we continue to develop even better treatments and ultimately – hopefully – a vaccine.

Travel Is Beginning To Show Signs Of Life

Travel is not going to come back to previous levels any time soon. Air travel bottomed out in the middle of April and has seen a very small bounce since then – perhaps a dead cat bounce, but we know we have at least hit bottom.

There’s nowhere to go but up, but there’s also a reason that United is preparing to furlough a third of its pilots once government restrictions on airline layoffs are lifted.

There will be flights and there will be passengers, just fewer of them. Even if people aren’t traveling in great numbers currently, travel searches are up – for trips starting in July.

We Shouldn’t Treat All Activity Or Places As Having The Same Risk

If there is one overwhelming feature of this virus it is its heterogeneity.

The virus has killed many in Iran but not Iraq. It’s killed many in the Dominican Republic, but not in Haiti. It seems to have different outcomes in Jakarta than in Bali. Fatalities seem low in Malaysia relative to spread. Spread may be out of control in India, but that hasn’t translated to mortality. Maybe the virus hasn’t come to some of these places yet – it was late to Russia and now seems out of control. But why are death rates low in Israel?

Young people don’t face much risk, but that isn’t zero risk. There’s research on heart and other organ disease, and strokes, faced by people in their 30s and that doesn’t get captured in mortality statistics. Oddly tobacco use seems prophylactic in some way rather than being tied to more negative outcomes.

Of course if a young person contracts the virus they can spread it to vulnerable populations. The Swedish approach with far more modest restrictions and a goal of reaching herd immunity is at least plausible there because of the relatively limited number of intergenerational households. The health service in the UK gets overwhelmed no matter what policy is pursued because there was so little slack in health care capacity to begin with.

One of the major problems we face in evaluating what activities are risky, and therefore what cautions to take, is the lack of reliable data. Governments are taking lock down steps, and loosening steps, in the absence of sufficient information to guide action.

What are the demographics of positive tests (and negative tests) in each city? What age group, zip code, and gender? What type of symptoms does each psoitive-tested person have? What contact did they have, both distance and duration, and whether the spreader and infected person were wearing masks? We want to know whether spread happened indoors or outdoors. At a nursing home?

We don’t really have the information we need to know where is safe, or what steps to take. If we did we could be more tailored. But if this is the new normal, if this isn’t overwhelming health care capacity at the moment, many of us can take cautious steps towards experiencing life again.

Let’s Plan Summer Travel

There’s a phenomenon I’ve seen in comments here, on other blogs, and on Twitter of trip shaming. I don’t think that should be a universal reaction, just as I don’t think Sara Nelson’s proposal to ban leisure travel makes any sense.

That doesn’t mean everyone should travel, or that everywhere is a destination to consider. Hawaii doesn’t want you (yet). If there’s a quarantine order people arriving, that can’t be overcome with on the spot virus testing, then cross off that destination for now. All countries still have restrictions of some kind on travel.

If you’re in a high risk demographic, for instance over 60 with pre-existing conditions, consider taking greater steps to social distance. Every employee showing up to work at a nursing home should be tested for COVID-19 every day prior to starting their shift.

Still I think we are going to see more car trips that allow for distancing. We’ll see people Airbnb’ing homes. I wouldn’t go to New York or New Jersey yet, or anywhere that is a hot spot or in lock down. But I might consider South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Arkansas or West Virginia. I’ll take trips within Texas – half of the state’s counties have had 5 or fewer cases. And I will watch developments to see whether the trips I am considering make sense.

There is risk. it is not zero. It wasn’t zero before. Few activities have zero risk, there are on average about 465 accidental deaths per day in the United States though of course COVID-19 has been a leading cause of death for several weeks.

Right now though it seems that for some people and in some places there’s an acceptable level of risk to take baby steps towards a return to normal life.

And with change fee waivers in place for both new airline ticket purchases and otherwise-nonrefundable hotel bookings, it seems reasonable to plan a trip and make a final decision whether to take it based on circumstances as they develop.

I am not a public health official, nor an epidemiologist nor virologist. Of course predictions from those with such a background early on in the pandemic haven’t borne out well either. Nonetheless this is my overall view, informed by spending an inordinate amount of time reading pre-publication papers about the novel coronavirus as a non-specialist (though as someone whose primary job is not, in fact, writing about travel).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. agree in general, I’m trying to decide on a Clearwater trip in July or Aug, and would have to fly.

  2. You’ld consider traveling to those places with your immediate family?
    nobody wants to spend >$1k on a family vacation and get COVID-19.

  3. As per today’s NY Times front page, the Administration’s internal models predict a resurgence of deaths (not a plateau or decline) by June 1st. The model expects 3K deaths per day, up from under 2K at present. Depending on the exact form of the curve, between 120K and 130K Americans will have died of the disease by the end of this month.

  4. The past 18 months have been awful for us. . .two cruises had to be cancelled (one due to a leg injury and one due to COVID-19). . that being said, my wife and I need a break. We plan to visit friends and family during the late summer once restriction are eased and we see cases stable or falling. Also, we need time together that doesn’t involve our home and working out of it! Hawaii or Bermuda look high on our list. We will cruise to take our cruise of the British Isles next year (we hope).

  5. What has been lost in every conversation I have with others about “opening up” is that the “flatten the curve” argument wasn’t ever to prevent mortality directly from COVID-19. It was to not overwhelm hospitals. With many hospitals currently well under capacity, if not suffering due to utter lack of patients, it makes sense to open up now, with safeguards, to at least allow the disease to continue to run its course. Staying isolated and sheltered is just prolonging the economic suffering and the inevitable infections.

    Personally, I see the media firestorm of fear as enough to catalyze many to continue to social distance, not attend events, and not travel. The negative feedback loop will be built in at this point.

    What’s harder to bear is watching families suffer financially while we’ve had zero deaths and hardly any cases where I live. I’m also tired of this state of paranoia and fear of each other introduced by everyone wearing masks everywhere.

    You can’t ultimately run and hide from a disease. At least not entirely. For anyone not in the high risk categories, the best thing you can do is to maintain healthy dietary habits, boost your immune system, and be ready for the beast when it finally arrives.

  6. All travel for work, unless your company is in health care should be banned.

    A broom salesman does not need to be flying to a meeting in Iowa.

  7. What no one is talking about… is WHO is dying.
    The demographics of WHO is dying… is kind of important…
    Those people who are actually at RISK from this virus, should stay away from other people.

    Those who aren’t at risk (which is 90% of the world population)… should… uhm, live their lives.

    As more and more data comes out… it would appear to confirm
    a) the fatality rate is astonishly close to the flu
    b) it overwhelming targets the very old, infirm and those that are already unhealthy.
    c) we MASSIVELY over-reacted as a society.

    We basically cut off both our legs after we stubbed our toe.

    Remember: 60,000,000 people a year die… normally and naturally.
    So, when someone says…. omg, 200,000 people have died. Omg, 400,000 people have died.

    That’s, uhm, less than . 5% of normal deaths.
    When you look at the data, instead of focusing on ‘omg my grandma might get sick if I go to Orlando!!!!’…. there really isn’t much to do here unless you’re in the group that would die getting in. In which case, those people might want to decide for themselves if they want to live in isolation for the rest of their lives… or just be normal humans like the rest of us.

    Also, still traveling EVERY WEEK.
    Typing this from the airport right now. Flying home for 4 days, then back out on Friday.
    All trans-cons with a stop.

    Traffic is coming back, car rentals are getting busier. Hotels are filling up slowly.
    So, for all the chicken littles out there… reality is starting to show us – there is nothing at all to be scared of.

  8. As @LarryInNYC correctly wrote, the administration’s own internal numbers indicate that death rates could dramatically increase in coming weeks. Relaxing social distancing, including more air travel, will contribute to this.

    And as bad as the official numbers are, we have to bear in mind that, as per the recent Yale School of Public Health estimate of “excess deaths” (https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2020/05/02/excess-deaths-during-covid-19/?arc404=true), the real death toll from covid-19 is significantly higher than the current official statistics. That is, due to testing shortages, people dying at home, etc., some covid-19 deaths aren’t being counted as such. And deaths from some other causes are taking place because people are afraid to go to hospitals, can’t get care that would otherwise be available, etc. As more data comes in, the numbers will be refined. But it’s reasonable to assume that the real death toll from the pandemic in the United States could well be 50 or even 100 percent higher than the numbers regularly bandied about.

    I get and share folks’ intense frustrations about the current restrictions on our lives and livelihoods. The sensible alternatives to relieve the pain would be to do what Australia, Denmark, Germany, the U.K. and other countries are doing to various degrees: 1) direct salary support, rather than the cumbersome unemployment process, coupled with 2) ramping up a national test-and-trace infrastructure. Regrettably, the Trump administration is punting on both and telling the states to individually fight this war on their own, sometimes even competing with each other.

    We’re really only at the start of understanding and dealing with this pandemic. While we may cautiously open up in some respects, I’m afraid that even domestic air travel will remain not advisable throughout the summer and perhaps much longer.

  9. If you want to travel domestically this summer, Alaska has the least number of cases (368) of any state and a lot of fun to visit.

  10. The people who are least vulnerable are:
    1. Under 45
    2. Healthy
    3. Don’t live\interact with anyone older
    4. Don’t live\interact with anyone with health issues

    If you fit all 4 categories above then the risk to yourself and others is minimal but not zero.

    As one person told me when this started, in his country if you left your residence without a mask one of two things would happen:
    1. Best case scenario – A police officer would arrest you.
    2. Worse case scenario – You neighbors would beat the crap out of you.

    In the US we have a bunch of know it alls.

  11. How can one tell what aircraft have good HEPA filtration systems? A bunch of regional flights use A319s and RJ175. I couldn’t find any reliable info about those.

  12. It’s amazing how people don’t understand what a pandemic is. Read about the one in 1915. This isn’t over… We aren’t barely in the second quarter of the game. You may WANT to go out, but you are risking us all by doing it. Even THIS White House is increasing its death estimates now. Enjoy your yard or balcony, and learn to sew, or speak Spanish, or play tuba… Don’t travel.

  13. I fall between those who want to get out immediately and resume life fully and those who warn that we should stay locked up for years. What I’ll be looking for is sober risk analysis, and I haven’t seen much yet, due, as Gary says, to lack of data.

    If I wear a mask when around other people, maintain good social distancing, wash my hands frequently and don’t touch my face until after washing them, then what is the actual level of risk of getting COVID-19? I assume it is not zero, but there are lots of other risks that aren’t zero either and which I accept every day. I don’t see that information. How do I compare the risks? I’m not interested in hearing from people with a political agenda.

    Personally I would probably be willing to fly, but I would have to have a good reason to, such as a dying relative, since most places I would not be able to enjoy the destination anyway right now. It might be different in a few weeks.

  14. I read with horror when I read Americans talk as if it’s not that bad and we’re ready to get back to normal.

    The CDC is forecasting 200,000 cases a day for May, while Australia is getting 4 cases a day.

    13 times the population yet 40,000 times the cases

    Is that not alarming to Americans?

    40,0000 x ……

  15. @steve:

    A very hearty +1 for your comments.

    I guess not enough people have lost people they care about, or have family & close friends who are doctors & nurses putting their, & their families’ lives at risk working grueling (& heartbreaking) shifts in hospitals treating those who become infected & can not recover without seeking treatment in the hospital.

    And while it’s true that a great many may only experience mild symptoms, or even perhaps no symptoms at all after exposure to someone who transmits Covid19, perhaps if they heard the horror stories from people they care about describing the debilitating pain that many who do not require hospitalization also experience they might be less cavalier in their behavior & attitudes regarding this far from over plague/pandemic.

    Sadly, and I say this NOT wishing any illness on anyone, but merely as a reflection of statistical fact, it does appear that those who see themselves & their loved ones’ as far removed from facing some of this disease’s worst effects will stubbornly cling to their POV until they discover that NO ONE – be they Prime Ministers, Priests, Rabbis, Celebrities, Althletes or nothing more than “Ordinary Joe’s” & “Plain Jane’s” as most of us are – is guaranteed they’ll be “immune” or experience just the mildest presenting symptoms instead of being afflicted by some of the widely known array of truly terrible impacts, up to & including death, of this disease.

    And in the end, when they finally realize all that was really needed was a dollop of patience & basic common sense to likely have kept them or their loved ones from becoming horribly sick hopefully it won’t be too late for them to see the folly of their ways…

  16. No doubt, in the future historians will conclude current administration did NOT, and does NOT, care about the value of human life.

    For if it did, an headline suggesting the present administration was perfectly fine with, and is seeking to “normalize” 3,000 Covid19 deaths per day in the coming weeks would NOT be possible.

    To call this even remotely acceptable could only be possible by those with a depraved indifference to value of life itself as this is sickening to even contemplate as being possible, let alone being deemed perfectly OK as present administration is doing with its outrageous encouragement of armed goons (including many Neo-Nazis prominently waving Nazi flags) storming US state capitals demanding elimination of ONLY 2 PROVABLY EFFECTIVE methods to date to reduce transmission – & deaths – of Corona Virus:

    1.) Shelter In Place/Self-Quarantining;

    – & –

    2.) Social Distancing

    Because 3,000 Covid19 deaths per day is *NOT ACCEPTABLE* – and only those with a depraved indifference to the value of life could possibly think otherwise.


  17. @russell,

    Hear! Hear!

    And *SPOT ON*

    Anyone who is NOT HORRIFIED & OUTRAGED by the statistics you cite really needs to step back & rethink things ASAP – because what’s going on in our country, which just LOVES to beat its chest claiming it’s the richest, most advanced country in human history, is not just shameful and immoral, it’s borderline criminal.

    And for sure, when a great many countries around the world have had far greater success in mitigating the effects of the Covid19 pandemic, the situation as the cold, hard facts makes clear is a reflection of who we are as a (allegedly) civilized nation most DEFINITELY do NOT speak to a country more advanced than any other in human history.

    In fact, quite the contrary, with our rates of infection and mortality being as high as they are, our country is more like the underdeveloped “Banana Republic” it has, in fact, become under the present administration as the facts don’t lie.

    And when a great many so-called developing nations and/or much less affluent nations have much lower rates of infection and mortality than ours does, then we certainly cannot HONESTLY continue to claim that our country is the “most advanced” in human history anymore.

    That much is for sure.

  18. @Russell – it is alarming (and that’s why we’ll have a new national government come November 4th)…the noisy demonstrators you see on TV are in a distinct minority, they are just riled up by paid right wing support groups

  19. @Howard: great! No worries! Tell that to my dead cousin, expired in his 50s on a ventillator from COVID. It sounds like you were “inconvenienced” when you’re unlikely to get it. Aww. Hope you’re back to work and shaking hands, because it’s so damned important to sell shoes, or whatever you do.

  20. That POS in the White House wanted a war – all good Republican presidents do – and he got one. Wars are waged by the federal government not states. Why he isn’t treating the pandemic like a war is beyond me. Guess he wants to save his money to build that wall. Good to have priorities.

  21. The only thing sadder than the lies that our government and MSM have perpetuated during this hoax, is the number of uninformed sheep that have fallen for it. The response to this scam-demic from the bulk of society is pathetic.

  22. @James N – good to see you still have an outlet for your nonsense here, since OMAAT smartly banned you

    Maybe you should focus your energies on the TPG site, we’d all be better off then

  23. @James N
    Happy you are still alive so I can have a good laugh at your intentional ignorance
    In the 2018/2019 flu season (Oct – May) NY state had about 4,700 fatalities from the flu/pneumonia. This year we had that many in the FIRST 6 DAYS of April from Covid-19. I feel sorry for people that are mentally challenged but less sorry for the intentionally ignorant.

  24. Wait now everyone, chump says Liberate the states run by a Democratic governor because the people with the automatic weapons, nazi and confederate flags are good people too. They will definitely open up America. Yeah, to more stupidity and deaths.

  25. “The number of new cases in the U.S. has plateaued, thanks to social distancing measures.” It’s been only 24 hours, but we can already say that that comment didn’t age well.

  26. @James N,

    Having heard earlier today that one (1) of our closest friends lost THREE (3) relatives to Covid19, including a 35 years old nurse who had NO underlying conditions, and who just gave birth to her first child FOUR (4) months ago (who will never have the simple pleasure you take for granted of having any memories of time spent with their mother), it’s taking every ounce of patience, strength & courage to express the most visceral feelings that your callous and insensitive comments brought up upon reading them.

    So, rather than say things that might make me feel good in the
    moment, and for which no doubt, most reasonable minds might understand, or even excuse given the intensity of feelings that anyone would have after now knowing of NO LESS THAN SIX – yes, S-I-X – lives lost to what you consider an “hoax”, all I can say is I pity you for the small mind & heart of darkness you have that can otherwise only explain how anyone could possibly think, let alone express, such hostility & depraved indifference to life itself.

    Perhaps if you or a loved one is felled by this very real, and very deadly, Covid19 pandemic you’ll feel otherwise.

    And for good measure, that you haven’t experienced the pain & sorrows as so many of us have, instead of wasting so much time and energy being angry, hostile, and belittling others’ losses, perhaps you’d be much better off counting your blessings and being thankful that thus far, you and your loved ones have been spared the unbearable pain that comes from the absence of loved ones in your own life.

    Just sayin’

  27. That’s to *NOT* – repeat NOT – express the most visceral feelings in the above.

    Please be sure to note that **important correction**.

  28. @Justine Kirby what are you referring to? There were fewer new cases on 5/4 than there were on 5/3 and we don’t have good data on 5/5 yet. The number of new confirmed cases in the U.S. peaked on April 24 and the number of cases hasn’t been equaled since.

  29. Per CDC estimates as reported in yesterday’s NY Times, by June 1st, new Covid19 cases are estimated to increase to 200,000 per day in the USA, with deaths nearly doubling to 3,000, also per day in the USA.

    For anyone who has yet to see this information, or the CDC report available at a link embedded within the article, I’ve included a link to the NY Times below:


    For those of us in NYC, the lack of accurate information in January, February & the first half of March about the clear & present danger posed by Covid19 likely resulted in many more deaths than otherwise would’ve happened had we been provided the most basic, unvarnished truth instead of the intentional withholding of vital information at the highest levels of the Federal government, and been afforded an opportunity to make every effort to thwart the explosion of infections that instead took place silently while so many of us were aware of the looming pandemic that could no longer be covered up by mid-March.

    If those around the country wish to exist in the same state of disbelief, or denial, that many of us in the NYC metro area did when the earliest cases emerged in the nearby suburb of New Rochelle, or that the posting of a ring of National Guard troops and regular police around New Rochelle would protect the 18 or so million of us who live in the greater Tri-State area (NY, NJ & CT) closest to NYC from becoming infected by the earliest cluster of cases in that affluent Westchester suburb, so be it – I guess there’s NOTHING those of us whom have already experienced the loss of loved ones; who have heard the horrifying first hand accounts from friends who became ill and were fortunate enough to recover from it; or who have family & friends who are doctors & nurses who have been working grueling, heartbreaking shifts at NYC’s best known, world renown hospitals, can possibly say that will convey just how brutal & real Covid19 is.

    But, when the worst of this pandemic strikes virtually every city and town no matter how large, or how small, as it surely will in the coming months, and some readers become ill themselves, or see loved ones become ill, with the most debilitating effects, up to and including death, don’t say you weren’t forewarned about just how brutal & savage this disease is, and how this, like most diseases, often doesn’t discriminate between rich or poor (just ask British Prime Minister Boris Johnson), race, religion, or ethnicity (yes, I’m aware that in many cities & states the least affluent & people of color are disproportionately impacted; the point is, even so, anyone of any race, or occupation, up to and including the most vaunted CEOs or noted celebrities & athletes have also been infected, with fatalities, too).

    Because, as sure as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, this pandemic is as real as it is deadly.

    That’s just a fact, whether anyone wants to believe it now and take every reasonable precaution to protect themselves and their loved ones – or if they’d rather wait, play “Russian Roulette” and only come to see the brutality of Covid19 when they or a loved one is gasping for air – but ends up DOA at their nearby hospital after dialing 911 and requesting ambulance as happened so often here in NYC last month.

    The choice is yours.

    But again, when Covid19 starts infiltrating your homes & begins taking lives in rapid succession as it surely will in the coming weeks after so many decided to throw caution to the wind, don’t say you weren’t forewarned.

    Because you were – and you chose to ignore the warnings of the approaching storm from those who had no place to go once it came ashore, and then literally have had to batten down the hatches for nearly 2 months just to finally begin seeing the number of daily cases, hospitalizations & deaths tapering off as we are now hopefully seeing happen in NYC.

    As for sure, this Covid19 is every bit as wicked and fearsome as the “it’s all just an hoax” crowd yet still denies it as being…

    Trust me – you’ll see…you’ll see.

  30. And I might add, invest in the FALSE HOPE that the the ring of National Guard troops & police posted around New Rochelle in the Westchester county suburb just beyond the NYC city line in the Bronx provided, in the above.

    Because, trust me – just like many across the country, we’re human, too, in NYC, and we also sought refuge in any kind of window dressing/false hope that we’d miraculously escape the ravages of this horrible pandemic.

    Of course, that’s NOT how things worked out, is it?

    So, feel free to continue investing in denial, or false hopes, that somehow “anytown” or every town USA is guaranteed to be spared of this GLOBAL – as in worldwide – pandemic.

    Who knows?

    Maybe your particular hamlet just might be among the lucky few that is spared the worst impacts of this gruesome disease.

    But, for sure, what is GUARANTEED is that a great many cities and towns won’t be spared the worst impacts of Covid19 – and once the storm arrives it’ll be too late for far more people than it would’ve needed to be if only those who’s fears caused them to invest in false hope that we’d be spared the worst effects as so many of us in NYC metro area did – or worse, those pandemic deniers, which quite frankly, if only there was a way to “steer” the pandemic their way while passing over everyone else so they, and they alone, could suffer the effects of Covid19 as they so richly deserve to for their selfishness, arrogance, hubris and depraved indifference to the value of human life.

    If. Only.

  31. @Howard Miller
    Unfortunately “James N” frequently chimes in with his uninformed comments. He never presents any evidence but constantly claims this is all a hoax. I suspect he is just a lonely troll trying to get peoples attention.

  32. @WileyDog,

    Thanks for the heads-up re “JamesN” – it’s so difficult trying to figure out how anyone can actually believe those things – let alone actually express it publicly.

    I swear, it’s the things that are being said by some is so crazy that there are days when I can’t believe what my eyes are seeing or my ears are hearing!


    And the worst part is that this next level crazy is said with such gusto and pride that it boggles the mind to think that there really are so many people who are actually proud of their shallowness, stupidity and immorality.

  33. @Howard Miller

    I hope you realize that New York City is a case dissimilar from the rest of the country. No other area is as densely populated and so reliant on public transportation. De Blasio and Barbot were telling people to go about their lives without a care and then even lied about the need to wear masks, knowing full well that they are highly effective in mitigating the spread of the virus. Thanks in part to such policies, the tri-state area has over 41% of all US COVID-19 deaths.

    Still, the data of deaths in New York show that the young and healthy are at very low risk. According to a JAMA study, of New York City COVID-19 hospitalizations, 94% had one comorbidity and 88% had two or more. Three quarters of all deaths are of those 65 and older, and almost half of all deaths are of those 75 and older. At the top age bracket, you are already bumping into the life expectancy without comorbidities (though at that age, the majority will have at least one). The overall death rate among those 18 to 44 is 0.016% and 45 to 64 is 0.147%, which likely overstate the true rates given that the vast majority of COVID-19 cases could be asymptomatic (see testing data of labor and delivery unit of Columbia hospitals).

    Given data such as these and more, does it make sense to keep the young and healthy across the country locked up at home? No one is saying to throw the elderly and infirm to the wolves. If anything, recognizing the reality of COVID-19 vulnerability will let us rally our resources to protect those most in need. The left like to caricature those who would re-open the economy as heartless capitalists when staying locked down has very real, lethal costs as well. Medical resources now being monopolized by COVID-19 efforts could be re-opened for other needs as well. Thousands are dying or will die from conditions that go untreated or undiagnosed because of the COVID-19 panic. Does COVID-19 somehow stop people from having heart attacks? Does it stop tumors from spreading? Governor Cuomo’s statement, “If everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy,” is utterly disingenuous pandering. It is nonsense to say that we cannot put a value on a human life; what do you think a wage is? Are the lives of those locked at home worth nothing compared to imagined millions who could die according to widely conflicting models? Those who are relatively well off and employed by large corporations can easily work from home and ride out the lockdown, but many small business owners and blue-collar workers are not so lucky. Consider that the COVID-19 deaths we’ve seen thus far come from the unmitigated spread until the end of March (duration from infection to death can be as long as 10 weeks). Masks were not even recommended until a month ago. Now public health officials aren’t lying to us anymore about them so we have one more tool to help keep ourselves safe. Still, life is not without risk until you are dead. To quote America’s favorite movie, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” I, for one, intend to live.

  34. @cargocult,

    Firstly, I respect and appreciate your rebuttal.

    However, if I may ask:

    Have you lost any family members, close friends or neighbors/acquaintances/familiar faces?

    Because I lost a close friend last month; and their friendship can never be replaced, with the loss, now a month later still leaving a painful void in my, and many others’ lives.

    Or how about a friend, who earlier this week told me about his family’s grief for the three people felled by Covid19, including a 35 years old nurse who had no underlying conditions/co-morbidities, but because she works on the front lines of this pandemic, became sick, and died, leaving behind her 4-months’ old child?

    Are those 2 peoples’ lives immaterial?

    How about we revisit this conversation a year or 2 from now, and let’s see how you or others who are so quick to rationalize the deaths of the aged, or who aren’t blessed with the youth or perfect health you have feel once the impact of this pandemic hits closer to home?

    Don’t get me wrong!

    1.) I agree DeBlasio & Cuomo both mishandled things for at least the first 3 weeks of March with their petty political feuding – and have criticized Cuomo extensively in past writings regarding major infrastructure projects he routinely crams down our throats such as the preposterous LaGuardia AirTrain; the bait & switch, super disappointing, super cheap looking new terminals being built at that airport, when he promised NYers we’d get a world class gateway for the $8 billion (NOT including the $2.5-3.5 billion that will be wasted on his “Silly Little Trolley” as The NY Daily News called his stinky, 3rd rate waste of time and money, AirTrain).

    Oh, I could go on about Cuomo’s foibles – but the point is, while in recent weeks he’s handled the Covid19 outbreak much better than the clown in Washington has (let’s face it, just about ANYONE would handle things better than that imbecile and his posterior kissing sycophants has), I’m hardly fawning over Cuomo.

    And while I’ll take DeBlasio over that fraud, Ghouliani, who’s as crazy as a loon, as our Mayor, that doesn’t mean I fawn over DeBlasio, either.

    2.) Finally, let me be clear:

    I only wish NO ONE ever experiences any illness, let alone death, from Covid19 as I know doctors and nurses who have discussed what they’ve seen treating this disease, and it’s truly horrifying; plus I know people who contracted varying degrees of Covid19, including someone who was put on a ventilator, and those that had anything more than the mildest presenting symptoms, even if they did NOT require hospitalization, have described a sort of misery that went on for 2-3 weeks that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    But, since we’re a long ways away from seeing the end of this pandemic, and since statistically speaking, it WILL penetrate virtually every city and town throughout our country, chances are a great many of those who right now seem to be trivializing the value of others’ lives as if God died and appointed them in His/Her place to decide who’s lives are worth something and who’s are worthless and therefore worthy of being sacrificial lambs to be sacrificed at the alter of money and power as the Narcissist In Chief and his enablers are doing, I just think we should agree to disagree right now; put our discussion in abeyance until such time that the threat of Covid19 is permanently eliminated either by a provably effective vaccine and/or treatment/cure for this insidious disease; and then, let’s see what the cost was in terms of lives lost from what I’m confident will be a desperately failed policy of neglect and indifference that to me most certainly is the most flagrant display of depraved indifference to the value of human life versus the de facto embrace of “herd immunity” in the name of commerce from an exceptional few who have God complexes afforded to them from the illusion/delusion that their wealth and power guarantees them they, and their loved ones, will be spared the worst effects of what likely will be the worst public health crisis in our lifetimes?

    Until then, good luck and Godspeed, as I only wish you and your loved ones are spared the pain and loss that I, and many others I know, already are experiencing upon the loss of those who’s lives mattered very much to them; who’s value was priceless; and who, like me, have a void that can never be filled now that the loved ones are gone.

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