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Treat COVID As The Local Crisis It Is

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

If there was ever an argument against one-size-fits-all government policy, it’s the COVID crisis.

I’m going to inundate readers with data, but stick with me because the data is what tells us that there is no reason to keep the country shut down.


Dying from COVID-19 is highly dependent on where one lives, and co-morbidity factors such as advanced age, poor respiratory health, and obesity. There are 2.78 million cases, or about 0.9 percent of the country’s entire population.

The CDC reports 112,226 deaths from COVID-19 (4 percent mortality), of which 80 percent were age 65 or older. That translates to a 0.8 percent mortality rate for everyone else.

Let’s refine the data further using downloadable CDC data.  Unsurprisingly, we find that the more densely populated areas carry the highest risk. NYC itself has 19,106 deaths, or 17 percent of the nation’s total. Of those, 74 percent were 65 and older.

California has 248,000 cases, or 0.6 percent of the state’s population. The 5,172 deaths lead to a 2.1 percent mortality rate. Those over age 65 represent 13 percent of the cases…but 77 percent of the deaths.

In Los Angeles County, there are 107,667 cases (1 percent of the population), 3,454 deaths (3.2 percent mortality rate), and those over 65 account for 70-percent plus of the deaths.  If you glance at the county map, you see much of the county has extremely low case rates. The highest is 2.5 percent in the City of Vernon.

But here’s the thing that politicians and the media don’t want you to know about. From the LA Country Department of Public Health: Ninety-three percent of people who died had underlying health conditions”


If you spot-check any county in the United States, you find statistics that are substantially similar to all of the data just presented.

In April, FTI Consulting found that 77 percent of deaths in NYC had serious underlying health conditions (diabetes, lung disease, immunodeficiency, heart disease, asthma, etc). Only two percent had no underlying conditions. The rest were unknown.

Even our friends at the New York Times admit to higher deaths from underlying conditions in their most recent data publication. Not only that, those with underlying conditions may have NOT gone to get care because they were afraid of contracting COVID in a health care facility. Many were unable to get care because the CDC tells health care facilities to keep people away.

Meanwhile, the death rate among all age populations has declined dramatically, even as the media and politicians continue to frighten everyone by saying the aggregate number of cases is increasing. A chart listing the odds of a person dying from various causes of death shows that a person is far more likely to die from things like falls and chronic lower respiratory disease than COVID-19. 

What can we learn from this data? First, some caveats. There are many other factors involved in whether one contracts the virus or dies from it, but age and location are high-level factors that are a starting point for properly balanced policy.


That starting point is that COVID is now a matter of local concern. Not federal. Not state. Not county. We are now at the city level where decisions can be made, and even in places like Los Angeles, those decisions should be hyper-local.

Lift all stay-at-home orders with encouragement that people engage in appropriate cautionary measures regardless of risk profile. Businesses can choose whether to open, at what capacity, and with safety protocols that they see fit to use.  

You know what will happen? Most businesses will re-open, call in workers, and get people working and earning money again. Most businesses will still ask patrons to wear masks, social distance and limit capacity at certain times, especially places like grocery stories and retailers.

If government actually wants to be useful, it should identify the highest risk pools of people. Encourage low-risk pools to offer help. Run errands. Assist with deliveries. Help out! Americans have proven time and again that, in times of natural disasters, we step up for each other.

For the nervous Nellies who don’t have underlying conditions, screaming about how we’re all going to die if we don’t keep everything shut down, you can all stay home. You are staying home anyway. Stop trying to punish the rest of us who aren’t afraid.


Meanwhile, they should at least admit that “Stay Home Save Lives” will result in countless people who will suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, spousal and child abuse, suicide and aggravated medical conditions from being unable to see a doctor.

Every life is sacred. So is liberty. The pursuit of happiness follows. When government policy interferes to an unreasonable extent, all three are threatened. It’s time for government overreach to stop, and for those living in fear to wake up.

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