New virus, old hatreds

By the time most people tuned in, lockdown was the urgent conventional wisdom, even though it is a form of extreme travel restriction. New explainers have been born to map out incubation periods, asymptomatic spreaders, and how to flatten the curve. Instead of anti-racism, epidemiology is the order of the day. And now people who opted not to take AP calculus their senior year of high school are plotting fatality rates. By a process of simple mathematical extrapolation, unconnected to how humans actually socialize with one another, extravagant projections have been made that millions will die.

I think a great many Americans, sitting in the giant swathes of the country where coronavirus is nowhere to be found, are wondering if it’s all a lot of hysteria from the intellectual-yet-idiot class. Trump obviously senses this suspicion is out there. He’s hearing from people who wonder why you can’t hire a crew to lay a flagstone patio, as if that were a major vector of disease transmission. And he’s getting nervous about the projections of Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street institutions that 20 or 30 percent unemployment is in our near future, an economic reckoning the likes of which we’ve never seen.