Barstool sports founder: 'We're staying inside until there's a cure? When did that become the game?'

Dave Portnoy, the founder of Barstool sports, posted a rant about coronavirus lockdowns on Twitter yesterday which has already been viewed more than 3 million times. You may not agree with everything he says here but he does make a solid point about the way the goal has subtly shifted over the past 5-6 weeks.

“What the f**k is going on? When did this become flatten the curve, flatten the curve, flatten the curve to we have to find a cure or everyone’s going to die?” he said to open the rant. He continued, “Like Fauci. Seems like a nice enough dude. I’ve always been, oh he’s—no agenda. Looks like he could be maybe the grandfather in Wedding Crashers. Gets in front of the Senate he’s like ‘If we reopen the country too quick everyone’s dead.’ Where’d that come from?

“And the LA Mayor. We’re not opening the city until we find a cure? What? Find a cure? Who says we’re going to find a cure? We haven’t found a cure to cancer. It took AIDS 20 years or whatever, do we even have a cure? So the economy’s just shut down?

“All we’ve heard forever: Flatten the curve, flatten the curve, make sure there’s hospital beds. We’re there. Now all of a sudden it’s like a 180.”

Portnoy went on to say, “We’ve done exactly what you said, now you’re changing the rules.”

Watch the full clip below, but that’s the gist of it. Given the number of views, Portnoy’s rant has apparently captured a frustration that a lot of people are feeling right now. There’s a fundamental miscommunication about how we’re expected to balance taking precautions not to spread the virus and carrying on with our lives in some sustainable way.

When you actually talk to or even just hear about the situation some people are in because of these lock down orders, it puts things in a different light. Yesterday, a family member called me for advice on buying a new computer. After years of working for the same organization he was laid off last month and is trying to figure out how to make a living to help support his family. His old computer belongs to the place he worked for many years, so to even get started he needs to buy a new one of his own. It’s a scary place to be as an adult with a mortgage, kids headed to college and all the normal bills to pay.

Earlier this week another family member learned that their employer had just fired four other people. One of the people who lost their job is a single mom whose husband died only a few months ago. This is a tough blow for a family that has already had enough of those. Of course I understand the company had no choice. The economy is crushing everyone. In fact, it’s guaranteed that if things don’t pick up, more people will be laid off.

Of course no one wants their community to turn into New York City with refrigerated trucks full of bodies outside hospitals. We can’t pretend there’s no threat because the fact remains that most of the country is not even close to reaching herd immunity and won’t be for quite a while. But the fact remains that there are terrible outcomes on both sides of this equation.

Here’s Portnoy’s rant. I’m sure this is going to be dumped on by a lot of people as anti-science, dangerous, etc. I don’t think the idea here is to start ignoring public health officials wholesale. I think the idea is to highlight the fact that the death toll isn’t the only price we’re paying right now. It’s not clear all of our elected officials and experts get that.