“Politicians appear to implement lockdowns as a response to social-distancing behaviors in their areas, rather than as drivers of those behaviors.”

"Is it possible that while lockdowns do not influence the timing of social distancing, they do influence its scale? There is actually some evidence of this. While issuing a lockdown probably doesn’t initiate social distancing, it might make social distancing a bit more aggressive. The figure below shows how social distancing has proceeded since March 11 in states with and without shelter-in-place orders (SIPs)." - The Public Discourse 

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Aaron Blumer's picture


It's rare these days to see articles that push back a bit on the majority narrative but aren't transparently political or otherwise agenda-driven. I don't know if he's right, but this is a very thoughtful look at some interesting questions.

I'm encouraged to see it. Debate is good. All the reacting and posturing we call debate these days isn't worth much... and when it influences decision-makers, it's worse than useless.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

josh p's picture

Interesting reading. Due to Covid and several other factors, my new wife and I had to scale back our wedding to ten people. We then drove across country from Illinois to Washington. We left on 4/7. The states we drove through had some of the least Covid but I was surprised how well people were social distancing even in those states. There were more things open in places like South Dakota but people were often wearing masks and keeping their distance.

Aaron Blumer's picture


One thing we don't know is what people will voluntarily continue to do after restrictions are lifted. Though we're all tired of it, low level fear (i.e. caution) is a strong motivator. I suspect it has become pretty habitual at this point for most, and if numbers start going up again after relaxing rules, most people will intensify their distancing etc with or without rules. 

But there will always be some...

Glad you got to have your wedding! Congrats!

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

Sweden has no restrictions  and the Right Wing and Trump's Mouthpieces have been crowing about that. .  Guess what Sweden's death rate is twice what the United States is per 100,000 people.  The politicians implementing these quarantines were right and their forceful implementation has saved lives.  Trump and his Fox Mouthpieces are lairs and proven to be DEAD WRONG 100% of the time.   

Lets be honest there  are Trumpeteers in this country who are refusing to obey the quarantines and Trumpeteer Governors in Red Rural States are still refusing to apply any rules.  They are still carrying that this myth that it  is a deep state plan by Dr Fauci and Hillary to bring Donald down.  

Guess what folks the CORONAVIRUS is now ripping through Trumpland.  Case in point is Nebraska.  In particular the meat processing plants which the idiot Republican Governor is still down playing it and saying the people are catching it somewhere else and it has nothing to do with meat plants.  The Governor is demanding that the employees go back to work or else.   Last I heard slavery was outlawed.   Trump is making the same threats while Nebraska's death rate is growing exponentially.  

I don't want to seem callous here and I do believe in the next two weeks we need to open the economy and deal with this as we go and everyone just practice social distancing on their own.  I think those Demon Democrat Governors in NJ NY and PA even see that unless Hillary tells them else wise TO GET TRUMP.  

However with  the above being said if the Trumpeteers in these Red States continue to ignore social distancing and calling it a hoax then they deserve to get the consequences of the CORONAVIRUS.   Enough dead bodies of their grandparents parents and young people pile up they may get it through their thick skulls they made a mistake.   If that happens by November even Pinocchio will be able to beat Trump in the election.  I pray that won't happen.  I'll take Trump another 4 years any day of the week in exchange for no more lives lost or people harmed.  

Just one last thing. 30 Pastors from down South who actively defied the social distancing rules and preached the hyped up hoax myth and deep state theories from pulpit are now dead from the CORONAVIRUS.  So in the states where they had the rules down south the rules did not change behavior.  I blame that on the Christian Right Trump and Fox News who goaded these people in being defiant.   

Now the question is how many of these Pastor's  defiant Parishioners keel over.  I'd bet big money the Republican Christian Right wants to keep that under wraps.   Why don't they put Corrupt Paige Patterson to work.  It will give Godly Paige something to do while his Texas Christian Right Supporters work on using Texas State Republican Government power to get Godly Paige reinstated at the Seminary as they threatened to do.  

Darm's picture

I won’t try to address all the issues raised in the previous post by joeb.  I assume it was written in sincerity.  Maybe.

However, I would point out that multiple news outlets have reported on Mr. Trump’s “calling out” Sweden for not doing more to lockdown their population more aggressively.  He compared their higher death rates to similar countries in their neighborhood of the world.  So I’m not sure how the situation as joeb describes it is accurate.

Maybe you might want to walk this back a bit joeb?

Joeb's picture

Trump says one thing one day and then the next he will deny he said it even though there is a video of it.  The Trumpeteers will say no he never said that.  It's almost a joke.  

Trump blew his dog  whistles and his Trumpeteers were  out in force demonstrating the quarantines and social distancing and then Trump turns around and goes after the Governor of Georgia for opening the economy to fast.  The demonstrations demanded the economy be reopened now.  Bottom line DARM Trump is a bold face lair and plays all sides at once including pushing the deep state corruption angle with Dr Fauci conspiring with Hillary.   No President has gone after Career Federal Employees and Regular Military Personnel to have them removed for political reasons.  Next thing you know Federal Employees will be selling fund raising dinner tickets for Trump to keep their jobs.  

Trump's mouthpieces have been still trying to argue it's a hoax no worse then the flu then that finally blew up big time.  You know kind of like the Eagles thing. Sean Hannity's so-called 3 experts to include Dr Phil tried portray it no worse in the flu to counter the argument of the shut  downs.  Low and behold they got caught in bold face lies and had to recant.  So DARM Trump and the Republican Right have handled this whole pandemic poorly and in some cases they have blood on their hands.   Yes Fact DARM.and 30 Pastors have died so far.  The idiot Pastor down in Louisiana had Al Perkins of the FRC show up to run interference with the Police.  Al Perkins doesn't show up unless this Pastor is a big Christian Righty Trump Pastor.  By the way the Pastor's defense Attorney is hospitalized due to Covid 19 and one parishioner has died.   If  bunch more do the Pastor should be charged with man slaughter and do 20 years.  Mes think DARM speaketh to soon.   

Bert Perry's picture

There are more factors involved than just a lockdown, to be sure, but it is true that Sweden's COVID rates are indeed higher than those of neighboring Norway and Denmark, where the cultures and lifestyles are similar.  My thought is that you have a certain number of people who will consider the data, understand the reality of uncertainty, and take action to reduce their exposure.  For example, my company decided that most employees would work from home a couple of weeks before governors started issuing lockdown orders--really when it became clear that the virus was very infectuous and fairly lethal as well.

On the flip side, there are others who will either misrepresent the data ("death rate so far is about the same as ordinary flu", "fewer people have died so far than in an ordinary flu season"), or ignore it altogether, and they will, if not stopped, expose the rest of us, including the most vulnerable, to that disease.  It is for them that lockdowns are devised.  

Some would argue "well, if we can keep the disease out of nursing homes and away from the vulnerable, we'll be just fine".  Well, true as far as it goes, but as the father of three daughters who work in one (2 CNAs and one in food service), I don't know how you do that.  The people who work there are young, some of them dedicated, some of them "going somewhere" (usually RN or other college), and a third portion are "dead enders" who work there because that's really their best option.

They're the ones who smoke, come in hung over, and are probably your most likely source for infectious disease.  Open up the bars and restaurants, allow large gatherings, and a good portion of them will be there.  So what do you do?  Keep in mind that not only are most nursing homes working HARD to keep the CNAs they have (it can be depressing working at a place where people basically go to die), and if you fire people for coming to work tired or smoking, you're likely to "get to know lawyers on a non-personal basis".  Even "hung over" is somewhat subjective and....if they're doing their job, your lawyers will tell you not to discipline or fire them.

I'm open to less intrusive solutions than overall lockdowns, but we need to figure out how it's going to work.  I don't see an easy path.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

JD Miller's picture

I'm seeing a lot of science vs emotion over the Sweden thing.  Although the science is not settled on the proper approach, the theory based on previous scientific research on disease spread is suggesting that Sweden will initially have a higher death rate, but then the death rate will quickly decline once herd immunity slows the spread.  (herd immunity is not 100% being infected, but rather enough people infected that the spread slows and eventually stops).  The hope is that even though Sweden has a higher death rate early on, that they will not have a severe second wave and will thus have a lower death rate overall.  

The verdict is still out on whether or not this theory is correct, but it is not a theory that is based on any political party.  Experts in the field over a variety of political leanings have differences of opinion on these matters.  Only time will tell if Sweden is correct or not.  To turn the Sweden approach into a Trump thing makes people sound uniformed and makes me question the credibility of other things they have to say on these matters.

Paul Henebury's picture

Congratulations on your recent marriage Josh!

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

Joeb's picture

There is no easy path to take.  However even if I don't like Trump I would agree with him we need to reopen the economy.  We are approaching a time now we just need to do it.  I accept doing it right n stages but we need to do it and get on with life and just deal with Covid 19 as we go.  Staying closed to long will destroy the economy. If people personally want to practice quarantining themselves and the 6 ft rule whatever I have no problem with that.  

Again I'll state Trump will win the election.  There is no way Biden will beat him. Even if everything goes down the toilet.   Also I'll give kudos for what Trump said about Biden's Me To issue.  Trump was sympathetic.   The Bernie people will probably be the people who go after Biden about it.   

josh p's picture

Paul Henebury wrote:

Congratulations on your recent marriage Josh!

Thanks Paul!