No Minister

COVID-19 and the Memory Hole

On January 29th I posted an OP on the Coronavirus (now referred to as COVID-19), looking at the likelihood of the USA and other nations greatly restricting air travel between the USA and China, “Faster Please“:

The Trump administration is looking at a variety of measures to contain the fast-spreading virus that has infected roughly 4,700 people across the globe, U.S. health officials told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. White House officials called executives at major U.S. carriers on Tuesday, telling them that a temporary ban on China flights is on the table, according to people familiar with those conversations.

Trump pulled the trigger soon afterward in a politically unpopular move:

The White House, in defiance of recent American history, also opted to go medieval by aggressive measures like barring entry to non-Americans who were recently in China and advising Americans not to go to China or South Korea.

Naturally this led to screams from the Democrats, like the following from good old Senate Minority Leader, Chucky Schumer:

The premature travel ban to and from China by the current administration is just an excuse to further his ongoing war aganst immigrants.

At least he didn’t call Trump a racist and a xenophobe – this time.

Except now the experts have admitted that Trump’s strategy helped saved lives:

The head of the W.H.O. team that visited China said this week that China “took one of the most ancient strategies and rolled out one of the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease-containment efforts in history.”

The W.H.O.’s epidemic-modeling teams concluded that travel restrictions had slowed the spread of the virus outside China by two to three weeks.

For the United States, the delay was probably far greater. Air-traffic data shows that flights from China to the United States dropped much more than they did to Europe.

The WHO finally got around to declaring the epidemic a global emergency on Jan. 30, which would have been a bit late for any nation foolishly following their advice and came at the same time that they officially announced that they still oppose travel and trade restrictions.

One way to tell when President Trump has made the right choice is not just when his critics fall silent on their hysterical opposition but when they start trying to Memory Hole their hysteria. Right Chucky?

Too bad that the Internet is forever.

One more thing: all those arguments Trump has made to US companies about bringing production home to the USA and relying less on outsourced supply chains – the arguments critics said were simply more examples of his jingoism, xenphobia and failure to understand economics?

They’re not looking so stupid any more either. People seem to forget that Coase’s Theorem cuts both ways when it comes to in-house vs out-sourcing and that “cost” covers a lot more than component and labour pricing.

Written by Tom Hunter

February 29, 2020 at 10:11 pm

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