The extension of the statewide stay-at-home order until the end of April by Governor Bill Lee Monday, a #ReopenTennessee movement has started in the state.
The governor’s original Stay-At-Home Executive Order No. 27 was scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, but was extended Monday by more than two weeks to April 30, The Tennessee Star reported.
The Twitter account @ReopenTennessee, with a tagline, “Tennessee must be free. Reopen the state immediately” started Monday night with an initial Tweet, “We are #reopenTN We are here to unit for the common good of the citizens of our state. We will oppose this gross government overreach and demand for the state to open immediately. Too many people are suffering the financial impact and loss of freedom of the gov. Lock down.”
— Reopen Tennessee (@ReopenTennessee) April 14, 2020
A tweet that links to a petition – “Bill Lee: Protect the 1% at risk, and let the 99% return to work” – speaks to the heart of the issue.
Started by Jason Hall, the petition opening presents that it is written from the perspective of a healthcare professional.
“It is safe to say that the most pressing issue that the State of Tennessee is facing right now has progressed from a pandemic to an epidemic. As a physician and surgeon, I am not speaking of a viral epidemic, but one of a more insidious nature: an epidemic of fear,” the petition says.
The petition is not at all dismissive of the seriousness of the disease. “Make no mistake, SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19, the “Wuhan virus”) is a serious illness that demands our attention as a community.”
It also makes the point that over a month of dedicated data about the virus is now available.
With all of that data available, the petition speaks directly to Lee to say, “Unfortunately, the statistic that is most talked about, and apparently which you and other leaders use to make decisions is the one that is the most meaningless: total number of cases of SARS-Cov-2.”
The number of cases is called out as a “vanity metric” that serves only to stoke fear and panic and sell newspaper ads, but says nothing about who is at risk of serious consequences if they contract the virus.
The 290,000 cases of laboratory-confirmed cases of flu since September 2019 is compared to the 427,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of SARS-Cov-2 infections, one of which is totally ignored by the news media and “decision makers,” while the other is cause for a national shutdown.
“Both numbers are eye-opening, but tell us NOTHING about the seriousness of either disease process.”
The hospitalization rate is a metric worth using, particularly that of the at-risk population, which is those over 65 years of age and/or with a weakened immune system.
With SARS-Cov-2, that rate is 16.8 per 100,000, whereas it is 195.4 per 100,000 with influenza.
“This represents a greater than 1000% difference,” states the petition.
The conclusion that the petition draws: “Clearly, the data shows that SARS-Cov-2 causes, for the majority of the population, a mild illness.”
The mortality rate is an even more important data point that must be used to help guide decisions.
Current mortality estimates for the 2019-2020 influenza season is between 24,000 and 65,000.
As of April 9, the U.S. has had just over 4,100 confirmed deaths, with 1,800 – over 30 percent – in New York City alone. (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, there have been 16 laboratory-confirmed SARS-Cov-2 deaths in Tennessee. (emphasis added)
It has been reported that Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House coronavirus task force confirmed that in the U.S., with a positive test, deaths by any cause occurring during the pandemic are reported as a coronavirus fatality.
Using “presumed” deaths, there have been 16,800 nationally and 79 in Tennessee, both well below this and the past few influenza season mortalities.
The reality is that the mortality rate from SARS-Cov-2 is higher than influenza, especially among the at- risk group.
For those over age 65, the SARS-Cov-2 mortality rate of between 2.5 and 25 percent is 3 to 30 times higher than influenza.
However, 90 percent of those had “co-morbid conditions” of obesity, heart disease and pre-existing lung disease, making them more medically fragile than the general public.
Among the rest of the under 65 population, mortality rates are similar to influenza at less than one percent in each age group.
Tennessee Department of Health data proves that out, with 84 percent of the deaths occurring in those aged 61 and older.
Population density being another important factor, the petition points out the extreme conditions in New York City – the leader in hospitalizations and deaths from the novel coronavirus.
New York City has a peak population density of over 56,000 inhabitants per square kilometer, while the second hardest hit King County, Washington, has a population density of 20,000 inhabitants per square kilometer.
In stark contrast, Nashville and Memphis – by far the leaders in SARS-Cov-2 mortalities in Tennessee and the highest population densities – peak at 4,000 inhabitants per square kilometer.
And, the rest of the state has population densities averaging less than 100 inhabitants per square kilometer.
The petition goes on to that there is a need to develop “herd immunity,” and that mass quarantine “has never, in the history of recorded time, been an effective, durable disease management strategy.”
Consistent with recent news reports of the IHME model’s drastic reduction from millions to tens of thousands of projected deaths, the petition points out that “to date, there have been exactly ZERO accurate computer models of this disease process,” and cautions Lee, “to continue to listen to academic ‘policy makers’ and professional consultants who have yet to make an accurate prediction is tantamount to malpractice.”
In a Twitter thread Monday, Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, criticized IHME’s predictions in a couple of states.
Specifically regarding Tennessee, Davis said IHME’s modeling was in a class all by itself for being “horrifically wrong,” when it comes to coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
His graphics illustration demonstrates that with an actual 567 cumulative hospitalizations (that is total number of hospital admissions, including those who have been released and are no longer hospitalized) as of Easter Sunday versus the predicted 12,000, the IHME model was “off by 2,000%.”
IHME's horrificallly wrong modeling of Wuhan coronavirus-related hospitalization in Tennessee, however, is in a class all by itself. IHME claimed that nearly 12,000 Tennesseeans would be hospitalized as of yesterday. The actual number? A total of 567 people. Only off by 2,000%. pic.twitter.com/k13UuUwaGV
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) April 13, 2020
Unlike many protest-type petitions, this one offers a reasonable conclusion and recommendations on how to proceed.
“We need to focus on getting our population back to work to prevent economic and societal collapse.”
“At the same time, we can target our resources to protecting the vulnerable, ‘at risk’ population until this disease ‘burns out’ as spring progresses to summer.
The petition’s three specific recommendations to Lee for his action are:
1. Repeal Executive Orders 17, 21, 22, and 23. Focus on protecting the “at risk” population and get our state back to work and school.
2. Repeal Executive Orders 18 and 25. Allow the resumption of all surgical and dental procedures – elective as well as emergent. Physicians and surgeons are infinitely more capable of making risk/benefit decisions for their patients and their community than any politician. We do so every day without interference from the state.
3. Protect the “At Risk” population – those over 65 and/or with fragile immune systems. Individuals with suppressed immune systems (ie: those on chemotherapy or immune-suppression medications) and those over 65 years of age should be encouraged to stay at home until at least 5/15/2020. Limit visitation to nursing homes and hospital wards. Encourage expedited and delivery services for those who must be protected by sheltering. Government mandates don’t work – allow private enterprise to do what it does best: innovate and solve problems. Encourage it with tax breaks and expedited business policies.
Meanwhile, similar activities are taking place across the country in displays of civil disobedience for actions that may be unconstitutional by elected governors.
At FoxNews Channel reported, state stay-at-home orders have stirred protests nationwide amid fears of economic collapse.
To protest Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the state, at least 15,000 cars and trucks are expected to descend on Michigan’s state capitol Wednesday in a drive-by demonstration to gridlock Lansing.
#ReopenNC began last Thursday, and already had 21,000 members by the time of the Monday report.
The Ohio Star reported that approximately 150 people gathered outside the State Capitol in Columbus Monday, to tell Governor Mike DeWine and Health Department Director Amy Acton, “You’re getting a paycheck, we’re not” and “Open Ohio Now!”
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