How well did every nation deal with COVID-19? You can't answer that until May 2022.

As typical in Canada, lazy knee-jerk Americanism is running rampant in the wake of the Wuhan Flu. Just look at how many people are still saying "Trump said to drink bleach" in the wake of the 3 major newsmedia companies being devoid of any conservatve fact-checkers who could hold their lying feet to the fire.

Likewise "HAHA Trump is such an idiot for saying [whatever his overpaid technical advisors told him]". You can argue he should be telling these advisors to go pound sand, but then on that basis you also have no right to criticize the Shiny Pony who (legally) flaunts the rules for himself but otherwise insists that what the public health people insist upon must become law overnight.

Right now the U.S. is enduring a lot of cases of COVID-19, and they are also suffering a lot of deaths. But they also have a ton of people so the raw numbers aren't entirely useful: 4,111 COVID-19 deaths in Canada would correspond to 36,884 American deaths.

And as of May 6th that's what Canada had: 4,111 deaths. But the U.S. number of deaths was actually 72,417: per capita almost twice as high. So Canadian smug-ness has been unbearable. But perhaps not for all that long. The CBC of all places notes that the U.S. and Canadian death rates are starting to converge with each other. They also take minimal pot-shots at Trump and instead also notice that New York City is a huge outlier, and then they dance around the inconvenient truth that just like with guns, with COVID "America's death rate is higher" is answered by "because they have a lot of black people". There's a lot of other factors they don't mention contributing to the spread (like Americans and their higher discretionary spending being more capable of European/Asian vacations, America being a far more common international travel destination than Canada in late winter, and even more cross-country travel), and of course they try to blame it on the American healthcare system. (more on that later)

What will happen to the fragile national identity when it turns out that things like Trump's travel ban did delay the onset of the disease and ultimately in the medium term Canada might turn out to do worse than the US? You can almost see the CBC braintrust anticipating this eventuality and after months of Trump-bashing realizing they had to switch the narrative to "they got unlucky and were hit early but everybody knew Canada was going to be worse off" faster than they expected. What they certainly couldn't do, which is a shame because they should have, was admit that everything they had been feeding Canadians was a lie.

The age of containment is over

It's possible in fact that from a Canadian (or American) public policy perspective containment was never a strategy. That strategy died when the Chinese Communist Party failed to contain the Wuhan Flu to...well, Wuhan... They were good at keeping it out of the rest of their country, but ultimately not keeping it out of the rest of the world. I admit everything is 20/20 hindsight and we aren't at "the end" yet by any means, but I don't think it's inappropriate to note that I was calling this one early: we can mitigate but we can't stop.

As many (mostly libertarians, oddly) have noted however we went from a 2 week shutdown to "save " but soon that pivoted and "flattening the curve" became an exercise for its own sake. The problem being that the same curve you may remember only saved a certain number of lives:

The meme above isn't 100% accurate: the red spiked curve should have a larger area because it's including the Boris Johnsons: people who get COVID and it's life-threatening and they need an empty hospital bed to be landing into. But the blue curve deaths? The dirty little secret that governments had been not talking about was that those deaths are automatic. They are by and large "baked into the tin": the only way to save people from dying of COVID-19 is to lock them away from other people until we get a vaccine. That's flat out not sustainable under anything other than 2 years of everything shut down, which society (not just American and/or Albertan society!) will reject outright and make it useless: plus at that point there's no country left to save. Economic ruin and starvation eventually would shut everything (including "essential businesses") down. Every business is essential in the long-term, otherwise it wouldn't be there in the first place. Owning a small business (typically) isn't something you do just because you felt like doing it without intending for it to be at least profitable enough to keep yourself alive.

Nursing homes turn out to be the most dangerous place on earth for all of this, and they definitely should be locked down. That could cut both the blue and red curve numbers down considerably. Ultimately though the general population is going to be exposed to this. It could happen in February 2020 or April 2020 or August 2020 or November 2020 or February 2021 or September 2021 or January 2023, but eventually Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon takes its toll: everybody will be exposed to it. [they very curiously will not all get it, which is slightly confusing, but it seems a certain chunk of the populace never will even be bothered by it... -ed]. Which means that no matter what steps any country takes, in a long enough timeframe (let's say 3 years) and presuming we don't cure it (many now say 3 years is the wait for a vaccine) and it doesn't mutate into more deadly or more transmissible variants, every country's death toll should be similar. Oh there will be variations based on the prevalence of diseases like the obesity referenced above, and obviously you'll have to adjust for the age variation as Alex Berenson noted above, but those should eventually be well understood. In other words, in 3 years we should be able to look back at nations around the world and look at the two twin measures of how they mitigated this pandemic:
  1. How many unnecessary deaths
  2. How badly their economies were destroyed
Here's where #FakeNews and the legacy of lying climate scientists is killing people: it was clear very very very early that as your age crept up your chances of dying started to skyrocket. Had this been the essential message from the get-go perhaps governments and NGOs and relatives would have worked harder to protect nursing homes (and devoted a much larger portion of the limited resources into protecting them). Clean-room procedures, PPE, a lockdown environment, and eventually antibody testing required for visitation would have cut in half the COVID deaths in both Canada and the USA. Instead, the CBC, CDC, WHO and other powers that be kept up their destructive "everybody is equal" and "this kills young and old alike" nonsense.

The destroyed economies measure is slightly problematic just because of how integrated the global supply chains are (especially how dependent they are on the Red Chinese who unleashed the virus upon the world), but it's simpler so we'll tackle it first. In general the speed at which governments switched from "omg got to #PlankTheCurve to ration critical care beds" to "oh right, people need to go out and interact with each other in order to provide everybody the resources they need to stay healthy" will track fairly well to the economic recovery. As is typical the U.S. will be the toughest to figure out because of how powerful their federal government is but also how economic output by state varies to such a degree. Our 3 year timeframe won't be perfect and may reflect other geopolitical realities (Alberta's oil industry and the Russia/Saudi pricing collusion obviously is the prime example here), but in general our metric will be how a jurisdiction's GDP has recovered compared to both its trading partners and overall.

How many unnecessary deaths will be a little more difficult to figure out. On a basic level the calculation should be pretty simple: how many people died as a result of the lockdown, plus how many people died because they got the Wuhan Flu but couldn't get adequate medical treatment due to a lack of available critical care beds? The technical challenge will be properly separating excess deaths due to comorbidity factors from excess deaths in hospitals, particularly in Spain and Italy. The political challenge will be forcing people to admit that with the possible exception of New York City the United States likely had exactly zero excess COVID deaths as a result of overwhelmed hospitals because even in NYC they didn't have overwhelmed hospitals. I warned earlier that the lying liars at the CBC would try to blame the U.S. healthcare system (as the lying liars of the New York Times already has!) for their higher death toll. The reason that lie should never be allowed to stand is that unique in the world the United States had a healthcare system perfectly designed to survive issues like this one, with the most, that's right, the most, critical care beds per capita on the planet. It's actually not even close: with 34.7 critical care beds per 100,000 people the U.S. has 18% more beds than Germany and 178% more beds than Italy. Since we've already seen healthcare systems in America shrug all this off like nothing's happening, it's clear that very very few jurisdictions will be seeing "unnecessary" COVID deaths (every death is a tragedy yadda yadda yadda).

So that leaves us with the giant elephant in the room: unnecessary deaths due to the overreaction. Already Ontario has lost roughly 35 people to cardiac deaths caused by delays on neccessary ("elective") surgeries. While you might argue Ontario has seen 1477 COVID deaths in the same timeframe you're missing the point: Unless Ontario hospitals (69% capacity in April, well below the beyond-100% that all rationed public helthcare facilities in Canada are typically at) were "overwhelmed" by cases they couldn't have prevented a single one of those deaths: the moment that plane took off from China their fate was as sealed as Justin's borders aren't. In the same vein as economics, we won't know the "full" picture in 3 years about unnecessary deaths either but we'll be in a strong position. The rest of our natural lives will likely be spent analyzing the decisions made in the first half of 2020 and the impact they all had. Three years from now we'll see how many extra deaths have been caused by the lockdowns such as suicides and deaths due to missed surgeries. We can also deal with another hidden variable: loss of quality of life from people who had to go without dental care or physiotherapy or proper exercise, but did get lots of unhealthy food and drinking and smoking pot.

While some studies (including one comparing Alberta with Massachusetts!)show ICUs without ventilators are not useful in critical care patients, other information about COVID and ventilators should undo a lot of that discrepancy.

When all is said and done we can see country by country how everybody really fared. We can have final data comparing countries looking not just at the early 2020 lockdowns but whatever future lockdowns are coming our way. Far from Donald Trump's orbit, Sweden and Norway are the target of numerous "told ya so" articles that fail to factor in what happens in November 2020 or August 2021. Norway has been keeping the virus away from larger segments of its population, but can it continue to do so? What happens when the virus has killed all its Swedes in 2020 and Norwegians are still dropping dead over a year later? Will the same short-sighted media folks and Viro Fascists be laughing at Norway's monthly totals, or will they suddenly play the long game? Everybody is flabberghasted by New York City in May 2020, but will it seem like a cakewalk compared to Los Angeles in September 2020, or Mexico City in December 2020, or Istanbul in May 2021?