Illinois Should “Un Lock Down” Most of the State

As of this writing, outside of Chicago and the collar counties, the county with the most covid-19 infections is McLean with seven, followed by Winnebago with five. The vast majority of counties have zero. So why shut down the whole state? Probably a stupid question to ask the readership here.

22 thoughts on “Illinois Should “Un Lock Down” Most of the State”

  1. My experience, having lived in IL for the past 28 years, is that the state loves telling the residents what to do. This, then, is IL political Nirvana. Coming in second is spending money the state doesn’t have.

  2. A related question is — Now that the Governor has shut down the State and left employers circling the toilet and people without income (except for government workers, of course), what has to happen before the Governor will reverse that decision? What is the metric? Total number of daily deaths in the State falling below a stated level? X months since last reported new virus infection? The end of next year’s flu season?

  3. It has to be done that way unfortunately. People really need to get away from treating the response as a political issue. While politicians might well see opportunity in it for themselves, it is also vitally necessary to do.

    A very simple thought experiment will illuminate the problem. You have two zones, the first one highly infected, the second hardly at all. If the highly infected area locks down for 60 days and becomes basically virus free, then great. In the meantime, the second zone is now highly infected as it did not lockdown. It now reinfects the first zone and the cycle starts all over again. Quarantine is an all or nothing proposition. The entire north American continent has to do it or it’s of almost no use – reinfection from other hot zones is inevitable. Once North America is clear, it cannot have any contact with any other zone that still has infections. Zero travel, trade to be the absolute essentials to keep the lights on and no more.

  4. Mr Black – here’s another scenario – some guy with a pizza joint in the southeast quadrant of the state is unfairly forced to close because of government overreach and will go out of business, even though there is literally one case in that WHOLE AREA. Outside of Chicago and the collar counties there appear to be 20 or 30 cases in the WHOLE STATE. That is my point.

  5. What is the actual point of the lock downs? They were not sold as a way to *eliminate* the bug. They were said to be put in place to *slow the spread* of the inevitable infections to the point that the health care system can cope.

    If what’s driving the lock downs is the idea that they are being used to eliminate the disease then that needs to be expressed, and I haven’t heard anybody saying it.

  6. It seems clear that this is a disease that affects all age groups, but with very different outcomes, with a vast majority of the deaths in the over-70 group. Why lock down the entire population, knock millions of people out of work, completely disrupt our entire society and economy for perhaps months or years by using a strategy that may not work and surely has many “unintended consequences”? Older people (such as myself) could self-isolate and so most of the bad consequences to the overall population happening now might be avoided.

    Is this fair? Getting old brings added risks and changed behavior to avoid them for most everyone. Choices have to be made. Small example – I loved to ski, but no longer do, not because I couldn’t, but as a choice, as I saw the risk of debilitating injury too great. Others choose to take that risk. Doctor K has written often about changes to his life (retirement from surgery, sailboat racing, etc) due to age-related conditions. Getting old isn’t “fair”, but it comes to everyone eventually.

    I understand the “under the curve” argument, but if we concentrated on tactics to keep the older people from getting the virus en masse, that strategy might still work, at least as well as it does now. I don’t know what those tactics might be; I leave that to people better suited to proposing them than I.

    I don’t think this situation has any good answers or outcome, so perhaps those approaches that at least try to mitigate the effects on the overall society would be better. As it stands, isn’t this an example of the tail wagging the dog?

  7. An example of what a self entitled population does when a lock down is ordered.

    Approximately 20,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers are currently arriving in Florida daily as they flee from the epicenter of the most explosive coronavirus outbreak. However, if the elderly are the most vulnerable; and if isolating the most vulnerable population is the best course of action; and with the largest population of older residents living in Florida; then why are New Yorkers allowed to travel to Florida?

    The richest of New Yorkers are flying to Nantucket Island. Expect a new hot spot soon.

    Another example of why anything except self isolation of high risk individuals does not work

  8. And Gov Tax scofflaw, an heir to a hotel fortune now not making money floated the idea that the state should lease the empty hotels for homeless shelters…

  9. Once this got out and was allowed to spread for months, the course was set. Whether there was ever a chance of containing it at the source is up for discussion. What’s left is how to reduce the damage. It’s pretty clear that the people we thought were supposed to have thought this through either didn’t, were somehow caught by surprise or were wrong. Right now, every “decision maker” from Trump down to volunteer fire chiefs probably has at least six people telling him the best way to minimize the damage based mostly on conjecture, informed or not.

    I am the possessor of a letter identifying me as employed in an essential enterprise. What exactly differentiates me from every delivery driver or anybody else out and about? How is accepting a package from a delivery person, serially exposed to dozens of people, delivering packages that have likewise been exposed to an unknown number of individuals safer than spending a half hour in a properly cleaned restaurant? Since I left that letter back on my desk, what are they going to do about it? In a city of any size, the number of essential people has to be in the high six figures. I suppose they could throw me in jail with every other scofflaw that failed to heed a county commission that on a good day is more concerned with avoiding indictment or a pending court date than anything else. That would be what they would consider a good use of resources.

    Just as it’s too late for the CDC to figure out how they should control an epidemic in the real world, it’s too late for us to go back and insist on electing candidates with at least room temperature IQ.

  10. I think a lot of our response is being driven by the fact that our only predictive models are (1) PRC, a totalitarian state that habitually and perpetually lies about anything when needs suit, and even when it isn’t lying, has no regard for the US, and (2) Italy, a de facto PRC satellite country for present purposes and which,compared to us, is entirely socialist with single-payer health care. Distortion or suppression of reliable information from both sources is virtually guaranteed, but worst-case solutions and scenarios are in ample supply. “Better safe than sorry” seems the motto of the day, particularly for the ruling class, “especially since only little people are going to be hit with long-terms suffering. And we can tell them we saved their lives — even if we actually didn’t.”

    Pointing out that the responses are likely ham-handed overreactions, or that the ruling class is decadent and corrupt, isn’t saying that the virus doesn’t exist or that all concerns over it are unwarranted. But what we’ve got here, I think, is a blast from the past — basically the flu but without vaccines. And unlike the flu, CV19 has a potential for large rapid onsets that would strain the health-care markets past breaking point. We’re not psychologically prepared for that, or to accept it if it happens. Perhaps previous generations of Americans were, but then they didn’t have access to the wide and effective array of life-saving medical technology we’re used to. So along with the potential for health-care breakdown, there’s also social and political panic and upheaval to worry about.

    So it’s do this sort of thing, or let ‘er rip and hope for the best. A partial “lockdown” won’t work for reasons similar to why it’s not really a lockdown. If I can travel to a tile store and buy tile because it’s a building-supply place, or to Caput’s and buy groceries, that’s not sealing off high-infection-rate areas. I live 300 mi from Chicago and go to Caputos twice a year and I’ve been due to go again for a month. Only way to do that for real is to build the equivalent of a Berlin Wall around Chicago and leave it there for a couple of years until there are no reported cases for 12 months.

    I guess the main thing I want to get off my chest is to say that we have to evaluate *every* response government makes to CV19 as a political act, not a scientific or purely-economic act.

  11. They are plenty smart. They play the short game, “Do something now, anything that might look prudent.” When the very predictable “unintended” longer run side effects show up, duck blame and “Do something now, anything that might look prudent.” In the mean time position yourself to personally benefit from your insider information about what comes next. You don’t actually have to own the medical supply company or hotel, just give them the heads up that the golden egg is coming. Isn’t great how government and crony capitalists can solve any crisis? Next.


  12. we have to evaluate *every* response government makes to CV19 as a political act, not a scientific or purely-economic act.

    Yup. Every single time. Trump, at least, has no background as a politician.

  13. Rather than launch into a tirade, I will just say it is impossible to be too cynical about Illinois politicians.

  14. MikeK,

    I agree (I think) with you. Trump’s lack of political-class background is a plus here, not a minus.

    BTW, has anyone else noticed that all these “shutdown” orders use pretty much identical language? What’s the cause of this? Is it just the result of a fax blizzard between gubernatorial aides, or a de facto “shutdown” order from Washington?

  15. Even if politics is set aside, there’s still a deep disagreement:

    The lockdown-quarantine advocates claim that Illinois outside of Chicago, and the US outside the current hotspots WILL become just as infected as those hotspots, that it’s only a matter of time. Therefore a months-long lockdown MUST be imposed on the entire State and the entire country to prevent or at least mitigate this.

    The critics of state-wide and nation-wide lockdown claim that the areas outside of Chicago and the other hotspots haven’t and WON’T suffer the same high rates of infection, and that imposing lockdowns there as well will do MUCH MORE HARM that good.

    Putting politics back in, the first side says that lockdown-imposing politicians are doing the right thing, even if they are acting partly (or even mostly) out of ulterior political motives. The second side says that those politicians are doing the wrong thing with the only ‘benefit’ being that of advancing a liberal-fascist agenda.

    (Disclosure: I hold to the second position, but I’ve tried to put things as evenhandedly as I could.)

  16. In a complex society, the best thought out plan will, someplace, look silly. “Flattening the Curve” is a decent general concept that is very hard to apply, especially from the “Bully Pulpit”. Distancing has economic costs. Finding a balance is tricky at best. Italy did nothing until health care collapsed and the bodies began to pile up. Hong Kong shut evrything down, has had few deaths and has no economy left. The U.K. apparently just found out that after years of Labour plans, the NHS has virtually no reserve capacity. Elderly, at risk, residents of NY are heading south.

    For the best laid plans of mice and men there will always be “silly”, someplace. And my “silly” is better than your “silly”.

    And all that assumes that the CDC/FDA can get their heads out of their hinderparts and provide some testing that allows the guys in the Pulpit to get some relevant infomation about the disease. Those idiot paper shufflers took weeks to come up with a name for the virus/disease that didn’t “stigmatize” anyone.

    Low level “silly” is inevitable and survivable as long as we can avoid the “high-level silly” that occurred in Hong Kong, Italy, Iran, etc.

  17. I’ll just say that I believe the testing guidelines leave a lot to be desired. We’re at war, and we need war time production. Instead we just get excuses and finger pointing.

  18. Dan, I recognise your point but it has to be that way. A lot of people are going to suffer economic losses to stop this virus. In many cases, severe losses. The alternative is 3-10 million dead as a fraction of the countries population if nearly all become infected. The difficulty is that the majority of infected at any time are not identified. There is no such thing as a place with no infections, only no known infections. A month later it’s a hotspot sending out the virus into surround areas.

    Individual towns and cities can try to quarantine themselves with roadblocks to test if they really have the infection by a wait and see approach. But while that is happening, not one person from outside the zone can enter. Cargo entering must be left at a control point, sanitised and then loaded onto another vehicle for transport into the zone. It will all have to be sanitised again when it is unpacked. The harder we hit it now, the fewer places have to lockdown completely and for shorter times. If we let it get to a few million infections because no one wants to suffer any hardship, we are going to see a mountain of dead.

    All choices are absolutely terrible, but one is going to be chosen by us or for us.

  19. There was a Fram oil filter advertisement in magazines when I was growing up that noted:
    “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”
    The indication being that using a good oil filter would promote engine longevity, and reduce ongoing costs, and not doing so would lead to premature wear, and costly repairs.
    We face something similar in the Corona virus. We can all pay a bit now, to slow down the infection rate(in theory) so the number infected AT ONE TIME, is lower, and the health care industry can handle the load – pay me now. OR, we can let ‘er rip, as it were, and potentially have a full-blown pandemic, with an accompanying number of deaths and an overload system that stacks bodies and orders body bags by the gross.
    The ‘shelter in place’ edicts are one attempt to slow down the pace of infection, not to STOP it. That is all it will, potentially, accomplish.
    Those of us who are old must, taking continuing to live as a goal, minimize our exposure to potential infection. That indicates minimizing interaction with large numbers of people, and getting into ‘close contact’ with others who may have been exposed and infected.
    My personal plan is to do just that, stay home as much as possible, with minimal interaction with others.
    A thought on the impending economic impact is to ‘stop the clock’ for a few weeks. Eliminate or reduce penalties for late payments, reduce or stop interest accrual, etc, much like the old story about someone sabotaging Wall St, and the solution to the destroyed records was to ‘go back to last Saturday’ as if the mess had not take place. We as a nation can do something similar if the politicians are kept from sneaking their paws into our pockets. See also: Nancy P from SF who decided a pandemic is a good time to attempt extortion.
    We can handle this. We(rhetorically) handled more severe things in the past. We have so much more capacity than was available, and better communications, etc. To panic is to become non-thinking. Not prudent. Heh.

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