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Open Idaho Now: Three Categories Of Empirical Evidence That Demand An End To The Lock-Down
© 05.04.20 By D. Eric Williams

At the beginning of the Idaho lock-down fiasco, governor Little claimed "the scientific evidence shows at this stage of the emergency, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed." In the weeks since the original lock-down order was issued and its extension after April 15, a tremendous amount of information has come to light refuting the governor's assertion that the "scientific evidence" demands his dictatorial control of Idaho. Indeed, there was plenty of evidence prior to the lock-down advising against it; evidence governor Little elected to ignore. Today, the verifiable evidence overwhelmingly confirms the lock-down was without warrant. The evidence falls into a number of categories; this paper will examine just three lines of thought.

First, there have been several analyses designed to discover the prevalence and behavior of the COVID-19 in the general population. Data have come in from Northern and Southern California, Colorado, Chicago, New York and Miami. In addition, valuable information has been gathered from the "petri dish" environments of the Diamond Line cruise ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt and various state prisons.

The second area of inquiry is a comparison between states with a mandated lock-down and those without. This paper will focus on a comparison of data from Nebraska and Idaho.

Third, an examination of the COVID-19 numbers provided by the state of Idaho is in order. The official numbers tell their own tale. As we will see, governor Little refuses to listen even to the account given by his own civil apparatus.

COVID-19 Infection Is Wide Spread - And Mild
In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, epidemiology experts asserted the COVID-19 would not be as severe as predicted. They also suggested the COVID-19 would spread throughout the population regardless of any action by civil authorities, an assertion subsequently proven to be true. They also made it clear this was the way to defeat the virus. In other words, widespread infection with speedy "herd immunity" was preferred over "shelter in placer" strategies.

It wasn't long before it became clear the coronavirus had been circulating among the population for some time. Studies conducted in Northern California, Southern California, Chicago, Colorado, New York and Miami for instance, prove the virus has already spread throughout the community. When the mainstream media reported on this fact, they presented it as another reason for hysteria. The truth is, it proves the virus is not that big a deal. These studies conducted in the community track with the data drawn from the situation on the Diamond Princess (and here) cruise ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and state prisons. In the circumstance of the isolated populations and the general public, it has been verified that most people who are infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic and the vast majority of those who show signs of infection have very mild symptoms. The media portrayed this as another reason for panic - as if the COVID-19 is a stealth virus. The truth is, it proves the COVID-19 may produce mild upper respiratory symptoms in some people but for most, the effects of the virus are not severe. Indeed, up to 96% of the population may be infected - without any symptoms.

In short, the epidemiologists, university professors and practicing doctors (as opposed to bureaucratic cogs like Fauci and Ferguson) have turned out to be right. The virus is relatively mild, most people show little or no symptoms and the death rate is not unlike that of the seasonal flu. There is nothing in the empirical evidence that recommends any action whatsoever by civil authorities (see, here and here).

Mandatory Lock-Downs Are Ineffectual
Governor Little claims his decision to declare himself perpetual potentate was based upon scientific evidence. That has been proven false and evidence continues to roll in showing governor Little to be either a liar or a fool.

In the United States there are five states without a mandated lock-down. This does not necessarily mean they have failed to practice social distancing and some of the other behaviors common to those states under lock-down. Yet, the difference is significant. Contrary to Leftist thinking, voluntary social distancing, limited business closures and so on are very different than dictated behaviors. The point is, the states without mandatory lock-downs may have practiced some of the same behaviors of states under a mandate - but they did so as free citizens.

The states without mandated locked-downs are; Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas. Of these five states, it is Nebraska that most closely resembles Idaho in total population and population density. The estimated population of Idaho is 1,826,156 with a population density of 19 people per square mile. The estimated population of Nebraska is 1,952,570 with a population density of 23.8 people per square mile. While South Dakota is in the news because of Governor Kristi Noem's refusal to assume dictatorial control of her state, Nebraska will be our touchstone for comparison as it more closely parallels Idaho's demographics.

The only statistic approaching acceptable accuracy in guiding a rational response to the COVID-19 is the number of COVID-19 deaths per million of population. As mentioned earlier, studies have shown the COVID-19 death rate is similar to the seasonal flu. Nevertheless, those are estimates; the COVID-19 deaths per million of population cannot be reasonably doubted - except that the number of COVID-19 deaths is inflated. This is happening across the country (especially in New York it seems) but we will ignore that problem for the sake of this analysis.

The state of Idaho has experienced roughly 37 COVID-19 deaths per million. That means, for every million people in the state of Idaho, around 37 have died from the coronavirus. Think about that for a moment. The population of Idaho is just under 2 million and less than 70 people in the entire state have died from the COVID-19. Interestingly, Nebraska has the same number of deaths per million of population. Remember, Nebraska did not lock-down. The governor of the state of Nebraska did not declare himself dictator and force people to do what he thought best. Yet, for every 1 million people in the state of Nebraska, around 37 have died from the COVID-19 - just as it is in locked-down Idaho.

The numbers do not lie. The economy destroying, life altering, freedom crushing lock-down of the state of Idaho has made no difference whatsoever. Arguments might be made concerning the difference in demographics, topography and so on but the bottom line is, Nebraska and Idaho have the same COVID-19 deaths per millions of population. The unlawful edict of governor Little has been without purpose in combating the COVID-19 "pandemic."

The Idaho Numbers Are Unremarkable
A calm assessment of the COVID-19 statistics provided by Idaho Health and Welfare reveal the unremarkable nature of the situation here in the gem state.

As of May 2, 2020, there are 2035 confirmed and probable cases of the COVID-19 in Idaho. In addition, 63 deaths in Idaho have been attributed to the COVID-19 in the state of Idaho. I say attributed because like many states, some patients have been added to the coronavirus numbers without any testing. Hence, the numbers include people with COVID-19 like symptoms and it is not clear if untested people who expire with COVCID-19 like symptoms are added to the total number of deaths attributed to the COVID-19.

Of the 63 deaths, 41 of the victims have been over 80 years of age. This represents over 65% of the total deaths. Another 12 of the coronavirus deaths struck people between the ages of 70 and 79. This is another 19% of the total. The 60 to 69 age group has contributed eight deaths to the total, or, 12.7% of the 63 deaths. Two deaths occurred in the 50 to 59 age group. This is 3.2% of the total. There have been no deaths from the COVID-19 in the state of Idaho for anyone under the age of 50.

Clearly, this is a disease that targets the aged. Moreover, the vast majority of those who have died in the state of Idaho have underlying health issues. This is reflected by the high number of COVID-19 related deaths in Nez Perce County (19 of the total). All but one of the COVID-19 deaths in Lewis-Clark valley have been among nursing home residents. In short, the impact on the health of the general population is virtually nonexistent.

Another piece of the puzzle is the dismal situation facing hospitals throughout the gem State. Not only have they failed to experience a tidal wave of coronavirus patients, they are relatively empty of any patients. The decision to curtail elective surgeries has nearly bankrupted hospitals throughout the state. Moreover, it is clear the coronavirus peak happened over a month ago. On March 16, 2020, there were 89 emergency department visits from people who displayed COVID-19 symptoms - statewide. It was also on March 16 that the state hit a high point of six possible coronavirus sufferers who were committed to the hospital after being assessed in the emergency department. Again, this is statewide. Thus, the impact of the COVID-19 on Idaho hospitals has been irrelevant.

Finally, the COVID-19 impact on the overall death rate in Idaho is statistically unimportant. In 2018, 14,263 people died in Idaho of all causes. Deaths from the flu or pneumonia totaled 235 or 1.6% of the total. So far 65 deaths have been attributed to the COVID-19. If caronavirus deaths continue at the current average monthly rate for the entire year, the total - 195 - will be well below the typical number of deaths ascribed to the flu or pneumonia. At that rate, the percentage of deaths caused by the COVID-19 would be under 1.4% of the total. Statistically speaking, there is no good argument for a state-wide lock-down.

Clearly, there is no COVID-19 health crisis in Idaho. The elderly and sick need to be carefully sheltered but the rest of the population is virtually without risk from the "coronavirus pandemic." Indeed, the impact of the COVID-19 in Idaho is statistically insignificant.

Governor Little claims to eschew implementing COVID-19 policy without the guidance of scientific evidence. Nevertheless, recent studies by university researchers and public health officials have shown conclusively that the COVID-19 is widespread among the population, is often asymptomatic or shows very mild symptoms and has a fatality rate similar to the seasonal flu.

In addition, a comparison between the state of Nebraska and the state of Idaho shows the mandated lock-down in Idaho did absolutely nothing to alter the pattern of the COVID-19. Nebraska and Idaho have similar demographics - and a comparable rate of deaths per millions of population due to the COVID-19.

Finally, the numbers provided by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare prove the COVID-19 is a disease almost exclusively afflicting the elderly and infirm. A mandated general lock-down was unnecessary and likewise failed to protect the vulnerable population of Idaho.

There was no actual science supporting a lock-down on March 25, 2020 and there is no scientific support for the continuation of a lock-down. Rather, the science currently available strongly condemns the actions of the governor. Governor Little must end this draconian state of affairs immediately.

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