Officials Had Better Learn Quickly: Mental Health is a Public Health Issue, Too

UPDATED*

Residents of Dallas County, Texas became aware of these facts on April 3.

1. As of noon, April 2, in the entire state of Texas, home of 28.9 million people, there had been 70—that is seventy—reported deaths from the coronavirus.

2. On April 3, the Dallas County Commissioner ordered an extension of current stay-at-home orders applicable to Dallas County residents from April 30 to May 20.

Because this is happening in Texas, and because this is happening in Dallas County, where the spirit of America still lives, this extension may well be the ‘final straw’ government action that creates a new virus that spreads like wildfire through Texas and the entire USA: a virus that impels the American people to collectively rise from this coronavirus stupor and shout from the rooftops: enough is enough!

The dichotomy of (1) are you for taking care of sick and vulnerable people? or (2) are you for restarting the economy? is false, stupid and dangerous.

Public officials are way too slowly awakening to the fact that mental health is a public health issue, too. And the mental health of millions of Americans is taking a government-caused pounding at the hands of these officials and their orders.

The gargantuan loss of jobs, and the utter wipeout of savings and retirement accounts are bringing on serious anxiety and depression in millions. Stress-related substance abuse, other forms of sickness, and suicide will follow in their wake, and in numbers that are orders of magnitude larger than the 70 who have to date died in Texas from the coronavirus (or the 6,000 or so who have died in America).

Everyone knows COVID-19 arrived on the scene with suddenness and a lot of unknowns, and every official up and down the line was cut a lot of slack in first time reactions. Deference to contagious disease experts was initially understandable. But officials now seem to be in a competition as to who can be the most decisive and ‘caring’ leader as measured by how much longer they lock people in their homes to protect against the almighty virus.

This competition has got to stop.

Officials issuing or voting for extended stay-at-home orders are directly liable for creating a mental health pandemic.

Their only argument against shouldering that liability is that they believe—presumably in good faith—that the COVID-19 pandemic will be far more serious than the mental health pandemic.

They had better be ready to prove their case, including their good faith, because the actual data and evidence that’s accumulating every day as to both pandemics strongly suggests they can’t. Accumulating evidence of the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine is just one of reasons they can’t. Another reason they can’t: many medical experts have been protesting throughout the reign of Dr. Fauci that a ‘vertical’ siloed approach—identifying and protecting the elderly and the vulnerable—would be more effective than ‘horizontal’ shelter-in-place orders, and could obviously be pursued without depriving all Americans of their freedoms. What’s the evidence they are wrong?

It’s worth reminding all: there is no possible way the Dallas County Commissioner (or any local official anywhere) knows what the COVID-19 facts on the ground in his jurisdiction will be on April 15 or April 30 or any day in the future. All he can possibly claim to “know” today is what a computer model tells him might be the facts on the ground on a future day, and on that basis genuflect before the model and make his solemn pronouncement that for their own good, the residents of his jurisdiction shall not be entitled to exercise their unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness until May 20th.

Given the absolutely certain unreliability of computer models, there is a nagging concern that Texans and other Americans around the country are starting to suspect and recoil against: an increasingly large component of the rationale for why public officials are handing down these shelter-in-place orders boils down to…because they can.

Officials have taken on importance and power like they never dreamed they would have, and they are reveling in it.

Conveniently, the people are barred from gathering in groups of ten or more (a violation of the First Amendment right of assembly), and so these decisions can be made without facing any protest or pushback from the people.

This is how a police state is imposed; this is a recipe for inciting civil disobedience and insurrection; this is how America as the land of the free is lost to martial law.

And all of this is in response to what we call the CCP Virus. The CCP itself could not possibly hope for a more complete destruction of America without firing a shot than that which is being helped along by American officials at every level of government who willfully, negligently or ignorantly refuse or are unable to see the bigger picture of the public health issues they are creating.

The best course for Dallas County Commissioners (and similar authorities everywhere):

  • Cancel the latest extension immediately
  • Schedule a review of COVID-19 AND mental health pandemic facts on the ground on April 15
  • Consider experts on both pandemics; gather data on both
  • Start deliberations from a premise that Americans have unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness under a Constitution specifically designed and intended to limit the power of government to interfere with those rights
  • Start deliberations with a presumption that restrictions on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness shall not be imposed or extended absent compelling evidence of their necessity
  • Be prepared to and actually deliver to the public the specific, detailed facts and data and reasoning for any decision relative to shelter-in-place orders

 

We believe the case for lifting generic shelter-in-place orders is compelling throughout this country, right now. That doesn’t mean we are at a point where no others will contract the virus; it doesn’t mean there will be no more deaths from the virus; and it surely doesn’t mean COVID-19 is any less of a human tragedy. But it does mean that when the millions of mentally stressed Americans who want their rights to take care of themselves and their families are finally and concretely entered into the calculation of what government actions are appropriate and necessary, the millions prevail.

UPDATE #1:  Within a few hours of posting this, the Dallas County Commissioner effectively backed off of the extension to May 20.

The Dallas Morning News has since claimed it misreported the commissioners’ actual decision; that the real decision was to give the County Judge authority to extend to May 20, but that he had not exercised that authority.

Whatever.   The DMN initially reported the extension to May 20, and we know the pushback was immediate and fierce.

The original April 30 order remains in effect, and it, too, ought to be reconsidered with a view to shortening it.

We won’t claim this post had an impact locally, but we do believe this post captures a rising sentiment around Dallas County, Texas and America at large.  These government ‘orders’ with police confining Americans just don’t fit with the character of the country.  Americans use their energy and wits and capacity for innovation to overcome problems, not sit at home under orders from government, hoping for problems to pass.

UPDATE #2:   This post went up on April 3rd; now read this piece from Indiana.

Eric Georgatos and wife Debbie operate the America, Can We Talk? media platform, with 4 day a week video podcasting by Debbie, and weekly written commentary, all centered around the importance and value of preserving America under her founding ideals.

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