Over the weekend, compounding the epidemic of SARS-CoV-2, there was an outbreak of DKE-19. It even struck the New York Times, and I had to deal with a case of it on Twitter.
DKE-19 results in long and convoluted justifications of letting more people get sick and die so that (maybe) the markets will perk up.
It’s the argument that the British government was making last week until they suddenly turned around completely.
There was an article on Medium that was taken down, to continue a zombie existence on ZeroHedge, that reliable purveyor of Russian propaganda.* Tom Friedman and an op-ed writer at the New York Times took up the cause. There has been some of it elsewhere. I think it was the Friedman article that an IRL acquaintaince of mine caught it from and was badgering me on Twitter about, although he didn’t dare refer to it or its ideas directly. Just looking for more information, like an internet troll.
In case your loved ones have fallen prey to the DKE-19 plague, here is an antidote in a long thread:
Here’s the takedown of the Friedman article:
The basic argument is fairly dressed up and convoluted. You may look at Tom Friedman’s article for an example. (No, I won’t link to it!) It comes down to “Let’s let a lot more people get sick and die and get this over with fast.” There are a lot of assumptions in that, and more in the idea that this will improve business and the markets. Here’s one of the less coherent versions.
One of the big assumptions is that the author will not succumb to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Unfortunately, early messaging that taking measures not to spread the virus fed into this assumption by implying that young people were less susceptible to it. This is probably true in a statistical sense, but young people still contract the virus and die from it. Cases are starting to show up in some of those young people who were on the Florida beaches. Anyone can get it.
Another big assumption is that, if given the chance, people will flock back to work and businesses that have closed will happily open. Many of the shutdowns were decided by the businesses themselves, and good luck persuading lots of people to start flying again. Nobody wants to get this virus.
Put more simply,
A compendium of experts from Jeff Jarvis.
There is one scenario in which something like this wish-fulfillment fantasy could take place: If there were enough testing, both for the virus itself (nucleic acid testing) and for immunity to it (serological testing). Then we could isolate the sick and allow the immune to start rebuilding the economy. But the FUBAR-in-Chief saw to it that testing would be delayed and diminished in the United States. We haven’t recovered from that yet. In any case, serological tests are just now being developed and brought to market in South Korea.
After the worst is over, the results will be cherrypicked, even by people I now agree with, to show that they were right. There will be plenty of data, and many arguments will be persuasive. My argument will be that we will never know for sure if we did too much, but if that is what we are worrying about, it wasn’t too much.
* DKE-19 is probably not Russian propaganda, but its spread serves Russian objectives, making it attractive to ZeroHedge.