RUSH: Now the flattening of the curve, because I want to do that. So many people are misunderstanding what this has been about, and it contains a component that might make you mad. Now, the daily briefing each day for days and weeks has been focusing on flattening the curve, social distancing.
You’ve got to keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re doing is working. Staying at home, distancing yourself from your fellow citizens, it’s working. You can see, they say, that we are beginning to flatten the curve. And they will show you the chart up the mountain, at the top of the mountain and then on the way down the mountain, and, as you go down the mountain, it flattens, and that is the flattening of the curve.
Now, the reason that we were given for shutting down the U.S. economy was to flatten the curve. And we were told that flattening the curve is not gonna make the virus disappear. And it won’t. That’s a very important thing to note. Flattening the curve does not get rid of the virus. Herd immunity does more to do that than flattening the curve. You know, avoiding the virus, trying not to catch it does not get rid of it. But catching it, developing an immunity to it furthers the protection of people. That’s another subject.
If the virus does not disappear during our yeoman efforts to flatten the curve, then what’s gonna happen when we eventually come out of our homes? Well, it could restart all over again. Nothing’s been done to stop the virus. All we’ve done is avoid it to flatten the curve. In fact, folks — and some of you might consider this a bit controversial — the result, the practical result of engaging in a policy of flattening the curve makes this epidemic last longer than it would. And the charts, the graphs all show this.
Now, you might be, “What? Flattening the curve prolongs it?” Well, yeah, because we’re just avoiding dealing with it. We’re just kicking the can down the road by flattening the curve. We’re kicking the can down the road with social distancing. We are avoiding the day that we have to deal with it. Now, if the health experts had their druthers we would flatten the curve and we would social distance and we would stay locked down until there’s a vaccine, 18 months. That’s not doable. I don’t care what the best intentions are, that is not doable.
In flattening the curve as a policy, i.e., social distancing, locking down, stay at home, avoiding have the virus, the same number of people are gonna get sick and the same percentage of those people are going to die except — and here’s the real point behind it — social distancing, flattening the curve was designed for one thing: to prevent overruns at hospitals, to prevent massive numbers of infections that required very sick people to go to the hospital and put pressure on hospitals, ICU’s, emergency rooms that the hospitals couldn’t handle. That’s why we have been doing what we’ve been doing, to avoid stress, to avoid overcrowding, to avoiding chaos at the hospitals.
Well, that never happened. The chaos at the hospitals on a nationwide basis didn’t happen. The Centers for Disease Control estimates, if you do the math, that as of around April 4th, 41,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19. Nationwide, that’s awfully low because everybody was saying, “Wow, this thing is gonna wipe us out.” Remember, 240,000 dead, 2.2 million people dead. They always kept the hospitalization numbers from us and they always kept the recovery numbers from us.
Now, there’s something out there called the COVID Tracking Project, and they peg hospitalizations at 62,000 as of April 13th. Now, John Hinderaker at PowerLine has written about this. Without context those numbers don’t mean anything. What is 41,000 hospitalizations, based on what? What is 62,000 hospitalizations, based on what?
Well, let’s look at the flu. Let’s look at hospitalizations. Are you ready for some shocking numbers? Do you want to hear some shocking numbers? During last year’s flu season, according to the CDC, 490,000 people were hospitalized due to seasonal flu. The year before that, 810,000 people were hospitalized due to the flu. The maximum number of projected hospitalizations with COVID-19 as of two days ago is 62,000. If we could handle 810,000 hospitalizations due to flu, if we could handle 490, 500,000 hospitalizations, then we certainly can handle 62,000 hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
So there are the numbers in context. American hospitals have not been overwhelmed by the number of flu sufferers. Now, New York, you can find a pocket here or there. But in New York all the override hospitals, the Javits Center, Central Park build-out, the Navy ships, none of ’em were necessary. They were there to handle both COVID-19 and regular cases.
Folks, the reason for flattening the curve never materialized — to handle an overrun of hospitals. Everything is arguable. We could reopen much sooner than a lot of people think.
RUSH: For example, here is the New York Times on March 27th: “Flattening the Coronavirus Curve — Why Slowing the Spread of the Infection Is Nearly as Important as Stopping It,” except this wouldn’t do that. That was always the illusion. Flattening the curve had nothing to do with stopping the virus.
It had everything to do with prolonging the length of time it was active and viral. It was simply designed to keep hospitals from being overrun. And again, folks, these numbers in context on the hospitalization: The maximum number of projected hospitalizations nationwide to date — well, as of April the 13th, so a couple days ago.
According to the COVID Tracking Project: 62,000 hospitalizations with COVID-19 nationwide. Last year — and these are CDC, so these are government numbers — 490,000 people were hospitalized with the flu. In 2018, 810,000 flu hospitalizations — and we were able to handle it. There wasn’t even a news story about hospitals being overrun in 2018 or 2019.
So again, I know numbers are difficult to follow on the radio, especially big ones. So let’s round ’em off: 490,000 hospitalizations last year because of flu, and 810,000 in 2018. Projected total COVID-19 hospitalizations: 62,000. The concept, the idea that our hospitals have been overrun… You might say, “Well, Rush, that’s why! The number is so low because flattening the curve worked.”
(laughing) Folks, there’s a long way to go to make that statement. That is not the… It hasn’t been necessary. Let me read this. Here’s how John Hinderaker wrapped this up in his piece about this at PowerLine.com: “Once again, government officials are making decisions with catastrophic effects on many millions of lives, on the basis of models that have proved to be wrong.
“The shutdowns should end tomorrow,” writes Mr. Hinderaker.
So you put these hospitalization numbers in perspective; it’s shocking. Now, I want to go back here to the New York Times. “Why Slowing the Spread of the Infection Is Nearly as Important as Stopping It.” Man, you talk about a disconnect? Because slowing the spread has nothing to do with stopping it. Slowing the spread extends the length of time that we have to deal with this.
So here’s how the Times says it: “What does it mean to ‘flatten the curve’? The ideal goal in fighting an epidemic or pandemic is to completely halt the spread. But merely slowing it — mitigation — is critical. This reduces the number of cases that are active at any given time, which in turn gives doctors, hospitals, police, schools and vaccine-manufacturers time to prepare and respond, without becoming overwhelmed.
“Some commentators have argued for getting the outbreak over with quickly. That is a recipe for panic, unnecessary suffering and death,” says the New York Times. “Slowing and spreading out the tidal wave of cases will save lives. Flattening the curve keeps society going. … Think of the health care system capacity as a subway car that can only hold so many people at once.
“During rush hour, that capacity is not enough to handle the demand, so people must wait on the platform for their turn to ride. Staggering work hours diminishes the rush hour and increases the likelihood that you will get on the train and maybe even get a seat. Avoiding a surge of coronavirus cases can ensure that anyone who needs care will find it at the hospital.”
Well, we just nuked that because if we can handle 810,000 hospitalizations with the flu, and the projected max number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 is 62,000, what are we doing? Keep in mind that flattening the curve was not about eliminating the virus. The point of flattening the curve is to prolong the epidemic, making it last longer than it would — and the charts and diagrams show this.
The same number of people are gonna get sick and die.
It’s just that theoretically the hospitals will not be overwhelmed.