REYNOLDS: Gov. Polis, you can protect Colorado lives and rights at the same time

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Governor Jared Polis, we understand something of the challenges that face you in this COVID-19 crisis, and we are supportive of your motives in desiring to keep Coloradans safe. However, we assess that some of the objectives stated by the Polis Administration could be better accomplished without undue infringement upon US Constitutional rights.

The Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, among several others. However, recent actions by the Polis Administration have abrogated the free exercise of those Constitutionally-mandated rights. Additionally, the Polis Administration has taken upon itself the right to determine which American businesses and activities are deemed “essential”. This is a decision and power neither granted to the Polis Administration by any higher power nor one for which it is sufficiently knowledgeable or configured. As free and responsible individuals, we hold jobs, we care for our families, pay taxes, and drive cars. We voted to hire you as our Governor. Are we not smart and responsible enough to decide what risks to take for ourselves and our families? A sign at a recent event protesting the COVID-based restrictions noted “My freedom does not end at the point of your fears”, and indeed, it does not.

The warrant given for abrogation of these rights was that public safety was threatened by a pandemic which was projected to sicken and kill millions of Americans. Such a dire outlook came in part from computer models done by the likes of Neil Ferguson, an Imperial College Epidemiologist in the UK, which foretold that 2.2 million would die in the US and 500,000 in the UK. Now, several weeks later, the US death toll is approximately 0.026% of that prediction. The White House Coronavirus Task Force also used the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model which predicted 100,000-250,000 dead even with social-distancing. The model’s worst-case scenario projection of total COVID-19 deaths in the United States dropped from 178,000 to 136,000 to 60,145 — in just one week’s time. For the sake of comparison, 60,000 deaths is in range for the Centers for Disease Control estimates of an average influenza season” (Congressman Jody Hice, Apr 21, 2020, Retrieved from https://townhall.com/capitol-voices/congressmanjodyhice/2020/04/21/someone-must-be-held-accountable-n2567325). But fear not, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

The Polis Administration has repeatedly stated that its decisions are based on the data, i.e., the science. The data shows that the danger has been highly overblown. Dr. Scott Atlas, of the Hoover Institution, notes the following.

Fact 1: The overwhelming majority of people do not have any significant risk of dying from COVID-19. (In New York City, an epicenter of the pandemic with more than one-third of all U.S. deaths, the rate of death for people 18 to 45 years old is 0.01 percent, or 10 per 100,000 in the population. On the other hand, people aged 75 and over have a death rate 80 times that. For people under 18 years old, the rate of death is zero per 100,000.)

Fact 2: Protecting older, at-risk people eliminates hospital overcrowding. (Even early WHO reports noted that 80 percent of all cases were mild, and more recent studies show a far more widespread rate of infection and lower rate of serious illness. Half of all people testing positive for infection have no symptoms at all. The vast majority of younger, otherwise healthy people do not need significant medical care if they catch this infection.

Fact 3: Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem. (Indeed, that is the main purpose of widespread immunization in other viral diseases — to assist with population immunity. In this virus, we know that medical care is not even necessary for the vast majority of people who are infected. It is so mild that half of infected people are asymptomatic.)

Fact 4: People are dying because other medical care is not getting done due to hypothetical projections. (Critical health care for millions of Americans is being ignored and people are dying to accommodate ‘potential’ COVID-19 patients and for fear of spreading the disease…Cancer patients deferred chemotherapy. An estimated 80 percent of brain surgery cases were skipped. Acute stroke and heart attack patients missed their only chances for treatment, some dying and many now facing permanent disability.)

Fact 5: We have a clearly defined population at risk who can be protected with targeted measures. (Knowing that, it is a commonsense, achievable goal to target isolation policy to that group, including strictly monitoring those who interact with them.” (Scott W. Atlas, MD, is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center).”

Getting run over by an automobile is a physically catastrophic and likely lethal event, yet we continue to drive autos. We take care of the “vulnerable population” and teach our children to not play in traffic. Any valid requirements held by the Polis Administration to protect the public safety can be done as effectively with much less restrictive measures that respect the US Constitutional rights of the residents of Colorado. “The appropriate policy, based on fundamental biology and the evidence already in hand, is to institute a more focused strategy like some outlined in the first place: Strictly protect the known vulnerable, self-isolate the mildly sick and open most workplaces and small businesses with some prudent large-group precautions…Let’s stop underemphasizing empirical evidence while instead doubling down on hypothetical models. Facts matter” (Scott W. Atlas, ibid).

Based on the data noted above and the overstep of US Constitutional limitations by the Polis Administration, we request that the restrictive measures unjustifiably imposed on the residents of Colorado be immediately removed in full and the unconstitutional government interference in the private lives and commerce of the residents of Colorado halted.

Victoria Reynolds is Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Colorado