|I-85 North, Charlotte, NC 5/4/2020 about 1400|
When is the last time you saw an Interstate highway in a metro area with no traffic?
For me, the closest thing I’ve ever seen to this was the same stretch of road about 12 years ago, around midnight. I had just flown in from the West Coast and was on my way home. I was surprised at how quiet the road was. It made for a nice trip home, though.
I was in Charlotte to see my neurologist, whose office had just reopened after a 3 week shutdown, mandated by the system of which it is a part. Mrs. Freeholder was driving, and complaining about the “traffic”. I just laughed and told here it should be about 3-4 car length intervals and maybe doing 55 MPH. The nearest car to us in the photo is over 100 yards away and we were doing 70.
The population of the Charlotte metro area is just over 2.5 million people. There is no way this should be happening in early afternoon on a Monday, even if it was a holiday.
What you are seeing is the destruction of our economy. People who should be at work, taking the necessary precautions to not/infect/get infected are instead still at home, watching their jobs and savings evaporate.
Just in the local news today:
- Parkdale Mills in Salisbury, NC closes a textile plant, after closing one in nearby Landis in February
- Catawba College is furloughing staff
- Two Charlotte retail stores are cited for being open (when they are apparently doing nothing wrong
- Norfolk-Southern’s Linwood “hump yard” to close
- A Raleigh restaurant closes
That’s one day’s worth of bad news. The drumbeat started in earnest last week, and I expect it to just keep getting worse. But Obersturmbannfurher Cooper says we can move into “Phase 1” reopening, which doesn’t reopen anything much. Maybe in Phase 2, if we behave.
At first, we were nuking our economy in an effort to prevent our healthcare system from being swamped by Wuflu. Now, it seems like we’re doing it just because we can. No one wants Grandma dead, but how many businesses can we afford to kill?
On the Email List That Can Not Be Named, there are reports from Washington State that docks as well as roads are empty. No ships, no containers, no truck traffic. On my trip, there was plenty of truck traffic, although it was on the low side of normal. Why? Because I saw one, just one, container behind a truck on the highway. This is not a Good Thing.
For fun, I decided to search for “shipping port webcams”:
- Port Miami
- Port Everglades
- Global Container Terminal (NYC)
- Northwest Seaport Alliance (Tacoma and Seattle)
- Port of Virginia
None of them appear to be buzzing with activity at the moment.
We’re going to have to start opening up, and faster. Yes, some folks will get Wuflu and some will die. But we are beggaring millions by cutting them off from paying work, and we can’t keep mailing out checks from the Treasury forever. Somewhere, we need to embrace the methodologies that will minimize the risks and let people get out of their houses.
It’s either that, or this is going to end poorly.
Edit, 5/6/2020 0833: This just in: Anxiety From Reactions to Covid-19 Will Destroy At Least Seven Times More Years of Life Than Can Be Saved by Lockdowns (Link via the Bongino Report)