in ,

All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday and my family and I have now been down in Florida for two full weeks. And we’ve been out to eat in Florida restaurants for 13 straight days.

Including spending yesterday evening at Dave & Buster’s and letting the kids play video games. Yep, Dave & Buster’s is now open in Florida. I’m living the advice I’m giving to all of you — get back to normal in your lives. We can’t cower in fear forever, it’s time for young and healthy people to get this economy rolling again.

I also want to say this at the top of the Friday mailbag: I have never gotten more positivity in my life for what I’ve done than over the past several months from you guys. I’ve been deluged with supportive emails, DMs, you name it; I’ve been writing online for 16 years and nothing I’ve ever done has produced more positive feedback from you guys than the coronavirus coverage on the radio, on here, on Periscope and Facebook, and on my Twitter feed.

I can’t possibly respond to all of you, but just know that I read it and it means a ton.

Thank you.

And one of the groups that has written to me an absolute ton is doctors. There’s a huge community of doctors who feel like our response to the coronavirus has been nonsensical and that their voices aren’t being heard.

I’m going to start the Friday mailbag with one of those emails. Here we go:

L. writes:

“Mr Travis,
Thank you so much for using your soapbox in a positive way.  The first time my husband made me listen to you, I thought you were a bit of an asshole.  He continued to play your show on road trips, and then I realized, I’m an asshole too, because I agreed with you way too much.
You’re probably getting a lot of emails from doctors, so you can ignore this if you’d like, because I’m another one.  I’m a pediatric subspecialist in Virginia, and the lack of proper analysis from the medical establishment has been appalling.  Since this entire SARS-CoV2 debacle began (COVID 19 is the illness, but not everyone infected becomes ill), I have been advocating actually seeing patients in clinic where we can evaluate them.  This week I am seeing FOUR patients in clinic, with the rest of the visits either by phone or video.  As you’ve mentioned, children are statistically more likely to die driving to their visit than of COVID, but up until March, we allowed patients to drive to visits.  Meanwhile, patients with asthma are sitting at home instead of going to school, with mom and dad who smoke like a chimney.  Many kids aren’t exercising or having normal social interactions.  Cancer is not being diagnosed in earlier stages, so anticipate increased cancer deaths.  Try to teach kids with learning disabilities over the phone or with videos- not too effective.  This is a health care fiasco, and not necessarily due to the virus; it’s due to the response.  Also, in Virginia, nearly 2/3 (63%) of deaths are in nursing home residents.  So we keep kids at home?
Additionally, I did want to comment on the lack of true collegiality among the medical profession.  Those of us with views that are contrary to the “coronabros” are not given a forum to express opinions based in reality.  When we offer them up, we are either ignored or given a brisk hand slap.  One quick anecdote.  A resident in our program gave a very factual talk on SARS-CoV2 a few weeks ago.  We had discussed potential negative consequences of the lockdown.  When I spoke to him after the talk to congratulate him, he let me know that the slides he had prepared discussing this had been removed.  When during the question and answer period, I brought up medical problems that may arise due to the lockdown, there was no discussion.  One of my colleagues texted me to let me know that he agreed with me, but didn’t say anything at the time.  We are weak.
One last point, and I apologize for the length.  We talk about protecting the elderly, but we don’t mention constitutional rights.  My father is over eighty years old and has significant cardiac disease.  He also lives alone in Michigan and is a extrovert.  This is hell for him.  He is completely competent to make his own decisions.  He would rather have one more great year living his life, traveling, eating out, than holed up in his house staring at the four walls and drinking alone.  Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone should be able to make decisions based on their own status.  A fascist governor should have no say in the way my dad wants to spend his time. 
 
Once again, I thank you for your sanity.  Enjoy Florida with your family!”
Based on the number of emails I’m getting from doctors, I feel like these doctors whose opinions are being ignored need to start their own lobbying group.
Think about it, we were so worried about overloading hospitals that we basically have bankrupted them. We’ve got doctors who are in danger of missing their mortgage payments because we took away their ability to earn a living over an expected surge of coronavirus patients that never came.
Here’s what I’m going to do, if you’re a doctor that reads Outkick and you want to share your opinion with a large audience, send me an email at claytravis@gmail.com. I’d ask that you provide proof that you’re a doctor — link to a bio somewhere online and provide verification that you’re you — and if you do that I will have a doctor’s only mailbag on the coronavirus next week. (I won’t publish your names unless you tell me you’re fine with your name being used.)
Given that the doom and gloom perspective overwhelms social media and the TV networks, I feel like there’s a need for a variety of medical opinions to be shared publicly. If for no other reason than to demonstrate that the idea that all medical “experts” have the exact same opinion just isn’t true at all.
We’ve embarked on a national lockdown strategy that is, frankly, totally nonsensical and our debate has been far from vigorous on the issue. We need more informed opinions in this country, not less.
Ross writes:
“Heard you say on the radio this week that 40% of all COVID deaths have come from nursing homes. Knowing that only 2.5% of people over age 65 live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities in the U.S., let’s take a look at the math:
Total U.S. Population:  328,000,000
Total in U.S. over age 65:  68,700,000
Total over age 65 in Nursing Homes (at 2.5%):  1,717,500
Nursing Home Population as a % of total U.S. Population:  0.52%
So, doing the math, that would mean that just 0.5% of the entire U.S. population has accounted for 40% (NEARLY HALF!!!) of all COVID deaths in the country.  Why is this statistic not on the front page of every single publication in the country?  Why is this stat not driving every single public policy decision?  It seems pretty simple:  quarantine and protect our nursing homes and senior citizens, everyone else get back to work and get our economy rolling again.”

What data cuts through the noise and what data doesn’t cut through the noise astounds me.

If anything, the 40% of deaths from nursing homes is actually too low of a number. But what it pretty clearly shows us is this virus is a real threat to the old and sick — that is, those in nursing homes — and is almost no threat at all to the young and healthy.

If you are under the age of 24 years old you are just as likely to be struck by lightning as are to die of the coronavirus.

Let me repeat that — you are just as likely to be struck by lightning as you are to die of the coronavirus.

Yet we are talking about shutting down schools and colleges for the fall. This is absolute madness. The only thing young and healthy people should be doing differently is trying to limit their exposure to nursing homes and to the very elderly.

That’s it!

And if you’re under 65 years old and in relatively good health you also have very minimal risk of dying from the coronavirus. We shut down the entire country when a tiny, tiny percentage of people are actually in danger of death from this virus.

It’s pure insanity.

Worse, we allowed the justification for shutting down the country to shift from trying to keep the hospitals from overloading — which didn’t come close to happening anywhere — to we have to stay inside until there’s a vaccine. It’s pure madness.

And I think reasonable people out there need to recognize this for what it is — the triumph of fear porn over logic.

The data that goes viral on social media often isn’t data at all, it’s outlier anecdotal fear porn, not the true data.

Chris writes:

“Thank you for pointing out some of the madness going on in our country right now.  I am so glad to know I am not the only one who feels like he is taking crazy pills.  The world is going nuts right now.

Would you please use your legal knowledge to talk about what, I believe, is maybe the craziest abuse of power yet.  Governor Inslee from Washington is going to put people under house arrest (not even able to go to the grocery store but they would be “kind” enough to deliver them for you) if they refuse contact tracing.  It’s insane. 

I can not believe that in the United States of America people would think it is a good idea to put someone under house arrest without a trial and without a legislative body passing a law because they had the nerve to eat at a restaurant and didn’t want to have their privacy violated over going out to eat.  Besides the gross moral and legal implications, is this also a HIPAA violation? Would love to hear you your thoughts on this, and please shine a national light on this absurdity.  Keep fighting the good fight!”

Despite the fact that I have a law degree, I don’t claim to be an expert on all matters of legality. Especially when, as here, we’re talking about a bevy of different city and state statutes at play all over our country and when there isn’t a recent federal court precedent directly dealing with these issues either.

In all of these cases the individual facts would matter a great deal and so would the individual city and state regulations.

But I agree with the reasoning of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which recently struck down the governor’s stay at home order. Just because there’s a virus doesn’t mean the Constitution doesn’t still exist. Our Constitutional rights are even more important in times of crisis, not less. Just because some people are willing to give away their freedoms the moment the government requests they do so doesn’t mean all of us are legally bound to do the same.

Leaving aside the fact that the medical basis for many of these directives is unsound, I believe many of these orders being issued by governors and mayors seem entirely without support under the framework of our state and federal constitutions.

I’ll give you an example, the city of Los Angeles’s mayor just issued an order that everyone who goes outside has to have a mask on. How in the world is this within his power as the mayor? I mean, he can give a health recommendation for sure, but mandating that every single person who is jogging, surfing, gardening or throwing a football with their kids has to wear a mask outside while doing so is absolute insanity.

Furthermore, what’s the penalty going to be for a violation? Are you going to be put in jail if you refuse to wear a mask in LA while you’re out jogging? Are the police going to arrest surfers out in the ocean if they don’t have masks on? It’s madness.

I’m terrified by how many people just blindly comply with rules like these But I’m even more terrified by the people who don’t just follow the rules themselves they TAKE PICTURES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE JOGGING WITHOUT A MASK AND TELL ON THEM!

It’s absolute balderdash.

Dr. Chris writes:

“The police broke up a neighbor’s outdoor gathering for a graduation due to “lack of social distancing,” which is a clear violation of the freedom of assembly. How do we deal with these situations respectfully when police are clearly in the wrong?”

First, I wouldn’t blame the police here. They are being instructed to enforce new rules or regulations in their cities and states. They didn’t implement the policy and they aren’t constitutional law experts. They are just doing what they are being instructed to do by their bosses.

Second, I don’t know all the details here. Facts matter a great deal. Was the gathering in a public park or a private individual’s yard? This impacts the outcome. If you’re in a public park you have fewer legal protections than if you’re in your backyard, for instance.

But let’s say you are in this situation and you want to make a statement. Well, if the police showed up at your house and said the private graduation party you were having for your family in your own backyard violated social distancing rules and you had to break it up, I’d suggest calmly informing the police that you weren’t going to do that and they were welcome to arrest you. If they decided to arrest you, you should have that arrest filmed on a cell phone and calmly state for the camera exactly what you were being arrested for so there was clear evidence of the arrest. Then you could fight the arrest in the courts.

Now this would be expensive, but if you’re wealthy enough to have the resources to fight an arrest like this I’m confident you would ultimately win your court case. But it might take a while. (Most likely the city or state would drop this arrest case and not prosecute because their top lawyers would know they were going to lose this case as well.)

The truth of the matter is this, we need regular citizens to stand up to these rules and regulations and defeat them in court. The reality is most of these cases would be decided long after the “emergency” of the coronavirus outbreak passes, but I think we need to get as many precedents on the books to limit the draconian overreach of mayors and governors in many of the cities and the states across this country.

There is no recent legal precedent for vast overreaches of authorities like these, but there can be one for the next time a situation like this arises.

Dan writes:

“Hope all is well, man. The past two weeks I have turned on the notifications when you tweet cause you seem to be the only guy in media that isn’t telling the rest of us that the world is ending and we are never going to be able to go outside again.

Lately, as the testing increases and the number of daily cases go down, the “doom and gloom” crowd has been saying things like “The second wave is coming this fall.”

In the beginning of this whole spread of the virus, all of the scientific experts said that weather has zero impact on the virus. If the “second wave” isn’t going to come this summer when we begin to open up and come in the fall instead wouldn’t that be acknowledging that the virus would be slowed down immensely during the hot days of summer and return during the cooler fall days?

Just something that has been bothering me the last couple of days.”

This is a great point.

By arguing there will be a second wave of the virus in the fall or winter, you’re effectively acknowledging the summer weather will diminish the virus substantially.

To be fair, however, most medical experts appear to have expected the virus will wane during the summer. That’s because most viruses similar to this coronavirus do this. (We don’t know for sure because the virus has never been present in America during the summer before).

Most in the media have refused to discuss the likely seasonality of the virus because President Trump opined as much several months ago. And they hate Trump so much they don’t want to admit he’s correct about anything.

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, however, and the data has become even clearer since then — the warmer the weather in the United States the lower the infection rates.

That’s why I believe by late summer this virus will be mostly stamped out.

Earl writes:

“What are your thoughts on the MLB season? I feel like even if there are safe solutions in place, the owners/union will not be able to come to an agreement on how to work out the financials.”

Carson writes:

“If the MLB has to cancel its season over a money dispute, is that the biggest failure by an entire league in sports history? IMO, both players and owners look really bad right now.”

Here’s a big part of my thoughts that I shared yesterday on this issue.

My big takeaway is this — we are in unprecedented times for sports. There are over 36 million people who have lost their jobs and many of the people left with jobs have taken substantial pay cuts. So baseball players, who are millionaires, fighting with owners, who are all billionaires, over how much money they will be making is a really bad look right now.

You’re not going to find much sympathy out there.

I haven’t talked about it publicly at all until this week, but I took pay cuts for both radio and TV because the advertising market has completely disappeared in this country. I mean, it just went away completely in April.

My pay cuts in radio and TV were both voluntary — I have contracts that guarantee my pay so I didn’t have to take them — but I wanted to do my part to help keep the number of people who lose their jobs at my companies to a minimum. I know that I’m relatively fortunate and I want to try and keep the misfortune from spreading to as many others I work with as I possibly can. The point here is, I took less than I was contractually obligated to receive in order to try and help in a time of economic crisis.

And you expect me to be sympathetic for athletes who aren’t willing to do the same?

There are tens of thousands of team and league employees who don’t make much money, guys and girls who owe their jobs to the athletes playing. I’m sorry, I have zero sympathy for the athletes right now.

I’ve continued to do my daily radio show for two months despite there being no sports. I’ve gotten up at 4:30 every morning and done the show because I think it’s important for people with audiences, people like me, to help maintain a sense of normalcy for our audiences out there, people struggling with unprecedented challenges in their lives. It may sound hokey, but I think it’s important right now for people like me to be on the radio so when people put on their radios or check their podcast downloads, I’m there talking to them like I always am.

I think the same thing is true of major league baseball teams and players. Fans want games back to watch. But fans won’t be in the stadiums, at least not at first. That means teams are going to make far less money than in a normal season. In these uncertain times what’s the best way to handle this? Given that owners have no idea how many games will be played or whether the season will finish, it seems eminently reasonable and fair to split revenues between the owners and the players for this year and this year alone.

If MLB players don’t consider that to be a good enough deal for them, they don’t have to work. I’m sure there are thousands of minor leaguers who would be ecstatic to get called up to play a shortened major league season.

If players are afraid of death, like this idiot Blake Snell, who said, “Bro, I’m risking my life,” then he’s entitled not to play. But he should also be ridiculed to the high heavens for not realizing basic probabilities. He’s more likely to die driving to work than he is from the coronavirus. Hell, he’s probably more statistically likely to die playing the sport and having a line drive hit him in the head while he pitches.

If baseball doesn’t come back, I’ll definitely choose not to buy tickets for the next couple of years. If you weren’t willing to be there for me in the bad times, why should I support you in the good times?

Are there many other people like me out there? Yeah, I think there are.

Baseball better come back.

Billy writes:

“Here’s a free analogy for you.
Ask any liver doctor what their thoughts on alcohol are. That doctor is going to say drinking alcohol is really bad for your liver and can cause irreparable damage. And yet, the alcohol industry continues to thrive and drinking socially is a huge part of our lives.
I keep reading people saying “We need to listen to the experts. They have dedicated their careers to studying infectious disease.” No one is questioning this. We do need to listen to them, but take what they’re saying as one data point in a decision where many data points must be considered.
If we all “listened to the experts,” no one would drink alcohol ever again.”
There are many flaws in our response to the coronavirus — so many that I want to write an entire book about it, honestly — but the biggest flaw is the inability to consider other factors outside the coronavirus. We made decisions as a country that refused to even consider the multi-faceted impact on the rest of our society from shutting down. We treated the coronavirus like it was a binary decision — yes or no — as opposed to a multi-factor one.
Anyone who pointed out that we were voluntarily entering into the Great Depression by shutting down the country was screamed at on social media that they were countenancing death.
I’m really fired up about this because it was as if social media suddenly realized that people died. I mean, 7500 people die every day in this country, 2.8 million every year. China screwed the world by letting this virus get out — and they deserve severe consequences for that — but the death rate from this virus is akin to that of a severe seasonal flu for old and sick people. It has almost no impact on young and healthy people. There was no reason whatsoever to ruin our economy — which is going to have a more severe long term health impact on tens of millions — over this virus, which will kill thousands.
What’s more, the “experts” have been wrong about almost everything from the start! The death rate, the infection rate, where it spreads, how it spreads, the epidemiological models, they’ve been totally worthless. Even the guidance has been inconsistent. “Don’t wear a mask!” followed by “Wear a mask!”
Now partly that’s because we’ve had unreliable information from some places — I’ve admitted I got things wrong back in early March because I relied on the China and WHO data when I shouldn’t have — but it’s also because many people out there want to kneel at the altar of scientific certainty. That is, there’s a huge percentage of the population that just screams, “Trust the experts!” when it comes to science or medicine because they want to assume the answers to complicated questions are actually easy.
The problem is, the scientific experts often disagree.
Worse, if you challenge conventional opinion you are often shouted down or ridiculed.
That’s not a blanket indictment of science or medicine, but we’re just demanding a level of certainty that simply doesn’t exist. There’s a presumption that there’s a definite answer here, when it reality there isn’t, especially not with new viruses.
Barron writes:
“Why in the hell would a 1st round NFL draft pick who’s making millions of dollars feel the need to rob people at a cookout?”
How about the most famous and rich people at the party robbing everyone else there?!
Did you really think you were going to get away with this?
If I’d been at this party — and known these guys were multi-millionaire pro football players — which everyone would have known — the pro athlete at the party never goes unnoticed — I would have thought I was being pranked.
It’s just a different level of dumb.
Let’s leave aside the morality here for just a second and simply talk about the decision making, why in the world would you rob someone of something you could easily buy yourself? Again, leaving aside the morality, this is just incredibly stupid from a risk/reward perspective.
They stole expensive watches from people, watches they could have easily bought themselves.
I mean, I don’t want to spend $20k on a watch, but if I wanted to spend $20k on a watch, I could go buy one today. It would be the height of idiocy for me to risk my life and freedom over going to a party and stealing something I could easily afford and buy myself from someone else.
Now I don’t agree with armed robbery morally, but if someone told me there was a way for me to steal $200 million without using a weapon and get away with it, I still (probably) wouldn’t do it, but at least the reward would be worthy of the risk. In other words, it’s not just that the thievery happened, it’s that the thievery happened and there is a zero percent chance of the reward being worth the risk.
I mean, these dudes are just dumb. (Yet if one of them had gone on social media last month and had a hot left wing political take the blue checkmark brigade would have talked about how brave and smart they were and used their statement as a big story).
Jack writes:
“Do you think we will ever know the true number of Covid deaths as it appears many states are labeling deaths Covid even though a heart attack killed them, but tested positive for Covid?”
I think the only way is by comparing the total number of deaths from 2020 to past years. That won’t be an infallible way to determine the number of coronavirus deaths this year — other viruses or diseases could have had more virulent years than usual — but it will at least let us know what the overall death rate was in the country. (It’s also likely that other deaths will decline as a result of the shutdown. Car accidents and murder, for instance).
My expectation right now is there won’t be much of a statistical difference in deaths for 2020 compared to the deaths from past years. (That’s because many of the old and elderly people who died of the coronavirus would have likely died from another disease if it wasn’t the coronavirus. And, of course, the vast majority of the coronavirus deaths are in people with co-morbidities. So I doubt we will ever know for sure how many people died of the coronavirus and wouldn’t have died if the virus had never arrived in America.)
But until we get the final death numbers for 2020 we won’t be able to compare very easily.
Fish writes:
“Do you think if churches had services in Wal Mart would the problem be solved?”
This would actually be really funny to attempt.
What it does, of course, is just point out the absurdity of the fact that grocery stores and Wal Marts, which have been packed for months with huge crowds, are allowed to be open while many other businesses are not.
For me, personally, the most absurd example of essential vs. non-essential businesses was when cupcakes arrived at my door on my birthday. I appreciated the cupcakes arriving, but does anyone out there think cupcakes are an essential business?
I mean, come on.
There are just so many absurdities in this entire process.
Abel writes:
“Do you think California NFL teams will have to play home games out of state?”
Yes.
And I’m hoping they will play in Florida and Florida State stadiums and Peter King, who ripped Ron DeSantis and said he was a day late and forty dollars short for his response to the virus, will have to travel to Florida to cover the games there.
Thanks for reading Outkick.
Have fantastic weekends!

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is an author, radio show host, lawyer, TV analyst, and the founder and lead writer of Outkick (formerly known as Outkick the Coverage).
Read More about Clay >>

MLB Futures: Sell Yankees and Dodgers and Buy These Longshots

Can HBO Max Stand Out In Already Overcrowded Streaming Wars?