To live and die

Along a rough gravel road that follows the bed of a long-abandoned railway deep into one of the last great wilderness areas in North America, coronavirus COVID-19 has brought to the fore the global conflict between two basic necessities of life: physical health and economic health.

A hundred years ago, this now wild place was Alaska’s industrial heartland. At the end of the long-gone Copper River and Northwestern Highway snaking north for 196 miles from the tiny port of Cordova through a countryside home to more wildlife than people, the rumble of the Kennecott copper mine and mill echoed across the glacier-filled vastness of the Wrangell Mountains.

Here lived a real-world version of Galt’s Gulch long before it sprang to life in Libertarian author Ayn Rand’s best-selling, 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

What remains of the mine and mill today is a national historic landmark managed by the National Park Service in the middle of the 20,600-square-mile Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve where the few residents not living on retirement or welfare eke out a living in the 49th state’s sketchy and highly seasonal tourism industry.

Only about hundred people make their homes year-round in the park – maybe 50 along the McCarthy Road, most of them in McCarthy on the south side of the park, and 50 or so along the Nabesna Road on the north side of the park. 

There might be a couple to a few thousand people living around the edges of the park in the Valdez-Cordova Census area which counts 9,468 with the port cities of Valdez and Cordova accounting for two-thirds of that number.

This is big, wild country where social distancing has been an eight-month, cold-season norm for a long time. But everything changes in summer when tourists come to visit the national park, and Alaskans flood out of Anchorage and Fairbanks to dip nets into the fast and muddy waters of the Copper River on the parks western edge in the hopes of pulling out shiny, silvery salmon.

Worried about both groups of people possibly introducing COVID-19 in the region, the McCarthy Area Council on Monday petitioned Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy to “encourage the National Park Service to enact a parkwide closure to visitation from non-local residents….

“Eliminating non-critical travel to our area will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to remote communities within and surrounding Wrangell-St. Elias NP&P.

“Normally during this time of year, McCarthy-Kennecott dramatically increases in size due to the arriving seasonal workforce. We support a parkwide closure as soon as possible to prevent this influx.”

At the time, the Park Service had already killed the Mount Denali climbing season in Denali National Park and Preserve and was in the process of shutting down Brooks Camp, a popular bear-viewing attraction in Katmai National Park and Preserve in far Western Alaska. It is now closed until at least July 1.

When McCarthy Area Council Secretary Tamara Harper sent the Council’s letter to the governor, she thought the council was doing the right thing. She subsequently emailed area residents, or at least those with emails, to notify them “about what we are doing here to prevent the spread of COVID-19 into our remote community.”

Safety versus freedom

The Council’s helpfulness was not uniformly well received in a place where people are used to making their own decisions, sometimes involving matters of what could be life or death.

The governor was quickly bombarded by a rain of correspondence from those opposed to any closure.

Logan Claus, a third-generation resident of the area might have summed the reactions of a sizable number best when she wrote that “historically McCarthy has been a place of freedom and virtually no government. That is a huge part of what we all love about it.”

In this remote area, as in some other corners of America, COVID-19 has brought to a head in ways never imagined the sometimes inherent conflict between long dueling societal desires for safety and individual desires for freedom.

“Click-it or ticket,” a law enforcement scheme requiring motorists to wear seat belts to save lives, is one thing. A government lockdown aimed at keeping people from driving out of the immediate area of their homes is another.

And when the latter restriction threatens economic security….

“While I understand how fear could cause someone to believe that park closure is the right course of action,” Claus wrote, “that is an extremely narrow-minded viewpoint. From reading their letter it is easy to assume that McCarthy is the only community that would be affected by park closure. That is wildly untrue. It would affect businesses and communities across more than 20,000 square miles – (an area more than twice the size of New Hampshire) – outside of McCarthy.

Claus is the daughter of Paul and Donna Claus, who own the remote Ultima Thule Lodge deep in the park. His father, Paul, is a renowned Alaska Bush pilot who has saved many lives and hauled back to civilization the bodies of too many adventurers who didn’t survive.

The Claus family knows life and death close up in a way foreign to many Americans today.

“None of us know the answers to this present problem,” Paul and Donna wrote the governor, “and we know it is agonizing for you.”

But the Claus family wasn’t buying the idea that closing the park for the summer – and killing a tourist season already in serious danger –  is the answer.

Shutting down the entire park to protect against COVID-19, they wrote, “is like tearing the Empire State Building down to fix a crack in the concrete. It is so over the top it is almost impossible to wrap our minds around.”

The family did not pull any punches on the view of the tradeoff between the risk of sickness and the likelihood of economic devastation either, observing that the desire of some “to protect themselves only is evident.

“My suggestion to them is to isolate in their homes; do not pick up the mail from the handy air delivery; and certainly do not take in any of the groceries that come in for them. Keep away from the rest of us.”

Other McCarthy areas businesses made similar pleas to the governor.

help blurb

Differing views

Dr. David Katz – a specialist in preventative medicine and public health, and the founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center – backed the idea of sheltering the vulnerable and putting others back to work in a March 20 op-ed in the New York Times (NYT).

Nine days later Katz appeared on CNN where NYT Science and Health writer Donald McNeil called the view “an extremely dangerous way of thinking” and “demanded the doctor “take that paper back and apologize for it because I think it provided a scientific underpinning for (President) Donald Trump to say things like the cure is worse than the disease.

“And I know what it feels like to provide the scientific underpinning for Donald Trump because one of my articles did that. I wrote the one that said on Feb. 28 that Donald Trump did the right thing by closing the border to China.”

McNeil called for a lengthy lockdown to save lives, arguing “we’re not going to be able to think about our 401Ks or take retirement at the time we want to. We’re going to have to think about getting enough calories, for perhaps the next year until a vaccine is here.”

McNeil is still on the job. More than 16 million Americans are now experiencing a form of unexpected retirement in that they are out of work in an economy where state lockdowns have killed millions of service-sector jobs.

“The coronavirus outbreak has now put more Americans out of work in three weeks than the Great Recession did in two years,” Forbes reported Thursday.

Much of the Alaska tourism season is already sunk with the cruise ships that bring more than 1.2 million people per year north tied up at their docks.

“All Alaska sailings are canceled through and including June 30, 2020, with all cruises scheduled to depart from San Francisco canceled for the rest of 2020,” Cruise Critic reported Friday.

“More than half of all visitors coming to Alaska arrive by cruise ship,” according to the Alaska Resource Development Council. Cruises are “the” tourism business in the state’s Panhandle, and this looked to be a banner year.

“Alaska cruise ship visitors are expected to break new records for the fifth straight year,” Juneau public radio station KTOO trumpeted in September.  “Meilani Schivjens of Rain Coast Data said that at least 1.44 million passengers are expected next season.”

Industry insiders now say the state will now be lucky if it sees half that many. The rest of the tourism market is expected to be hard hit as well.

Alaska Airlines announced in late March that it was cutting its flight schedule by 70 percent through May and voiced the “expectation that reductions will be substantial for at least the next several months. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, government leaders across the country have appropriately encouraged social distancing and discouraged or restricted travel. As a result, Alaska – like other airlines – is seeing demand reductions of more than 80 percent.”

Remote Alaska tourism businesses are clinging to the hope that a trickle of visitors from out of state and Alaskans who love to explore the backcountry will provide enough business to help them survive. They were begging Dunleavy to avoid pleas for a shutdown.

As Ray Kreig, a co-owner of Base Camp Kennicott put it in a letter to Dunleavy, “we think the Alaskan government is the proper, primary authority to manage the COVID-19 health threat at the local level such as in McCarthy, not federal agencies.

“We look forward to a state determination that travel and tourism can begin again (hopefully soon) so that business and employment can start to recover.”

At this time, that appears a big hope.

South Korea has been one of the countries that has done best at flattening the curve of the COVID-19 epidemic, but more than a month after infections peaked, the country is continuing to report 30 to more than 50 new cases per day.

Worried about another increase in cases, South Korea on Monday ordered another two weeks of social distancing, and upped the penalties for those caught violating the rules for a 14-day self-quarantine after traveling overseas or for lying about their travel history or whereabouts, according to the South China Morning Post.

“We have no alternatives but to extend it because it is quite certain that the infections would spread further if we let down our guard,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.

The pandemic is forecast to peak in Alaska this week, but it is unclear how much of an infection rate the 49th state – or any other state – is willing to accept before allowing life to return to normal.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week said he expected his country to remain under some restrictions for a long time.

“We will not be coming back to our former normal situation,” he told Canadians. “We can’t do that until we have developed a vaccine and that could take 12 to 18 months.” 

CORRECTION: This is an edited version of the original story in which Logan Claus was misidentified.






















53 replies »

  1. In certain comminutes one can’t “let it run”. Like places of high concentrations like NYC, where I have lived and where Governor Cuomo has developed the credibility to gain the buy-in of residence to stay at home; and it has worked to relieve the pressure of off the NYC hospital system. There is allot of collateral damage that goes along with a hospital that is overwhelmed, patients are lost in other areas, not just from COVID-19 that we are not counting. Governor Cuomo is just doing his job on a state level that President Trump has deferred federal governance for states to choose. If Cuomo hadn’t garnished the respect of New Yorkers to shelter-in-place, it would have been far, far worse that what is currently happening there as he also knows that dead people don’t run an economy. Governor Cuomo well knows the devastating economic impact the shelter-in-place policies so far and if it should persist, hence he is now coordinating with regional states to developed a “startup” plan that is consistent for the local economically interconnected states.

    And correct, NY is not AK. I have also live in Bristol Bay, Central and SE Alaska. The question is: can these communities (remote or otherwise) afford to “let it run”? What are the resources that these communities have? Who are the venerable populations? There are some no-brainers there, but SARS-CoV-2 seems to now affect just more than the elderly and people with comorbidities. Without some prudent mitigating strategies, “let it run” would be per-mature at this point… but Bristol Bay will have to make a decisions fairly quickly. I don’t think there has to be a “trade off” with liberty vs. safety; just be smart in how you do it. This takes good leadership with good coordination.

    • Aggressively protect and isolate those vulnerable and let er run. Retirement communities, rest homes, elderly. Let us get back to work. We are breaking the backs of our entrepreneurs. Looks to me like the decision has been made in Cordova and Bristol. Workers arriving daily.

  2. Steve-o; You say your constitutional rights haven’t been impacted? Read the Bill of Rights a little further down…”the right of peaceable assembly”. …. where did that go? Try assembling 100 people to sing on the Park Strip. See how that turns out.

    • John,

      Thank you, you are the only person to respond and point out where there might be any infringement upon any of our specific constitutional rights. There have been many court cases over the issue of protecting public health, including going all the way to the SCOTUS. Several Supreme Court rulings, including the landmark 1905 Jacobson v. Massachusetts decision that said constitutional rights can be lawfully restricted when emergency public health measures are in place.
      The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals recently held up a temporary halt to abortions citing the Jacobson decision. In the recent ruling the majority wrote “”That settled rule allows the state to restrict, for example, one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home,”

      You and I could gather and sing all we want, we could even bring a few friends along but we cannot do so with 98 other people. We would simply need to follow the restrictions in place that have been ruled constitutional by the SCOTUS and by many Court of Appeals.

      • There is no constitutional law that backs that 1905 decision. Note that bill bar / justice department has thrown its weight against the decision of local law enforcement to suspend lawful religious meetings. (giving of tickets created a legal challenge / current lawsuit against such enforcing and bill barr agrees it was an over step – look it up ) the Decision of 1905 will not stand a fair constitutional review.

      • DPR,

        I agree that there are cases where mayors and/or governors have stepped into the unconstitutional realm, religious meetings specifically including those that followed the local mandates. Those are where we should be spending our collective effort, on ACTUAL unconstitutional issues, not on calling things unconstitutional that aren’t. We shouldn’t be crying wolf when there is nothing more than heavy-handed regulations that have already been approved by the Supreme Court. Case law allows for the state to restrict the right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home…like it or not.

        As a good fiscal conservative with strong libertarian leanings I see a ham-handed and typical big government response to an unforeseen and once in a lifetime event. Usually conservative folks take the view that big government is incapable of nuanced action and response, history has proven that to be the case…why is this time any different? Did big government figure out the code? I doubt it, more than likely a few would be tyrants overstepped their bounds like the North Slope Borough Mayor who tried to commandeer all of Ravn’s assets, another obvious unconstitutional action.

      • DPR,

        Article 3 section 2 says in part:
        “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority”

        It’s worth considering whether the constitution backs the Jacobson decision or not.

      • Steve o , yes obviously you have a point. Now consider this . The constitution is considered a contract. Also consider context . Article 3 is discussing courts . Saying Supreme Court tops all other courts in any questions regarding law . They are the final word amongst courts or lawful questions. Now what you missed is it appears article 3 section 2 clarifies Supreme Court power by saying “under the regulations congress shall make .” Meaning the court interprets law but does not make the law . So once again i say look closely to see if in the constitution there is anything that backs decision of 1905 ? There is nothing because there is no constitutional law to interpret the way it was on that date that will hold up under a stiff constitutional review of any moment in time except when the Supreme Court decided to side step states rights . ( a common problem) and side step congress. They chose to interpret the 1905 case incorrectly to give power to those not entitled. Congress would have to create an amendment to constitution that clearly said during health emergencies the government can suspend citizens rights . They cant legally make laws in lower books first because we have the constitution right to assemble and other outlined rights that may not be infringed. So the only way to accomplish legal suspension of constitutional right is to mske amendment which wouldn’t then and wont now pass the ratification of people’s representatives. As it would nullify the usefulness of the original constitutional contract and guarantee of rights and government methods. So you put tge cart before horse by taking section 3 out of context and applied it incorrectly as a backer of 1905 decision. 1905 decision was incorrect and needs review as is illegal usurpation of citizen rights and again i say their is nothing to back that decision except the arbitrary argument that Supreme Court can interpret law as they choose . Thus a review of that decision is in order as it puts enforcement into an illegal position with greater law of the land than Supreme court . “ The contract” or better known as the constitution. To be clear their is nothing in constitution to back this 1905 decision. ( find it for me then we have a discussion) Article 3 only says tge Supreme Court has the power to make a decision. Nothing more . So now the 1905 incorrect decision has allowed illegal laws on the books . A distortion of law and non uniform with constitution. Make sense ? Also consider that section 3 at end says congress makes the laws for Supreme Court to interpret and judge . Well what’s congress? Tge representatives of the people. So in the end people rule . As they decide who is in congress. We ( our fathers ect ) fell down on the job by not expecting congress to hold courts feet to fire and allowed illegal usurpation of rights , thus my original statement- vote now for knowledgeable pro constitution representatives. We are nearing tge end and its not crying wolf , it’s calling out illegal acts. Usurpation of rights without changing the contract is breaking the contract. Thats how it works generally. That means we would be within our natural rights to revoke tge right of the government to govern just like in tge Declaration of Independence. Now i still think tgere is hope but it appears we need better safe gaurds against government tyranny especially now that tge balance of power has shifted due to observation technology, standing army , and extremely dangerous military weapons. Not to mention tge alphabet agencies and miltarized law enforcement. Thus citizen unity and voting is more important than ever . The power of government is given by tge people and tge foundation of our constitution is liberty/ freedom of choice. When that guiding principal is gone its effective slavery and in violation of the constitution. The 1905 decision took away personal choice for multiple items as well as suspending rights which without an amendment is not uniform interpretation of law with constitution. – illegal. Now of course it was legal for court to mske a decision. Its just that decision is not in line with constitution. Our congress should have taken up tge issue and made a safe gaurd to protect against court mistakes . People should push them to do so now . Im calling it a mistake as I wasn’t tgere and haven’t reasearched the decision enough to say there was nefarious play at hand . I apologize for lack of brevity but devils in the details.

      • DPR,

        I agree that Congress makes laws, the states also make laws. The part of the constitution that allows the SCOTUS to rule on the laws the states make is Article 3 section 2 specifically where it says “the Laws of the United States”. The way I read this, and like you said the constitution is a contract…well you can’t pick and chose the sections you like and disregard others but you must accept the entirety of the contract, so the states enact laws through their legislatures and they face due process as in the Jacobson decision ultimately end up at the Supreme Court. A ruling was made by the Supreme Court, they did their job on ruling on a law made by on of the states. Certainly it is possible they made a mistake ruling the way they did but that decision has stood for 115 years, it has been ruled by the highest court in the land to be the law of the land for all those years…it has passed constitutional muster to this point.

      • Steve o , it passed the Supreme Court. It did not pass constitutional muster. You misused the definition Of the word . Again yes states make laws- congress makes laws . If they make laws that are not uniform with tge constitution regardless of what tge Supreme court says in one decision its still unconstitutional therefore null and void under the strongest law of the land the constitution. The people have the final say over what’s going to voting or worst case revokeing the power of the government. Now what you said about taking a contract in its entirety is true and what you did by taking one piece and putting it as the ruler creates a misconception. When reviewed by courts or individuals The pre information and context, letters , wars , prior legal works , agreement, writers , and philosophy that went into the creation of a contract are looked at . Especially the notes and letters of founders and constitution as a whole . ( the Supreme Court tries to take all that into consideration or is supposed to . ) If you take one piece like you did – article 3 and give it undue power then you distort the meaning / intent of the contract/ constitution. Background information must be analyzed. ( like you said pieces cant be picked and chose – what you missed is the contract is bits and pieces but must be utilized as a whole therefore intent is more important than a flaw – say a typo or defect or piece that can be construed as ultimate power- tge constitution clarifies who has power by saying the enumeration of certain rights doesn’t limit otger rights held by tge people through natural laws ( condensed and simplified version) . The founders had no intent of giving Supreme Court ultimate power. They only had intent to give them power over questions of law or charged them with making an actionable decision . The way you are interpreting article 3 would give them complete governmental power as they could redefine the constitution to fit their agenda at any moment in time . You have extrapolated their power to far .) now another important point is when you incorrectly say its pased constitutional muster for over 100 years that makes it effectively factual / acceptable as right in and of itself, well thats a logical fallacy. Regardless of how long an injustice is in place or an incorrect act is in place its still wrong and unbuildable as a foundation. As is seen when there is a cascade of laws that gets repealed or say when an unjust conviction imprisons a man and when his conviction is overturned his record is wiped clean and he may get compensation . So your argument of time does not boltster the act . There is absolutely nothing in the constitution to justify the interpretation of the 1905 decision the way tge Supreme Court did and thats the important point. Therefore their decision is null and void. ( again i say find me where the constitution allows suspending rights for health emergencies- not associated with invasion or rebellion) when you gind that or congress changes that you could be right unless its creates a non uniform situation. Then peoples rights / liberty trump all . Liberty being the right to make decisions for self and act on them until thry infringe on someone elses right . (Obviously a shortened version of concept)

      • DPR,

        You must have a different understanding of what constitutional muster means than I do. If a law has been thoroughly scrutinized and worked it’s way through the courts up to and including the Supreme Court and found to be constitutional then it has passed constitutional muster. You can disagree with the constitutionality on whatever grounds you want but it doesn’t take away the fact that due process was served.

        I think you also misunderstood what I was saying regarding Article 3 section 2, I do not think this grants the courts the ultimate authority to do whatever they want. It does grant them the ultimate authority to judge the constitutionality of the laws of our country and states.

        The Supreme Court has ruled through the Jacobson case that these laws are constitutional. Whether you or I agree or disagree with the constitutionality as a matter of practicality it really doesn’t change anything…unless we decide to challenge it in court and until such a time as the Jacobson decision is overturned it has passed constitutional muster and is the law of the land.

      • DPR,

        Take the Dred Scott case for example, it passed constitutional muster but was clearly an unconstitutional decision and was the law of the land until it was overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments. A free man and his family were enslaved for years because the Supreme Court made a faulty decision…he never got those years back. Plenty of people back then disagreed with the SCOTUS decision, it took enough people and time to pass the amendments to the constitution to correct that decision.

      • Steve o , muster per mirriam webster in this application means meet and pass critical examination. Well 1905 and dread Scott do not meet constitutional muster or critical exam from a constitutional view . Thats why i say find where constitution backs 1905 . There is nothing, thats why you cant find and are grasping at strength of Supreme Court powers . 1905 did meet Supreme Court muster as constitution powers them to make a ruling . Thus their eventual and future successful court challenges Thats why the drama with both. Its not about what you or i want to think it’s about what was said and created before our time . Constitutional muster versus Supreme Court muster . You are mixing the two when there is distinction. Without a distinction you incidentally give Supreme Court ultimate power. I wasn’t mistaken on what you said you just are not realizing the far reaching implications of what you say . Now a form of due process was served on that decision. But lets say someone was convicted over the 1905 decision. He would not have fully received due process and his conviction could be overturned as his constitutional rights were not up held . So your concept of due process also does not bolster the legality of laws created on 19o5 decision or their enforcement . They dont meet constitutional muster and will eventually be overturned as will any conviction ffom them . Its not about my or others thought/ opinion it’s about whst was written and agreed to long ago .

      • DPR,

        Unless and until Jacobson is overturned it has been ruled constitutional per the Supreme Court. Just like in the Dred Scott case, Dred Scott and his family were ruled to be slaves by the Supreme Court and so they were, until that case was overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments. Since the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land their rulings stand, unless and until they are overturned.

        We’re going around in circles here…I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but the reality we find ourselves in is a different story than I’m sure you or I would chose it to be. The only way any changes can be made is when people accept the reality we are in and acknowledge what that means. Jacobson is law, it is settled law, and it has been found by the Supreme Court to be constitutional law.

      • Steve o , an important item to consider is that 13 and 14 amendments were unnecessary except as clarification. Slavery was already illegal under tge constitution.The south was operating illegally and thrir laws didn’t meet constitutional muster. Thus the foundation to back tge creation of 13 and 14 th. If you read federal letters and carefully study founders you will see every word was picked carefully. All men created equal meant all men . Natural rights for all men . Not just whites or free men . You will even find a letter where Madison addresses slavery. I believe his state was first to abolish. even before America constitution. Correct me if im wrong. Might have been another person . Madison who was extremely anti slavery as were most founders said “let the issue sleep a bit as we must sacrifice to preserve and create national unity” Condensed version aprx. He chose not to force the issue and make a divisive argument but installed the words all men ect on purpose . HIm and others layed tge groundwork to say blacks and others have equal rights and slavery is illegal or anti constitutional Or doesn’t meet constitutional muster. At constitutional inception slavery was illegal but Madison and otgers needed tge south and the rich farmers and perhaps national financial stability for unity and chose to not force the issue via Court . So dread Scott did not meet or rather the law allowing slavery did not meet constitutional muster. A lot more went into the situation than perhaps you realize , thus our confusion?? It’s important to remember enumeration of certain rights does not disparage others and you , i and others are within our right to determine constitutional muster as citizens and must do so to determine qualified political candidates. Obviously we are not empowered to make court rulings. Though we are empowered to chsnge government.

      • Steve o , now we find consensus. Ruled constitutional by Supreme Court, ruled as slaves by Supreme Court, but as you basically say enslaved unconstitutionally until another ruling is made . Their enslavement did not meet constitutional muster at any time . I wouldn’t go as far as saying a circle but it was sort of a square. Lets let it sleep and digest a-bit and learn more in interim. We are probably much closer in thought than first appears .

      • DPR,

        I believe we are much closer in thought than you can imagine. Freedom and liberty are my guiding principles, I default to self reliance and individual choice. I also live in the world our forefathers made us, it’s 2020 and self reliance, individual choice, liberty, and freedom are an almost unknown language. We must deal with the here and now as it is with any eye towards what should be. Beating the drum of how it should be without acknowledging how it is is just like the mormon or jw knocking on your door to spread the good news that you don’t need, especially when all you needed was the pizza delivery guy to show up with your pizza.

        I like our conversations here, I learn from them and I would like to think others do as well…if not then at least I took something away from it.

  3. Do a little internet search of the Swine Flu back in 2010. The WHO started that call for a Pandemic as well. You will have to do some creative searching, because they have buried it on the internet searches. The WHO, CDC, and lots of the vaccine, medical and PPE makers made a killing on that pandemic as well.

    I can remember back then, because when I would roll into California to pick produce up to haul and deliver it all over to Canada and the USA half the people in parts of California were sporting face masks. I drove truck all over the lower 48, Canada, and Alaska without a face mask, using public restrooms, eating publicly (even buffets),and not once contracted the Swine Flu.

    I believe most of these new viruses that have come out are lab created, bet money on it. I do not know why they have decided this was the one to run full board with though. Maybe they needed a money push. Maybe it’s their agenda for the big push to change society. There is probably several things going on here simultaneously.

    None of my friends that still haul freight all over the lower 48, coast to coast, have gotten or know of anyone that has gotten sick as of yet, and they are at a higher rate of exposure than people staying within their own communities.

    Many news sources such as Forbes and others called the 2010 Swine Flu a “WHO created fake pandemic” back then after it was all over. I wonder what the papers will read on this one, when it’s over. And…..where’s our government leak that hopefully will come out and shed some light on this.

    • Craig…. I have noticed something here though, that you have probably already noticed.

      I switch back and forth between your Facebook commenters and your website commenters, and in doing so, I feel a more Panicked vibe almost hostile vibe coming from the Facebook side. I don’t know if it’s because it is a bigger audience of commenters or if Facebook has everyone wound up over there. Maybe the popularity of social media is why this Particular Panic Pandemic is getting more footing than the last one.

      You will find more people wanting heavier government restrictions for this Panic Pandemic on Facebook along with some of them getting down right mad at you if you even question what’s going on here, or suggest easing restrictions. “haha” Some have even gone as far as calling someone (me) an anti vaxxer, insinuating a comparison of an evil devils child for not wanting to line up and get unquestionably inoculated.

  4. In certain communities one can’t “let it run”.

    Like places of high concentrations like NYC, where I have lived and where Governor Cuomo has developed the credibility to gain the buy-in of residence to stay at home; and it has worked to relieve the pressure of off the NYC hospital system. There is allot of collateral damage that goes along with a hospital that is overwhelmed, patients are lost in other areas, not just from COVID-19 that we are not counting. Governor Cuomo is just doing his job on a state level that President Trump has deferred federal governance for states to choose. If Cuomo hadn’t garnished the respect of New Yorkers to shelter-in-place, it would have been far, far worse that what is currently happening there as he also knows that dead people don’t run an economy. Governor Cuomo well knows the devastating economic impact the shelter-in-place policies so far and if it should persist, hence he is now coordinating with regional states to developed a “startup” plan that is consistent for the local economically interconnected states.

    NY is not AK. I have also live in Bristol Bay, Central and SE Alaska. The question is: can these communities (remote or otherwise) afford to “let it run”? What are the resources that these communities have? Who are the venerable populations? There are some no-brainers there, but SARS-CoV-2 seems to now affect just more than the elderly and people with co-morbidities.

    Without some prudent mitigating strategies, “let it run” would be per-mature… but Bristol Bay will have to make a decisions fairly quickly. I don’t think there has to be a “trade off” with liberty vs. safety; just be smart in how you manage it. This takes good leadership with good coordination.

  5. And now it starts:
    “At least 15,000 cars and trucks are expected to descend on Michigan’s state capital on Wednesday to protest what they’re calling Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s tyrannical new guidelines to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in the state.

    The so-called “drive-by” demonstration – in order to maintain social distancing — aims to bring traffic to a gridlock in Lansing and protest the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order by Whitmer, a Democrat, mandating what businesses could stay home, what some businesses could sell and ordering people in her state against any gatherings – no matter the size or family ties.

    “Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” Meshawn Maddock, an organizer of the protest with the Michigan Conservative Coalition, told Fox News. “Every person has learned a harsh lesson about social distancing. We don’t need a nanny state to tell people how to be careful.”

    The protest – called “Operation Gridlock” – would be just one of a number of demonstrations of civil disobedience around the country by Americans upset with their state’s stay-at-home orders amid the pandemic.

    • Murica.. Love it.. Dems will somehow threaten to take your guns I am sure..
      ““We are losing our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy,” the group wrote on its page. “The shutdown is not warranted, nor sustainable for our area. The vulnerable can be isolated or protected in other ways, without sacrificing our entire state economy.”

      Maddock and other protestors in Michigan said the orders not only hurt the economy, but also damaged their way of life – and even may have killed more people than the virus.”

  6. I keep hearing some scientists and politicians saying we cannot go back to normal for 12-18 months “when” they develope a vaccine. Well sometimes we NEVER develope a vaccine,(HIV has been studied for decades, no vaccine), so are they saying our jobs, families, friends, schools, sports, recreation and most importantly our freedom is gone forever?

    • Steve, eventually the powers to be want to go to a robotic society. Very few jobs will be performed by humans. Ex. a warehouse robot can perform 6,000x that of a human and work 24hrs, 7x a week. Humans will be on a permanent welfare type system or your brain/memories will be loaded into a cyborg to basically perform the tasks of robots. This is coming in the not too distant future. So, is this a prelude on a global scale or is this just your run of the mill bio-weapon turned lose because something is not adding up?

  7. It has certainly been interesting seeing how many people have little or no understanding of what their constitutional rights are, if they are being violated, or how they are being violated. Instead of dusting up on the history of this country, and what their rights are they just ignorantly rant about their constitutional rights being deprived. Which rights are you being deprived of, how are they being violated, and how are you going to get the rights you believe you were deprived of restored?

    I think, for the most part, President Trump has done a good job leaving the response to the state and local governments, as he should. Some state and local governments have indeed crossed the line into unconstitutional decrees/mandates. Attorney General Barr has said they will begin looking into some of those this week.

    I believe Ray Kreig in the article above has a firm grasp on how this should be handled when he said “we think the Alaskan government is the proper, primary authority to manage the COVID-19 health threat at the local level such as in McCarthy, not federal agencies.

    “We look forward to a state determination that travel and tourism can begin again (hopefully soon) so that business and employment can start to recover.”

    McCarthy is New York City and shouldn’t be treated in the same way.

    • Agree Steve-O, but I find this response a bit troubling from the Surgeon General – “I feel confident that some places will start to reopen in May and June. Other places won’t; it will be piece by piece, bit by bit, but will be data-driven,” he said.
      May or June or LONGER? We are talking months away unitl June. Longer? Really? They either know this is a purposeful release of bio-warefare and aren’t saying it or this is all overkill. Way overkill if you excuse the pun.

      • Bryan,
        Whether or not this was purposeful, many roads lead back to Wuhan.
        Back in 2017 ( did a story outlining the dangers of allowing China to open their biological research center in Wuhan.
        “The Chinese Academy of Sciences approved the construction of a BSL-4 laboratory in 2003..
        The lab was designed and constructed with French assistance as part of a 2004 cooperative agreement on the prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases…
        But worries surround the Chinese lab, too.
        The SARS virus has escaped from high-level containment facilities in Beijing multiple times, notes Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey…
        Some scientists outside China worry about pathogens escaping, and the addition of a biological dimension to geopolitical tensions between China and other nations.”

      • Bryan,

        Maybe this is a bio-weapon, some experts have said it isn’t…does it matter? If it is then it’s not a very good one and if it is, then it looks like it isn’t working out very well for whoever released it. If the Chinese released it then they just damned their own economy for generations to come…assuming we learn any lessons at all from this. And if we released it then we are destroying our own economy and killing our own people to affect change that was already occurring.

        Or, is it maybe possible that this is a naturally occurring disease that just finally happened to jump to humans, like many others have done historically? Occam’s Razor probably applies in this situation.

        Either way, I can definitively say that my constitutional rights have not been violated. There are certainly places in this country where this isn’t true, sadly. But most who comment here aren’t in those places and haven’t had their constitutional rights violated either. Maybe one day before people start sounding off about their constitutional rights they will actually understand what those rights are.

      • Steve O, I must disagree. I feel the release of the Coronavirus had indeed had the desired effect. Plus, it has worked out very well for the Chinese financially so far.
        Think like a focused, party driven Commie. You have basically 30yrs to take over the world as both the economic and military power. The Party owns and controls everything. The party pays and supports millions of elderly and disabled who contribute little to nothing to the party. You have outlived your usefulness. You are a liability. How do I accomplish getting rid of millions of people?
        Why would the Chinese Governmemt burn bodies and not even notify families?
        Why would the Chinese Government hide and destroy the origins of the Coronvirus?
        Why would the Chinese Government accuse the US Military of releasing the Coronavirus as a market in Wuhan?
        China kills millions of the elderly, then make billions selling PPE to various desperate countries, then buy large swaths of destroyed economies in the UK, USA, Cenral and South America to include Africa.
        Id say it is workimg perfectly as designed.

      • Bryan,

        China already owned large swaths of the world by way of commerce, they didn’t need to manufacture a disease to sell PPE. Tonight our Alaskan government just said they are working with the Chinese to get more PPE, they are already where the world gets their PPE…shouldn’t we be working to manufacture our own. And not just manufacturer our own PPE, but manufacture our own everything? The reason they are trying to hide it is because it will harm them financially, nothing more nothing less.

        We must learn that we must divest from China. We need critical infrastructure and production in the US not in China, this is the lesson we need to learn, and right now is when we must learn it.

      • Steve O, I agree with what you are saying. Of course they didn’t do all this to make a profit off PPE’s. I laugh because leave it up to the Chinese to make a profit off them. Especially during a crisis they created. It is true, they did own large swaths of real estate, companies, influence from governments and world bodies. Now they own more at rock bottom prices.
        Also, how does one go about getting rid of an aging population and those disabled or vulnerable while maintaining the “strong” and healthy?
        The Chinese are diabolical and you have to think that way. Pure evil. Their goal is to take over the world and crush whatever or whomever stands in their way. Nuclear Wars are so passe. But this, this weak “brew” has potential. You think the Chinese are sheltering in place to protect their elderly? Doubtful. Look past today and into the future..They know Democrats are trying to destroy our country from within. They are useful idiots for them. They know the Democrat base is unhinged and expendable. The elites are easily dragged around by their nose with money and power. They know the West is a victim of it’s own mental creation – guilt and political correctness. They leverage and exploit it daily while sowing division. Look at the media and which side they are on. There is too much to list here but, as the Democrats and Chinese say, “never let a good crisis go to waste”.

  8. I do not hear anyone talking about the canceling of surgeries for cancer patients that need cancerous organs/tissues removed. This is a consequence of the lock down. If a breast lump, cancerous ovarian tumor, cancerous uterine tumor, or cervical cancer is left to remain for even a month depending on the Grade, it could spell death in the future instead of an early stage diagnosis and successful cancer treatment with surgery. A physician in my family is dealing with this as a physician OB/Gyn who is fighting to have this stay of cancer surgery removed from classification as elective surgery in Louisiana. The Governor here was surprised to learn that his bureaucrat head of the Department of Health and Hospitals issued this order. But so far has done nothing about it. How is this being treated in Alaska? The public health group is dealing only with one potential death threat. We have many and must look at the total picture and take appropriate action. Talk about death sentence from a total lockdown!!! There has to be a total plan with input from practicing physicians and not just bureaucrats who gave up the practice of medicine decades ago and place too much faith in epidemiology. The epidemiological model bombed and we will not have 100,000 to 200,000 deaths on April 15th. There was inadequate data and assumptions that were not adequate. We do need to use the social distancing and other techniques to reduce exposure, but we have to look at what a total lockdown is doing in other areas of medicine. The death of a cancer patient is just as horrific as the death of a CV-19 patient. Neither should be ignored because of a lockdown.

  9. What most people don’t seem to see is that an economic shutdown is not about safety. It’s about opportunists scamming the situation. It’s about federal workers going to work, and happy they have nothing to do. It’s about state workers going to work, and getting paid to do little to nothing. Same with many municipal and school employees, still taking a paycheck … for doing very little. It’s about retired people happy to have no one else on their streets or in their local stores. It’s self-serving, and not about safety. And it’s at the cost of Alaskans that work to survive.

  10. This is getting ridiculous…
    3 million people die every year in America.
    3 million!
    That comes out to roughly 8,000 a day…way less than will die from this new Coronavirus.
    I watched an interview that David Rubenstein did with Dr. Fauci a few years ago.
    Fauci said in a normal flu season, 20 percent of the population will contract the virus.
    In a “pandemic” year that number goes up to 25 percent.
    Are we really this stupid to toss away a free market economy in a capitalist society due to the current media induced panic?
    If you are willing to give up your liberty this easy, the globalists will surely take it.
    Here is what Henry Kissinger wrote a few days ago in the WSJ:
    “The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order…Now, in a divided country, efficient and farsighted government is necessary to overcome obstacles unprecedented in magnitude and global scope.”
    If you are scared, then stay in your house…but do not destroy the economy for future generations.
    Globalists like Kissinger and Gates are just chopping on the bit to redesign our current society…please be strong enough to not let them.

    • Steve, Google “mortality rate”. 150,000 people, of 7.8 billion people, die on planet earth every day. In the 100 days of this pandemic, 15,000,000 people have died. If 20,0000 Americans have died during this time, that is 1/10th of 1 percent of the total number of people that have died on our planet in that time. COVID-19’s death toll is mere statistical noise.

  11. It is very inconvenient to self quarantine and financially disastrous to have your business or job end. Of that there is no doubt. But in the end it will save our lives and the lives of others. Rejecting medical advice will cost lives. How many do the Claus family think is a rational
    trade off in order to allow theirs and other businesses in the McCarthy area to continue. It sounds like it might make sense. That is until it is you or someone in your family that comes down with the disease. I fully understand the concept but believe that a more precautionary approach is necessary. Who wants to make the decision to ignore medical advice and then be seen as responsible for the deaths of others. We will someday get through this and we can rebuild. There is that at the end of the tunnel. If you are alive there is always hope and opportunity.

    • A.F.
      You wrote:
       “If you are alive there is always hope and opportunity.”
      Tell that to someone living in North Korea today.
      Or maybe you prefer the Chinese model where we all need papers to leave our homes?
      If you are so concerned about this invisible enemy, then you can take steps like “shelter in place”, wearing a mask and gloves for shopping, etc.
      Telling younger generations that we must abandon small business and liberties like visiting friends and family so that older (retired) Americans can feel safe is not what this country was founded upon.
      If this was by chance a bioweapon then America is playing right into the hands of their adversaries (and you know we have surely stacked up the adversaries in the last 20 years of foreign wars).
      The words in our Constitution ring true today as in 1776: “…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

      • Steve O,
        You are correct, but the Declaration of Independence is also considered by many to be the foundation of our American Constitution.
        “In other words, the Declaration argued that, as to Americans, the positive law of the British Empire had veered so far away from natural law that it no longer legitimately governed the colonies.
        It needed to be replaced…
        After Independence, the Declaration remained as a statement of America’s natural law ideals. The Constitution was adopted to move American positive law closer to those ideals. The Constitution did this in at least two principal ways:
        by substantive rules, and by imposing procedures designed to produce better results.”

      • Steve,

        My point is, if you are going to quote from somebody or something then you should know who or what you are quoting from…it’s kind of the point of using quotations. If you don’t know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of The United States, as I have previously stated I will help you out, or you can just use the internet and search for yourself.

        Thanks for your follow up lesson and link, I sincerely hope that you learned something by reading it. I can only hope that these trying times will actually open the eyes of some who have no understanding of what our country was founded upon and of our countries founding documents.

  12. The “Death Chart” crowd, largely composed from the alphabet soup health agencies, including Hopkins, now see the real number trending below 1%, perhaps as low as half or a third of that. Katz was and is right. Vigorously protect and isolate those at risk and let the thing roll. We are destroying the economy and the entrepreneur spirit. The self inflated heads of these health agencies are running the planet.

      • No. We aggressively protect the most vulnerable and let this thing run. The current policies do nothing to accelerate herd immunity. And that is the solution, pre-vaccine.

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