Columnists, Coronavirus, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: A reality check on Colorado’s COVID panic

Enough already.

Enough of the “professionals” scaring people about a COVID risk that isn’t nearly as deadly as they say. That’s what’s really killing us.

The modeling that our governor and local officials are using to base their decisions to steal our children’s education, our jobs and our businesses is insane.

Let’s take a quick look at the Colorado models versus reality.

Sweden acts as the control group for what it looks like if a nation leans into the COVID pandemic and refuses to destroy their economy and children’s education by refusing to close schools, bars, gyms, restaurants, and businesses. They did stop large mass gatherings.

Sweden, with a population of over 10 million, was ridiculed for being the cruel policy outlier as COVID deaths there spiked early hitting 115 per day in April. However, since late July the highest per day death count has been 6, but usually it is only 2 or 3.

Sweden’s rate of death from COVID, as I write this, is 578 per million people. That is less than the USA’s rate of 589 per million.

That is worth re-reading. Sweden has fewer deaths without stealing kids’ educations, killing jobs, leaving businesses in rubble and printing money out of thin air.

In early July Gov. Jared Polis announced an interactive COVID model website which allows us to adjust hypothetical scenarios to see what the models he relies on say. Check it out at

At this site we can adjust for what percentage of Coloradans wear masks and/or socially distance and see how it affects the death rate. It was obviously designed to scare you into social distancing and mask wearing via outlandish and ghoulish predictions.

If we set the model parameters to Sweden-like standards, no social distancing mandates for old or young, no mask mandates, the results are ugly. Colorado’s death rate will flatten out by the end of the year with around 57,000 dead of COVID.

That would be like wiping out the entire town of Parker. With Colorado’s population of 5.75 million that would be a death rate of nearly 10,000 per million!

But wait a sec. Sweden’s death rate is only 578 per million and falling like a stone.

So according to Colorado modelers, Polis’s touchstone, if we act more like Sweden and re-open the economy, we’ll have a 17-fold higher death rate compared to Sweden.

So, do YOU buy that?

As an aside on the great mask debate, according to our Colorado worst-case scenario, the difference between death rates if no one ever wore a mask versus everyone wearing one constantly is only about 6%. Modelers know masks do make a marginal difference, but it does raise the question, are masks more for virtue signaling than safety?

If only the Colorado media would challenge what the governor and local leaders do and the assumptions they use instead of being cheerleaders for COVID panic, or heck even if they would only do the simple math, they could help save Coloradans’ livelihoods and their children’s futures.

This week the press celebrated every COVID outbreak on a college campus and avoided the fact that not a single college student in the entire nation (zero, zip, zilch, nada) has been hospitalized for it, much less died. The media could treat this news as Victory in Europe Day, but they report it as Pearl Harbor. Feed the fear, feed the shutdown.

Because of this faulty, fear-mongering modeling and a lap-dog press, leaders like Polis have put themselves in a position where they can’t fully re-open the economy until “we have a vaccine.”

They have politically boxed themselves in at our cost.

If Polis were to immediately emulate Sweden’s policies, fully open Colorado, we’d find the models he relied on before were off by multitudes. It would be clear his policies and those of local un-elected autocrats like Tri-County Health did massive irreparable damage.

They might then have to face their own guilt and maybe the voters. Not fun.

If, however, he continues to play the “hey great news, I’m going to let bars close an hour later this week, but maybe not next week” game until we’re all vaccinated, he’ll be able to claim he saved over 50,000 Colorado lives. A hero!

So, politics and ego will dictate how this is going to play out.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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