Costs versus benefits

Our point, and we do have one, is that costs must be weighed against benefits in the mitigation and containment of the Wuhan virus. President Trump must understand this. The end — the end of the shutdown — may be nigh, at least insofar as the hand of the federal government is concerned. Late last night he tweeted out a statement of the essential point (below). This is an omen.

Given our understanding of the population at greatest risk of death, a more targeted approach is in sight and is called for. Dr. David Katz is the founding director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. He made the case for the targeted approach in the pages of the New York Times, no less: “Is Our Fight Against Coronavirus Worse Than the Disease?” Subhead: “There may be more targeted ways to beat the pandemic.” This is the point: “The rush to impose sweeping restrictions on public and commercial life across the entire economy should be more carefully evaluated.”

Likewise, at Spectator USA, Heather Mac Donald urges us to “Consider the costs.” This is the point: “We should focus our efforts on our known vulnerable populations — the elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them. The elderly should be protected from unknown contacts. Nursing homes must be immaculately maintained. But until there is clear evidence that canceling commerce is essential to preventing mass casualties, the stampede of shutdown oneupmanship should end.”

MORE: Willis Eschenbach also taok up the case of the Diamond Princess at What’s Up With That? in the column “Diamond Princess mysteries.”

Notice: All comments are subject to moderation. Our comments are intended to be a forum for civil discourse bearing on the subject under discussion. Commenters who stray beyond the bounds of civility or employ what we deem gratuitous vulgarity in a comment — including, but not limited to, “s***,” “f***,” “a*******,” or one of their many variants — will be banned without further notice in the sole discretion of the site moderator.