Our insane shutdowns

COVID-19 appears to move with a mind of its own and to strike the elderly, the infirm, and especially the infirm elderly with particular harshness. The shutdowns undertaken by Minnesota and other state governments constitute acts of willful destruction on a monumental scale. On this point, see John Tierney’s City Journal column “Lockdown addicts.” Tierney writes, for example:

Instead of reconsidering their policies, local officials are restricting more businesses and closing more schools, as New York City has just done. Journalists continue treating Covid deaths as the only ones that matter, while ignoring the mounting medical and social toll from lockdowns. Promising more restrictions, Biden has created an advisory board comprised of individuals who favor stricter lockdowns and foresee restrictions continuing until late next year, even if a Covid vaccine is quickly approved.

Biden and other leaders claim to be following “the science,” but that obviously doesn’t include the research showing the high costs and low benefits of lockdowns and school closures. Closing schools was a dubious move in the spring, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that it would likely do little to stem the pandemic (and noted that school closings in other countries had failed to make a discernible impact). Today it makes even less sense in light of the accumulated evidence.

Tierney draws on several threads with a Minnesota connection to make his argument. He calls attention to the highly political University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, now moving on from the Walz to the Biden COVID kitchen cabinet. Tierney sinks Ostherholm along with Andrew Cuomo in his concluding paragraph:

Osterholm also singled out New York governor Andrew Cuomo for praise, calling the state “a model for the rest of the United States.” This seemed rather bizarre, given that the Covid mortality rate in New York is the nation’s second-highest (exceeded only by New Jersey’s), and that infections peaked before Cuomo ordered a lockdown in March. Cuomo also famously justified the lockdown by declaring, “If everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.” This just-one-life rationale has traditionally been considered a prime fallacy in making public policy, which is supposed to be based on rational consideration of the common good. Now it apparently constitutes “the science” guiding the next president.

It’s a sad situation.