Lockdown mysteries

Following the politics and public health policy of the COVID-19 epidemic in Minnesota, I have drawn several inferences. Among them are these.

The disease places the elderly and infirm (i.e., those with one or more of seven identified underlying medical conditions) at elevated risk of death. At last word, those with significant underlying conditions account for some 94 percent of fatalities attributed to the disease in Minnesota. We should be warned to look out for ourselves and, if in residential care, protected.

The disease places the rest of us at minimal risk. We should be left free to look out for ourselves with the appropriate public health guidance.

The lockdowns imposed on us to prevent spread of the disease are both futile and destructive. The collateral consequences of the lockdowns render them unconscionable on any rational scale weighing costs against benefits.

Stanford University’s Jay Bhattacharya is one of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration. In the October number of Hillsdale’s Imprimis, Dr. Bhattacharya observes:

The widespread lockdowns that have been adopted in response to COVID are unprecedented—lockdowns have never before been tried as a method of disease control. Nor were these lockdowns part of the original plan. The initial rationale for lockdowns was that slowing the spread of the disease would prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. It became clear before long that this was not a worry: in the U.S. and in most of the world, hospitals were never at risk of being overwhelmed. Yet the lockdowns were kept in place, and this is turning out to have deadly effects.

Dr. Scott Atlas criticizes lockdowns in the second of “three realities” he urges Americans to understand in the Wall Street Journal column “A pandemic of misinformation.” This is the central reality:

[N]early all states used the same draconian policies that people now insist on hardening, even though the number of positive cases increased while people’s movements were constrained, business activities were strictly limited, and schools were closed. Governors in all but a few states—Florida and South Dakota are notable exceptions—imposed curfews, quarantines, directives on group gatherings, and mask mandates.

Mobility tracking verifies that people restricted their movement. Gallup and YouGov data show that 80% to 90% of Americans have been wearing masks since early August. Lockdown policies had baleful effects on local economies, families and children, and the virus spread anyway. If one advocates more lockdowns because of bad outcomes so far, why don’t the results of those lockdowns matter?

That is a good question. There is much more to the same effect here.

Considering the role of the media in misinforming the public with political attacks about who is to blame for the pain and misery of the lockdowns, Dr. Atlas concludes: “It is not at all clear that American society with its cherished freedoms will survive, regardless of our success in defeating the pandemic threat.”

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.