The Second Act Will Be Worse Than the First: Lockdowns Are Not the Answer
In the first presidential “debate” (I use that word creatively), Joe Biden hinted that he would order a national lockdown in order to “defeat” the covid-19 virus, and there certainly seems to be a consensus in the media and among political elites that if there is another “outbreak” of covid, then the “shelter in place” order will be the law of the land.
Many businesses certainly are making plans for such an order, this time not wanting to be caught unprepared as they were last March:
Grocery stores and food companies are preparing for a possible surge in sales amid a new rise in Covid-19 cases and the impending holiday rush.
Supermarkets are stockpiling groceries and storing them early to prepare for the fall and winter months, when some health experts warn the country could see another widespread outbreak of virus cases and new restrictions. Food companies are accelerating production of their most popular items, and leaders across the industry are saying they won’t be caught unprepared in the face of another pandemic surge.
One hardly can blame business owners and managers for wanting to be ahead of the curve, as progressive governments at all levels have been merciless to businesses and employees, driving thousands of firms into bankruptcy and leaving millions of people unemployed. Furthermore, given the overt hostility that progressives have toward private enterprise in the first place, politicians will take shortages and empty shelves as “proof” that private enterprise is in league with the devil to subvert the social order and act accordingly to punish these miscreants.
With Biden well ahead in the presidential polls and with it becoming increasingly likely that he will win the election next month, people should take seriously his calls for another series of lockdowns next winter should the coronavirus spread (in his words). There obviously is much to dissect in those few words, but the simple approach should be as follows: there is no evidence that would necessitate such a drastic move and another lockdown would create even more devastation than has done the first round.
Biden told ABC News, “I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” a statement that invites a number of questions. The first one is: Which scientists? Some are in favor of lockdowns (and Google will make sure you find them) and others are strongly opposed.1 (Don’t expect Google to help you with that search. I found them on another search engine.)
What Works and What Doesn’t Work
First, and most important, locking down most of the population is at best a very temporary strategy at best. Even setting aside the economic consequences of quarantining a majority of Americans and shutting down their workplaces, the lockdown strategy does little to combat the spreading of the virus, since it gives people no chance to build up immunities, which are key to stopping it. Writes Jeff Deist:
From day one the focus should have been on boosting immunity through exercise, fresh air, sunlight, proper dietary supplementation, and the promotion of general well-being. Instead our politicians, bureaucrats, and media insisted on business lockdowns, school closures, distancing, isolation, masks, and the mirage of a fast, effective vaccine.
The problem is that the virus is not going to disappear, so even if one temporarily prevents its spread by shuttering people in their homes, sooner or later people will have to mingle, and when they do, their bodies will not be conditioned to fight it, so the infection rate certainly will increase. In fact, that is what we have seen so far, as we have lockdowns followed by relaxation of the rules, followed by a surge of new infections. That surge then leads to panic in the media and among the political classes, with the new “solution” being even more lockdowns.
One would think that this seemingly endless cycle of lockdown-relaxation-lockdown would lead the authorities to rethink their strategies, but that is not the case, and this willful blindness is not limited to American politicians. We see governments in Denmark, Belgium, New Zealand, and elsewhere reverting to lockdowns after an increase in new infections.
Meanwhile, the Swedish infection rate clearly is falling, and falling relative to the infection rates of countries that have followed strict lockdown procedures, even if mainstream journalists do not wish to make the comparisons. To a casual
Article from Mises Wire