by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Let’s travel back in time to March of 2020. It was then that predictions of mass death related to the new coronavirus started to gain currency. One study, conducted by Imperial College’s Neil Ferguson, indicated that U.S. deaths alone would exceed 2 million.
The above number is often used, even by conservatives and libertarians, as justification for the initial lockdowns. “We knew so little” is the excuse, and with so many deaths expected, can anyone blame local, state and national politicians for panicking? The answer is a resounding yes.
To see why, imagine if Ferguson had predicted 30 million American deaths. Imagine the fear among the American people then, which is precisely the point. The more threatening a virus is presumed to be, the more superfluous government force is. Really, who needs to be told to be careful if a failure to be prudent could reasonably result in death?
Death predictions aside, the other justification bruited in March of 2020 was that brief lockdowns (two weeks was the number thrown around) would flatten the hospitalization curve. In this case, the taking of freedom allegedly made sense as a way of protecting hospitals from a massive inflow of sick patients that they wouldn’t have been able to handle, and that would have resulted in a public health catastrophe. Such a view similarly vandalizes reason. Think about it.
Really, who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization? Better yet, who needs to be forced to avoid behavior that might result in hospitalization at a time when doctors and hospitals would be so short staffed as to not be able to take care of admitted patients? Translated for those who need it, the dire predictions made twenty-one months ago about the corona-horrors that awaited us didn’t justify the lockdowns; rather they should remind the mildly sentient among us of how cruel and pointless they were.