by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The lockdowns of much of the country were undertaken “to flatten the curve” and largely to prevent the hospital system from being overwhelmed. It was a near-run thing in New York and New Jersey, but the dikes held, thanks to the incredible sacrifices of front-line health-care workers.
Now, the rhetoric around the shutdowns has shifted, and not very subtly — flattening the curve and saving the hospitals are “out,” and not allowing any additional cases to emerge is “in.” …
… “The time needed for the Hammer,” it said, “is weeks, not months.” After that, it predicted, “our lives will go back close to normal.” And it contemplated living in a fuzzy realm of tradeoffs between important goals — or, as it put it, “a dance of measures between getting our lives back on track and spreading the disease, one of the economy vs. health care.”
Such an acknowledgment of the need to strike a balance between the economy and public health is now considered tantamount to murder.
It’s become a trope that pro-opening Republicans want to get people killed. A column in the New York Times was headlined “How Republicans Became the Party of Death.” …
… But the curve has been flattened. As former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb notes, the time of doubling of cases nationally has increased to 25 days. …
… Besides which, people are capable of making their own decisions. They decided to stay at home before the state formally told them to. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the movements of people began declining in mid-March, well before the statewide stay-at-home order.
The reverse is also true. If they are still afraid of the virus, people aren’t going to return to normal whether their states are formally open or not.
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