Sunday, March 7, 2021

Lockdowns and COVID-19 - Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?

 There’s been lots of talk about lockdowns lately.  This issue, like masks, has become politically contaminated.  It’s been one of the fascinating lessons of the Pandemic of 2020 – the recognition that issues that would seem to be ‘immune’ to political interference became instead potent partisan weapons.

Consider two rather distinct reactions to the recommendation to don a mask when frolicking about in public.

Citizen #1:  Of course, I will mask up.  This will keep me and others safer.  In a small way, I feel I’m doing my part on the journey to the other side.

Citizen #2:  Mask?  Hell no!  Just more encroachment by the government to rule our lives.  

Similarly, locking down the economy, both here and abroad, has provoked bitter reactions from all sides.

'No mask for this patriot!'

As I have written, I feel awful about the hundreds of thousands of businesses who have closed or are barely hanging on.  I also feel that their plight has not been given the attention it merits from the national press.  We have been regularly informed – as we should be – about the health risks of the virus and the need for all of us to behave responsibly.  But I do not think we have been as fully informed about the economic pain and irrevocable consequences that the nation is enduring.   Additionally, the press tends to villainize political leaders who argue for loosening up on their lockdowns and laud those who call for tight control.  Many businesses who have faced stringent restrictions have been infuriated as other businesses in their communities have been permitted greater latitude for reasons that defy common sense. 

There is a balance between maximizing public health and mitigating economic catastrophe and good people can disagree on where to draw the line.  While I don’t pretend to know how to thread this needle in motion, I do think that both sides deserve consideration and respect.  For example, if hypothetically we were to adopt a total national lockdown, we might stifle the virus much faster but have little to return to afterwards with a nation facing collective bankruptcy.  And the converse is also true.

I also feel that if all of us had uniformly adopted the public health measures advocated by medical experts a year ago, that many lockdowns could have been avoided or have been less onerous  That’s on us.  If folks are packing into bars and clubs at night, what do we expect local and state authorities to do?

Texas and Mississippi have recently opened up their economies in a big way with bravado.  They have been vilified and I share the concern of the critics.  If the COVID-19 cases rise, as many expect, then these political leaders will deserve all the vicious incoming they will receive.  But if no viral surge develops and an economic surge results, will the critics and the press admit they were wrong and celebrate the success?


  1. Why does this have to be such a battle? If one of us wins, we all win. If one of us loses, we all suffer.


  2. Given everything known about coronaviruses, including SARS-COV-2, and its low IFR as compared with seasonal flu, everything the government and medical entities are doing is not supportable or legitimate. The people being hurt is inexcusable.

    Turns out, medical professionals are selling out their medical ethics for BIG money behind Covid:

    Absolutely unforgivable to me. The loss of medical ethics that came with the progressive movement in healthcare is why I left the profession years ago, as did most everyone I respected.