Here we go again: Fear of a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections is on world tour. Naturally, the same “experts” who demanded a global lockdown/shutdown in response to the “first wave” are saddling up for an encore. Their logic, faulty the first time around, is even more so the second.
We shouldn’t, even for a moment, set aside the hideous and lethal immorality of placing hundreds of millions of human beings under de facto house arrest without accusing, let alone convicting, them of any crime whatsoever, or of forcibly grinding much of the economic activity that keeps 8 billion humans alive to a halt. Those were evil and stupid ideas. But at least there was an excuse, however flimsy, to justify the evil and the stupidity.
That excuse was a supposed need to “flatten the curve” of infection — to temporarily slow down the rate of new cases so that hospitals could get enough ICU beds and ventilators in place to handle the case load.
Mission presumably accomplished, and then some. In much of the world, the COVID-19 case load hasn’t come close to taxing bed or ventilator availability, and in places where it did, the virus began to slow down as those availabilities began to catch up.
COVID-19 isn’t gone and never will be, but our sacrifices of liberty theoretically bought us time, which in turn bought us the ability to treat more patients more successfully while we wait for herd immunity, mutations toward weaker strains, or even a vaccine to turn the disease into a rare and/or minor ailment instead of a plague.
Unfortunately the “experts” — or at least the newly empowered and increasingly authoritarian politicians they work for — are moving the goal posts, threatening a return to “lockdown” any time they decide they’re seeing “too many” cases of COVID-19.
The answer to the first lockdown orders should have been a firm, non-negotiable, universal “no.” We each knew (and still know) our own isolation and social distancing needs far better than any politician or “expert” can know everyone’s.
Instead, we gave the politicians the proverbial inch, they took the inevitable mile, and they only gave back a bit of it when they realized we were going to take it back whether they liked it or not.
Now they’re looking for excuses to make us run a marathon with them. And again, the answer we should be giving them is “no.”
Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.