Special Notice 34


By William J. Dodwell

May 21, 2020

As the nation transitions from lockdown to reopening the economy, one has to question the need and effectiveness of continued social-distancing and masking to contain the spread of the Wuhan virus.  Given the miniscule statistical risk of serious illness or death in the non-vulnerable population, the economic and social costs of these practices far exceed the health risks.  As such, governments may reasonably eliminate these mitigation mandates while protecting the vulnerable elderly population, especially those in nursing homes. What’s more, the novel coronavirus is likely approaching the end of its natural lifecycle, perhaps irrespective of mitigation, as some studies indicate, especially amid warmer weather.                                                    

The cost-benefit calculus

Like sheltering-in-place, the effectiveness of masking has been challenged.  See

https://www-theblaze-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.theblaze.com/news/2020/05/15/former-neurosurgeon-masks-ineffective/amp  In fact, the CDC, the Surgeon General and Dr. Anthony Fauci himself had declared face masks ineffective before reversing themselves later when the politics intensified.

Unlike lockdowns and masking, scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of social-distancing.  But the practice does not stand up to a cost-benefit analysis because the risk to the non-vulnerable population is so low.  The relatively few deaths and serious illnesses that occur without social-distancing do not justify the mandated economic and social sacrifices of reduced capacity in all businesses and public venues.

 Ongoing post-lockdown restrictions imposed on the non-vulnerable population will continue to throttle economic activity and suppress the quality of life unnecessarily.  Also, government mandated social-distancing and masking foster public fear that inhibits a return to normalcy by creating the perception of a disease that is more serious than it is.  The healthy should have the option to resume normal lives with no restrictions. This would contribute to a herd immunity that eventually can ward off future infection without the severe costs of mitigation measures.

The government ruse

Outdoor mitigation protocols and the closing of schools, whose young occupants are at virtually no risk, lack scientific validation.  But that fact flies in the face of the left’s strategy to create the impression that everyone is at serious risk forevermore. That pretext justifies continued government mandates aimed at suppressing the economy in the hope of harming Trump’s reelection chances.  In addition, exaggerating the danger facilitates long-term efforts to expand authoritarian control by which to advance the left’s socialist model. 

Now the left wants to protract mitigation until a vaccine exists.  But that will be no panacea.  Like flu vaccines, half the population won’t get inoculated, and it likely will be ineffective for a substantial portion of those who do. When the vaccine is available the left will doubtless point out this limitation as an excuse to continue mitigation until a cure is discovered, as long as it is not the very promising Trump-endorsed hydroxychloroquine.   

The return to normalcy

Restoring the pre-coronavirus economy requires removing all restrictions while protecting the elderly, in conjunction with their personal responsibility. Universal mitigation is unwarranted given that singular risk group.  Continued mitigation mandates will prolong recovery indefinitely to the long-term detriment of the economy and the quality of life, and to the benefit of the left’s destructive agenda. 

Mass refusal to comply with social-distancing and masking orders, considerably more than seen in reaction to lockdown directives, could be the solution.  Ultimately, political pressure would force government to relent, as it did to ubiquitous civil disobedience during Prohibition.

©2020 William J. Dodwell