End the Lockdowns – Now

Lockdowns cover just about all of America (see here). The time to end them is now. Another easily communicated date is Sunday, April 12, which is Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus is a fit date to resurrect normal American life.

We know how to prevent getting this contagious disease. We know enough to avoid intimate contact with people who spread it by coughing and touching. We know enough to wash out hands thoroughly and not be touching our faces. We know who of us is most at risk due to age or prior medical conditions. We know the symptoms. We know enough to take precautions such as face masks. If all of us do not yet know these matters, it’s past time for an ad campaign that spells out these kinds of things.

We must get on with life, and that includes the manifold activities of our social and business lives. To do otherwise is to invite all sorts of downsides and negative consequences, many that currently are not that visible to us but lie in wait nonetheless.

We certainly will find it impossible to wait for some arbitrary date in the future when some bureaucrat tells us there are no new cases or the risk is low or a vaccine has been made or whatever some lawmaker thinks is an appropriate time to let everyone out of their cages.

Voluntary means and methods can and will suffice to blunt the edge of the spread of this particular virus-borne illness. We need the lockdown craze to come to a halt right away. The longer these restrictions stay in place, the greater are their costs.

Stay at home orders cannot be enforced indefinitely. They will appear to be obeyed for awhile, because people will cooperate up to a point. But there comes a point where what seems to be not essential in some minds is regarded as essential in the minds of others. Nothing but trouble and conflict is going to result from these kinds of disagreements and frictions.

This is a time for optimism, not pessimism. This is a time for advancing and not be cowering in our caves or hunkering down. This virus is a bad thing. It is costing human lives and years, and these human losses are highly regrettable. But we still need to go on. We still need to keep our perspective. There are many diseases out there and many causes of death, and this virus is not the worst of them or the worst of what we human beings can do to each other and have done.

There has been an enormous and undue over-reaction from governments in the form of blanket lockdowns, when what was needed, among other things, was an educational campaign of how each one of us could and should handle the risk of infection.

There are reasons in the nature of the case why panic was generated. There was great uncertainty about this virus and its origin. It emerged suddenly and unexpectedly. There was no known cure. It struck some well-known people, which seemed to advertise its power. It could bring death within days. Its mortality rate was over-estimated. Data were lacking. It had hot spots that frightened people. There had been for years warnings and movies with pandemics as their theme. The thought of a mystery ailment spreading out of the mysterious, hidden and foreign East itself was a source of fright.

On top of these factors came the reactions of our officials, which could form a case study all their own. And alongside of it all came a major stock market panic.

Sociologists and psychologists will have a field day examining this case in the future.

But it’s time for the headlines to cool off. It’s time to stop the lockdowns now.

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3:58 pm on April 4, 2020