Trump’s Plan to Reopen the Economy is the Right One

Trump’s Plan to Reopen the Economy is the Right One, by Will Chamberlain.

There’s a reason almost every single country in the western world has imposed draconian social distancing: this virus is very contagious, very severe, and, left unchecked, has the potential to break even a very wealthy country’s health care system in short order, as it did in Lombardy.

There are two irreparable defects in the arguments for a broad, universal “re-opening” of the economy. The first is the obvious ethical problem: as Yoram Hazony explained, it’s not clear how Americans could “honor thy father and mother” while flippantly exposing them to a severe disease.

The second defect is the mistaken notion that there is a clear trade-off between public health interventions and the health of the economy. This is flatly wrong: public health interventions do not crush the economy, pandemics do.

During the Spanish Flu, those areas with the most severe outbreaks had the most depressed local economies, and those areas that put in place the most aggressive public health measures saw their economies recover more quickly. The reason is obvious: even in the absence of government diktats, people do not want to go to work, or go out on the town, while a pandemic is spreading uncontrolled. The 81 percent of the public that think social distancing measures need to remain in place aren’t going to turn on a dime and open their wallets until the pandemic is under control.

Those who want a healthy economy should focus on beating the virus.

Some people are under the misapprehension that herd immunity is the only way to defeat a virus, and is therefore inevitable. Not so. There are hundreds of viruses to which we do not have herd immunity, and were only defeated by lockdown, and more recently, biotech. For example, rabies, the black plague, ebola, and HIV.

hat-tip Stephen Neil