On COVID, there should have been more Floridas

The basic logic behind this formula is simple. Because highly contagious viruses are, well, highly contagious, lockdowns are of questionable value in suppressing transmission, but they do most certainly cause or aggravate a number of human deprivations, including loneliness, depression, anxiety, abuse, addiction, untreated illness, and severe economic dislocation.

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In other words, the “juice” you get with lockdowns — the viral suppression — isn’t likely to be worth the squeeze. That’s why the 2006 paper concludes by stating as an “overriding principle” that “communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”

The response to Covid-19 over the last two years has validated that principle. Most jurisdictions imposed prolonged and severe lockdowns, but some did not; and comparing the disease curves of the ones that did with the ones that didn’t never showed any clear connection between the lockdowns and suppression of serious illness and death. Nor is there any correlation now, among the 50 states, between the severity of lockdowns and the number of Covid deaths per million.

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