If we are going to have 60,000 deaths with people not leaving their homes for more than a month, the number of deaths obviously would have been higher—much higher—if everyone had gone about business as usual. We didn’t lock down the country to try to prevent 60,000 deaths; we locked down the country to limit deaths to 60,000 (or whatever the ultimate toll is) from what would have been a number multiples larger.
By Bennett and Leibsohn ’s logic, we could just as easily ask: Why did we expend all that blood and treasure fighting Hitler when he couldn’t even take Britain or conquer Moscow? Why did we adopt tough-on-crime policies, when crime rates are at historic lows? Why did we work so hard to find a treatment for HIV/AIDs, when so many of the people with the disease now have normal life expectancies?
Of course, it was precisely the actions we took that caused those welcome outcomes.