Yet more mandates are what we’re getting. With cases of COVID-19 up (though death rates are down), many states are tightening the screws again on economic and social activity. But with growing numbers of people fed up with the frustrations and costs of lockdowns, and pretty much over being told what to do, it’s unlikely that we’ll see even the incomplete compliance that the pre-fatigue early days of the pandemic brought us.

That’s unfortunate, because some measures to combat the pandemic might well be good ideas despite the best efforts of officials to provoke us into defiance with ill-considered commands. Wearing masks, improving hygiene, emphasizing curb-side and delivery services, and increasing social-distancing could help to slow the spread of COVID-19 so that medical facilities aren’t overwhelmed, at least until vaccines and better treatments become available. The unmasked shoppers and diners in downtown Cottonwood effectively demonstrated the mayor’s impotence, but they may not have done themselves any favors.

But I suspect that the days of widespread compliance with do-it-or-else mandates meant to curb COVID-19 are over. Government officials will have to go against their instincts and learn that, instead of commanding, they have to be satisfied with the results of polite requests.