Decades of evidence corroborates this. In 1969, a group of men overwintering in Antarctica experienced a spontaneous respiratory virus outbreak during their 17th week of isolation. Similarly, COVID-19 appeared on an Argentinian naval ship on the 35th day of its voyage, following a 14-day isolation of captain and crew.

Nature always finds a way. No respiratory virus ever needed a “lockdown” to dissipate. What it needs is herd immunity, preferably sooner than later, preferably developed by the young and healthy to minimize mortality. Politicians know the disease will eventually leave, yet they strive to convince a critical mass that their actions — modern-day versions of the rain dance — brought about that result. They count on us behaving like renowned psychologist B.F. Skinner’s superstitious pigeons.

“A pigeon is … put into a cage. A food hopper may be swung into place … so that the pigeon can eat from it … If a clock is [set] to present the hopper at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird’s behavior, operant conditioning usually takes place. The bird tends to learn whatever response it is making when the hopper appears. The experiment might be said to demonstrate a sort of superstition. The bird behaves as if there were a causal relation between its behavior and the presentation of food, although such a relation is lacking.”