Coronavirus

Lockdown Lawsuits Ask How Long a Public Health Emergency Can Last

An Illinois resident obtained a TRO by citing a 30-day limit, while a New Hampshire hair salon owner says the goal of her state's lockdown has been achieved.

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The longer COVID-19 lockdowns last, Texas Supreme Court Justice James Blacklock suggested last week, the more legally vulnerable they may be. "As more becomes known about the threat and about the less restrictive, more targeted ways to respond to it," Blacklock said, "continued burdens on constitutional liberties may not survive judicial scrutiny."

Lockdown resisters are testing that hypothesis in state courts, arguing that the public health emergencies governors cited when they ordered businesses to close and told people to stay at home no longer exist. An Illinois lawsuit made that case based on a statute that limits the length of a governor's emergency declarations—an argument that last month persuaded a judge to issue a temporary restraining order. A New Hampshire lawsuit filed this week claims new circumstances have eliminated the statutory rationale for that state's lockdown.

Illinois resident Darren Bailey sued Gov. J.B. Pritzker on April 23, noting that his March 20 lockdown order was based on a March 9 COVID-19 disaster declaration. Under the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act, which says such proclamations can last no longer than 30 days, the public health emergency declared by Pritzker would have expired on April 8. But on April 1, Pritzker declared a "continuing public health emergency" and extended his lockdown order until April 30. Three weeks later, Pritzker said he planned to further extend the lockdown.

Contrary to the law, Bailey said, Pritzker is "utilizing the emergency powers for more than 30 days from the declaration of disaster." Instead of respecting that limit, he argued, "Pritzker is issuing redundant proclamations" aimed at "reenergizing the emergency provisions of The Act for the sole purpose of rendering the statutory 30-day limitation placed on his emergency powers meaningless."

In an April 27 ruling, Clay County Circuit Judge Michael McHaney sided with Bailey, issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) that enjoined Pritzker from enforcing his stay-at-home order against Bailey. "Plaintiff has shown he has a clearly ascertainable right in need of immediate protection, namely his liberty interest to be free from Pritzker's executive order of quarantine in his own home," McHaney wrote. "Plaintiff has a reasonable likelihood of succeeding on the merits."

Pritzker asked the Illinois Appellate Court to vacate McHaney's TRO. He also asked the Illinois Supreme Court to intervene, which it declined to do yesterday. But Bailey already had asked the appeals court to vacate the TRO, saying he planned to file an amended lawsuit.

Hair salon owner Mary Rivard is trying a similar approach in New Hampshire, where she sued Gov. Chris Sununu this week. While businesses like Rivard's were allowed to reopen yesterday, she objects to the restrictions imposed on them, which she calls "nonsensical, illogical, and inefficient." Among other things, the new rules ban blow drying, require that customers as well as stylists wear face masks, dictate a 1-to-1 ratio of employees to customers, and mandate that customers be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

Rivard argues that Sununu has achieved the official goal of his lockdown, which aimed to "slow the spread of COVID-19" enough to avoid a hospital crisis. "'Emergency' measures that appeared to be Constitutionally appropriate in March are less appropriate now," her complaint says, "given the wealth of information available that demonstrates New Hampshire's healthcare system never came close to reaching capacity, and the Coronavirus is not as deadly as previously thought."

While that appears to be true, the complaint underestimates the lethality of COVID-19 by describing it as "nothing more than a more serious strain of the flu." The main thrust of Rivard's argument, however, is that stopping the spread of the virus was never a realistic goal, given the lack of a vaccine and the absence of wide immunity, while the more modest goal of preventing a hospital crisis has been reached.

"There is no 'state of emergency' in New Hampshire," the complaint says. "The original need for shutting down the New Hampshire economy no longer exists, and there exists no basis for Governor Sununu's recent orders extending that 'state of emergency' and the resulting shutdown of 'non-essential' businesses….The continuing shutdown is preventing the New Hampshire population from achieving 'herd immunity,' which would ultimately eradicate the virus much more quickly than 'slowing the spread' by forcing the shutdown of businesses and ordering people to stay home. It is also destroying the state's economy."

In Michigan, meanwhile, a 77-year-old barber who defied Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's business closure order will get a chance to challenge the state's claim that he poses "an imminent danger to public health." Shiawassee County Circuit Judge Matthew Stewart yesterday refused to approve a TRO against Karl Manke, who this month reopened his barber shop in Owosso, without a hearing.

Owosso is a small city about 30 miles northeast of Lansing. It is part of Shiawassee County, which has a population of 68,000 and so far has reported 214 COVID-19 cases, including 18 deaths. Manke said he was taking precautions such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing when he is not cutting hair, and sanitizing his tools with ultraviolet light.

"The Court wanted to provide Mr. Manke with an opportunity for a hearing on the request for an injunction, despite the clear public health dangers that continued operation of his business creates," a spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel complained. Manke still faces two misdemeanor charges, each punishable by a $500 fine or up to 90 days in jail, for violating Whitmer's order.

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    1. Tar and feathers on order from Amazon.

  1. Damn shame the coof’s predilection for killing the obese left that fat fuck Pritzker untouched.

    1. Well, it looks like he might have Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome.

    2. If ever there was a face to cast as Napoleon in a live action version of Animal Farm, there it is!

    3. Murder hornets might look upon him as a tasty meal. Besides, I hear he has sworn to stop eating when the Illinois financial crisis is resolved AND a c-virus vaccine has been administered to everyone on the globe.

  2. Sollum, I think you are conflating lethality and mortality. The Lethality of COVID-19 is similar to a bad flu. It however has a higher mortality because it has a larger base of potential hosts.

    1. Yeah I think it’s time for the “libertarians” at Reason to cease with all the caveats and to be sures. A bunch of idiots got scammed by a bunch of TOP MEN and used their bullshit to impose a full blown police state and destroy the economy. There is no excuse for this lunacy.

    2. ^THIS^ is entirely accurate.

      If you were to extend the lethality of the flu to the population without previous immunity and vaccination the flu would be FAR worse than the Wuhan Virus.

    3. Yes, and the symptoms and means of transmission are also similar. If there wasn’t genetic testing for the virus, it would just be a bad flu. Causing 3x more deaths than a typical flu (let’s say for the sake of argument) does not make it something different in kind.

  3. Bingo we have a winner. These emergency declaration laws that allow an executive to extend them indefinitely are most certainly unconstitutional.

    the constitution does not have a SUSPEND THE CONSTITUTION CLAUSE !

    Geez!

    1. It’s called the “I have the fucking guns, and you don’t” clause. It’s been in operation for hundreds of years, all over the world.

      1. I don’t think they have enough guns. That Eastern European dictator moment when you ask “where have the state police gone?”

  4. my favorite IL lockdown moment was when Mayor Lightfoot instructed some noncompliant locals to “go home” after a press conference and promptly got told off

    “you go home”

    1. Were the locals immediately charged with a HATE CRIME?

      1. Both the mayor and the locals are of the same race. I admit I harbor some hatred for the mayor. But not because of her race.

        1. Lightfoot is also part Amerindian. It is the benefit of being multiracial you can always claim racism.

          1. I don’t get that benefit because I am Gaelo-Scando-Germanic, basically I blister if I think about the sun.

            1. Although, my Great-Grandmother was Norse-Saami. So maybe I can claim it after all, I mean the Saami people were pretty much persecuted by the majority Germanic Scandinavians until the 1970s.

          2. Damn. I don’t hate black people but there’s at least one Amerindian I’m not too fond of. It’s rumored that she could be a heartbeat away from the presidency in a few months.

    2. “Lady, this is Chicago. You say the CFR is expected to be 0.8%, we say, ‘Is the Taste of Chicago *this* weekend?’.”

  5. Power is a hell of a drug.

  6. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins believes his Constitution has cheat codes.

    1. My hope is that all the hate mail he is receiving has him and his family locked up tight in the house unable to enjoy life. Reality is that they probably give him a security detail to follow him around the country club on the weekend and keep the ‘whites’ away from him.

  7. Hahah, yeah it’ll last as long as the local and state governments think they can make it last.

    In the meantime, anyone that violates their orders will be punished with jail time, fines, or having their licenses revoked for ‘health code violations’. Or, most probably, some combination of the above.

    And, just for the record, if you’re going to ding a business for a health code violation just for being open you really need to start questioning how useful the health code is.

    1. Threatening a business with an unrelated charge should lead to a charge of extortion.

      1. I mean, they’re related tangentially at least. One can at least make the claim that being open during a pandemic is a health risk, but since it’s 100% a voluntary health risk it’s curious that the state wants to insert themselves into that assessment.

        In cases where a restaurant has a rampant roach infestation in the kitchen, I can see the health department doing good work in letting people know and/or shutting down the place until they aren’t serving roach droppings for food.

        It’s less clear in cases like COVID, where the government is taking the stance that you being open at all is enough to justify shutting down your business for the ‘common good’. They aren’t doing it because your business in particular is being run as a health hazard, it’s just because being open for any business is a health hazard.

        Yet, curiously, I can go to the grocery store and buy food from them and it’s not a health risk.

        It’s actual insanity.

        1. Insane? Yep.

          The state justifies it by using the clearly legal term, “essential”.

        2. I mean, they’re related tangentially at least. One can at least make the claim that being open during a pandemic is a health risk, but since it’s 100% a voluntary health risk it’s curious that the state wants to insert themselves into that assessment.

          In cases where a restaurant has a rampant roach infestation in the kitchen, I can see the health department doing good work in letting people know and/or shutting down the place until they aren’t serving roach droppings for food.

          *Points, mouth agape, and shrieks*

        3. Yet, curiously, I can go to the grocery store and buy food from them and it’s not a health risk.

          I don’t think it’s so much that they don’t think it’s a health risk- they seem to make it clear that they would rather you not be there either. I’m sure most of these dictators would love to shut those down too, force everyone to truly be locked down, and have drones drop your family’s daily ration packets on the front porch every day. However, they know that is untenable for a lot of reasons, both because people would REALLY revolt under a true lockdown and because they simply don’t have a way to actually do that. And food is the one thing where shit can’t go wrong. People have to have it, and will get violent quickly if they don’t, or are afraid they won’t. Thus, in even the most hardcore lockdown jurisdictions, food stores can operate. However, as you allude to, once you face the reality that those HAVE to be open, then the whole house of cards that is the lockdown comes crashing down. Because if people can/do go there, then they really might as well be able to go anywhere. In fact, closing other businesses is counterproductive, because it tends to concentrate people more in the stores that ARE open to do their shopping or just get out of the house. And if your whole point is to keep people spread out…

      2. The FBI, DOJ, and the SCO threatened Flynn with prosecution against his son using unrelated charges without presenting proof. It is all fair game at this point.

  8. One advantage in this fight for rights is that the opposition is afraid to come out of house.

    1. 😎 Except they’re “working” from home.

      1. Maybe not for long. And if we get in actual fight I don’t like their chances.

        1. What, you mean clustering together in highly urbanized enclaves, totally dependent on rural areas for manufacturing and commodities necessary for survival, while simultaneously giving up the means to defend yourself will result in a poor outcome if it ever broke into an actual shooting war? Say it isn’t so.

      2. And, the CCP is helping them!

        1. Everyone say it with me nkw
          “WOLVERIENES!!!”

          1. I like to pretend the remake never happened. Therefore, I don’t get your reference as wasn’t the bad guys the USSR and Cuba in the only real version of Red Dawn?

            1. Who was it in the remake?

              1. I don’t know there is no remake as far as I’m concerned.

                1. Wow making it even less believable Wikipedia says the supposed remake was the North Koreans taking over.

                  1. They actually had to CGI the NK stuff in post-production; it was originally an invasion from China and the studio didn’t want to piss off the chinks.

                    I got both in a box set on sale; Hemsworth is his usual charismatic self, but the rest of the actors were garbage. Even Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who’s normally a decent actor, completely phoned it in. I’m still baffled that protoplaza Josh Hutcherson managed to get the part of Peta in the Hunger Games films. The original more than made the purchase worth it.

  9. How Long a Public Health Emergency Can Last

    “How long ya got?”

    1. Right up until some locals decide to meet you in the public square one spring morning.

  10. I drove from St. Louis to NW Indiana today. Lots of traffic on the road. Damn near a good old fashioned traffic jam going through Gary. I think a whole lot of people are done with being quarantined and Pritzger’s gonna need an army of cops with fire hoses if he wants to stop them.

  11. (J)umbo the B(utt) SitzPritzker may have jetted off to join wifey down in Florida while the rest of the state is under house arrest.

    1. Out to prove that pigs are more equal than the other animals?

      1. I used to use that quote frequently. But, one day had to go back and fact check myself.

        Like Adam, Eve and the apple that wasn’t, the correct term is “animals” not “pigs”.

        As in: “Some animals are more equal than others.”

        “Pig” is not mentioned. Although, it is they who say it. However, neither is bacon…..which sounds quite appealing about now.

        1. Yeah, I pedantically corrected somebody else about the same quote the other day. But my usage here relates to the subtext of the Animal Farm quote and more specifically to the fact that Pritzker looks like a big fat pig.

  12. Here on the left coast, Musk has defied Alameda County and restarted operations in Fremont. They were ordered today, by the county administrator to shut down but they aren’t complying.

    He’s the only one that’s had the balls to question the whole process/procedure in this pandemic.

    He’s threatened to leave CA all together if the county treats them poorly. I hope he does.

    I’ve never fully understood why so many CA private businesses put up with being made punching bags for socialistic pols when they can just pull up stakes, move next door to Nevada where they are welcome and still sell products and services into the CA markets. It’s only a couple of hours drive away. Even the Chevron Richmond Refinery, the one that’s been there for more than 100 years, can rail car and truck their products into CA from Reno and Vegas.

    I think I might just go buy a Tesla after all.

    1. I’m surprised as well, but glad that Musk is taking a stand. Hopefully this starts a domino effect. California and it’s progressive retards are throwing away 150 years of economic development and growth in a single generation.

    2. I hate Musk, but absolutely love what he’s doing right now. Straight up civil disobedience and lots and lots of lawsuits are the only way out of this mess.

      1. I don’t like his cars and don’t really have an opinion on him. That is until today. Now, he is a fucking hero. He really is. Musk stood up when it mattered. So, he is alright by me.

        1. For all his previous grifting off the government teat, he has been fairly good on this. He’s been criticizing the lockdowns from day one.

    3. Eh, I’m sympathetic to his position, but let’s not forget that this dude has been a tax pay piggie for years. If it wasn’t for Cali’s idiotic tax credit on electric car purchases, Tesla would have gone out of business years ago. Musk is only getting pissed off because he’s now having to deal with the rest of the bullshit a lot of other California businesses have put up with for decades.

      Just saw that LA County is extending its lockdown until the end of July. With any luck, we’ll get some riots around the 4th.

      1. This will continue until some Democratic Governors end up with additional holes in their arguably already ventilated heads.

      2. Well, presumably someone was going to be there to take advantage of the silly electric car subsidies. Better him than some boring, compliant standard progressive, I guess.

  13. Just more proof that democrats and other prog lefties are statist authoritarian thugs and deserve to lose. Vote em out in November and get real democracy.

  14. I’m just glad that whenever these people are found to be guilty of blatantly guilty of ignoring the constitution, the money that they have to shell out in the settlement will come directly from the people they imprisoned in their homes. That’ll teach ’em!

  15. Lots of politicians need to lose their jobs in November.

  16. These lockdowns are violating people’s fundemental constitutional rights. The government can do that. But they can only do so when it furthers a compelling government interest and the violation is narrowly tailored to the accomplishment of that interest.

    Yes, public health emergencies are a compelling government interest. And yes stopping the spread of disease is a compelling government interest. Every day, however, it gets harder and harder to argue that this infringement is in any way narrowly tailored to meet that interest or indeed that it is even accomplishing that interest.

    These lockdowns were constitutional as a temporary measure. A couple of weeks or a maybe a month or two. But that is it. Now they are no longer narrowly tailored and are just indiscriminate oppression. The courts need to step in and put a stop to them.

    1. NPR has been really schizophrenic in its coverage the last couple of days. They’ve had stories pushing the StayHome line, but now they’re doing a lot more stuff on the economic fallout–probably because these governors are now begging the Dems to bail out their broke-ass state pension plans.

      There was an interview on there this morning with Chris Murphy where the interviewer point-blank asked him, “What do you tell people who are hurting financially? How long can you keep the economy closed down?” and this was the fuckhead’s response:

      Well, the one thing that will crater the economy permanently is a virus that never goes away. Today, 2,000 people a day are dying. If we have 3,000 or 4,000 people dying a day per – across this country this summer or fall, then there is no amount of economic Band-Aids that will be able to compensate our states for the costs. So we have to get this virus right.

      Look at that shit. Soak it in. There isn’t even a “look, we completely understand that things are really bad right now. We’re working with each other to come up with a plan to get you back to work so you can pay your bills and feed your families. I wish I could give you a timeline, but we have to do it in a safe manner.” Instead, it’s “suck it up, proles, because 2,000 people a day are dying and if we don’t eliminate this virus the economy shouldn’t ever open back up.”

      At this point, most of the Dems are clearly just trying to foment as much economic chaos as possible because they think it will help them in November. As much of a shitbird thing as it was for Polis to shut down that restaurant, he seems to be the only one who’s not going out of his way to antagonize the citizens of Colorado with more lockdown bullshit.

      1. In nearly every country in the world, the log plots of total deaths are going asymptotic. The death rates are all going down. All of this regardless of the protocols employed by each country.

        In the end, the death rates are all gonna converge to the same thing within error bounds. This virus cannot be stopped. It will have to run its course eventually just part of the disease landscape for the rest of history. We just have to deal with it living with the consequences while keeping the economy open and people free.

      2. In 2016, the CDC reported 623,471 abortions.

        623,471 / 52 = 11,989 per week.

        So just a little worse than a constitutional right to ‘choose’.
        Yep, that sounds like a good reason to destroy the economy and constitution.

        What was the citation for the 2k per day figure?

        1. In 2016, the CDC reported 623,471 abortions.

          *Adjusts P0 slider until COVID model death toll reads 2.8M*

      3. Holy shit, that is retarded. A virus that never goes away? You mean like all of the other respiratory viruses ever encountered by humans that have never gone away and we live with just fine today? And that have never before led to a reaction like this? Fuck Chris Murphy,.

    2. John, that is exactly where I am. Here in the People’s Republic of NJ, we have been hit hard by KungFlu. I myself have lost a family member. Our Head Commissar, Phailing Phil Murphy, is a colossal failure. His EOs have lead to the deaths of many in nursing homes.

      Phailing Phil required nursing homes to take discharged hospital patients without testing, and no recourse to reject new residents. These patients brought KungFlu everywhere they went. These deaths are blood on Phailing Phils hands.

      In a just world, Phailing Phil and his phlunkie Judith M. Persichilli (Health Commissar) would be held personally accountable for their actions.

      Our free exercise rights have been trampled upon. This is wrong. We can hold religious services in a socially distant manner.

      1. Just yesterday, I saw some prog smugly asserting that Trump should have forced a lockdown of nursing homes, and was getting nervous “because news is starting to get out now” about how these places were outbreak havens. I’m like, bitch, have you been asleep for the last month and a half? That’s been obvious everywhere the numbers were shown, and you’re just now realizing it?

        I swear, these gaslighters must think everyone else has the attention span of a hummingbird.

        1. While Cuomo Covid bombed the nursing homes in his state. Why does he hate old people?

          1. Because they will die soon and stop paying taxes?

        2. I’m like, bitch, have you been asleep for the last month and a half?

          Month and a half? Nursing homes have been hotbeds of infectious disease and co-morbidity for decades. Probably since inception and a little bit by design. Pritzker likely owes his successful candidacy to an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease at a veteran’s home.

      2. CXY,
        What part of dirty-Jerz are you in? I left Somerset 12 years ago. Finally escaped and never looked back. I have a friend who lives and works up in Suck-ass county, and with the exception of his wife (State employee) working from home, he said their experience up there was a big old nothing burger. People are largely ignoring the SD rules, although the restaurants etc. are not open.

  17. California is basically shutting down for the year. The Gov. of Washington just threatened citizens with mandatory ‘contact tracing’. To date, 964 deaths in that state.

    That little snivelling prick Fauci is going around spreading panic saying retard things like ‘the virus will decide for us’ and people are ‘likely to homeschool in the fall’.

    Up here, Quebec was getting it right and then shifted and slowly going this route. I’m losing faith by the day.

    Tell you what Fauci and all of you peddling this panic if it’s such an existential threat, then put your money where your mouths are and forego YOUR SALARY.

    Let’s go. I’m waiting.

    Thought so.

  18. Open question:
    Why BOTH masks and anti-social distancing?
    Even if I accept that ‘useless’ masks are now magically not only beneficial but required, why don’t they trump (pun intended) the need for anti-social distancing?

    1. Because FYTW.

      I’ve seen postings in the city (NYC) that say wear a mask when you can’t be more than 6ft away. But my Mayor says wear one or else. Yet they wonder why we see mixed messages.

  19. “”While that appears to be true, the complaint underestimates the lethality of COVID-19 by describing it as “nothing more than a more serious strain of the flu.”””

    I know people who were comparing it to the 1918 influenza from the start. Currently, it has not killed as many in the US as the 1968 Hong Kong flu. I think it will eventually surpass that.

    When people criticize the “nothing more than a more serious strain of flu”, they are ignoring how bad the flu really is. I would guess that these are the people who will tell you they have the flu when it’s really a mild ILI.

    1. Currently, it has not killed as many in the US as the 1968 Hong Kong flu. I think it will eventually surpass that.

      When people criticize the “nothing more than a more serious strain of flu”, they are ignoring how bad the flu really is.

      You should re-read what you wrote. They know exactly what a serious strain of the flu looks like and they know what a “catastrophic” strain of the flu looks like. This was never projected to be as “catastrophic” as the 1918 flu.

      I say “catastrophic” because supposedly, our ascent towards “catastrophic” global warming began at the start of the Industrial Revolution and not at the start of when we recovered from the 1918 flu.

      1. This was never projected to be as “catastrophic” as the 1918 flu.

        Realistically, that is.

        Point being, many many people said this was going to be orders of magnitude worse than 1918 and the people saying “nothing more than a serious strain of flu” were, *more correctly*, projecting 1-200K dead, which is a serious strain of the flu.

  20. While that appears to be true, the complaint underestimates the lethality of COVID-19 by describing it as “nothing more than a more serious strain of the flu.”

    We simply still don’t know. Flu deaths and COVID-19 deaths are counted differently. Furthermore, they affect different populations. If you count COVID-19 deaths like you count flu deaths, and/or if you could years of life lost rather than number-of-people-who-died, COVID-19 may well be no more serious than a flu.

    (The linked Reason article is am embarrassment, using cherry picked data and lacking any serious analysis. But it’s the kind of shoddy, unscientific, irrational journalism we have come to expect from Reason and Bailey.)

    1. If we had sufficient testing and tracing and eventually a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, it would be no worse than the common cold! Thus we should do nothing about it and go cough on a bunch of grannies for freedom.

      1. That’s your takeaway? Tony, it’s that kind of stupidity that motivates so much derision towards you.

        Seriously, even I try to give you a little more credit than this. Since sometimes you manage to avoid going full retard.

  21. COVID is probably not much worse than the flu. We’ve all been duped.

  22. Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic

    https://www.aier.org/article/woodstock-occurred-in-the-middle-of-a-pandemic/

    In fact, people have no memory or awareness that the famous Woodstock concert of August 1969 – planned in January during the worse period of death – actually occurred during a deadly American flu pandemic that only peaked globally six months later. There was no thought given to the virus which, like ours today, was dangerous mainly for a non-concert-going demographic. . .

    Stock markets didn’t crash because of the flu. Congress passed no legislation. The Federal Reserve did nothing. Not a single governor acted to enforce social distancing, curve flattening (even though hundreds of thousands of people were hospitalized), or banning of crowds. No mothers were arrested for taking their kids to other homes. No surfers were arrested. No daycares were shut even though there were more infant deaths with this virus than the one we are experiencing now. There were no suicides, no unemployment, no drug overdoses attributable to flu.

    Media covered the pandemic but it never became a big issue.

    As Bojan Pancevski in the Wall Street Journal points out, “In 1968-70, news outlets devoted cursory attention to the virus while training their lenses on other events such as the moon landing and the Vietnam War, and the cultural upheaval of the civil-rights movements, student protests and the sexual revolution.”

    The only actions governments took was to collect data, watch and wait, encourage testing and vaccines, and so on. The medical community took the primary responsibility for disease mitigation, as one might expect. It was widely assumed that diseases require medical not political responses.

    It’s not as if we had governments unwilling to intervene in other matters. We had the Vietnam War, social welfare, public housing, urban renewal, and the rise of Medicare and Medicaid. We had a president swearing to cure all poverty, illiteracy, and disease. Government was as intrusive as it had ever been in history. But for some reason, there was no thought given to shutdowns.

    Which raises the question: why was this different? We will be trying to figure this one out for decades.


    1. Which raises the question: why was this different?

      Was the difference that we have mass media invading our lives with endless notifications blowing up in our pockets? Was there some change in philosophy such that we now think politics is responsible for all existing aspects of life? Was there a political element here in that the media blew this wildly out of proportion as revenge against Trump and his deplorables? Or did our excessive adoration of predictive modelling get out of control to the point that we let a physicist with ridiculous models frighten the world’s governments into violating the human rights of billions of people?

      All of the above. Plus people act as if they are entitled to risk-free lives. Snowflakeism rules.

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