Reason Roundup

D.C. Weddings Only Permitted If No One Stands or Dances

Plus: Woke CIA ads, Zillow's antitrust woes, and more...

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Continued coronavirus restrictions aren't commensurate to risk. With the COVID-19 vaccine now widely available in the U.S., nearly any adult who wants to protect himself can, while anyone who doesn't get vaccinated is making a choice to face heightened risk. And despite slowing vaccination rates, we're still seeing encouraging signs. For instance, "Los Angeles County public health authorities on Sunday reported no new deaths related to COVID-19," the Los Angeles Times notes, and the single-day infection rate in New York state dropped below 1.5 percent on Saturday. Overall, "42 states and D.C. report[ed] lower caseloads for the past two weeks," The Washington Post reported last Friday.

Yet some authorities continue to impose strict rules on not just public spaces but private events, too.

Take Washington, D.C., which announced last week that "with the increased vaccination of DC residents and essential workers, and continued cooperation with the District's public health measures and guidance, several restrictions may be further loosened this spring." Yet the District's rules remain weird and seemingly arbitrary.

In D.C., up to 250 people may attend weddings "and special non-recurring events" if venues are not at more than 25 percent capacity.

However, wedding guests must remain seated at all times. It doesn't matter if events are indoors or outdoors, if people are vaccinated, if they're wearing masks, or what other individual circumstances pertain—"standing and dancing receptions are not allowed" and "attendees and guests must remain seated and socially distanced from each other or other household groups."

This is just one of many D.C. restrictions that seems to be based on superstition more than science and makes little sense from a public health perspective.

In general, the city forbids private indoor gatherings of more than 10 people and private outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people. Yet it will also allow up to 25 people at a time on guided indoor tours of museums. So, gathering inside a home with a dozen close friends or family members whose vaccination status you know is not OK, but being in close proximity to more than two dozen strangers on a museum tour is?

Meanwhile, up to 250 people (not including staff) are permitted at "regional business meetings and conventions" and up to 500 people at concert and entertainment venues, so long as these spaces are not over 25 percent capacity.

D.C. and other U.S. cities pale in comparison to Canadian craziness right now, however. In Canada, scientists and doctors are preaching that vaccinations are not enough, nor are provinces' partial lockdowns and business restrictions.

"A maximum infection suppression strategy implemented early in the epidemic to reduce COVID cases to as low a level as possible, and then stamp out outbreaks as they arise, would have saved tens of thousands of Canadian lives. This approach, with some modifications, remains the best strategy right now," they write in an open letter published in Maclean's.


FREE MINDS

The CIA is banking on trendy progressive rhetoric to recruit a new generation of spies and snoops: 


FREE MARKETS

Real estate listing site Zillow could face extermination at the hands of an antitrust lawsuit. Politico explains:

Real estate startup REX has asked a federal court to force Zillow and its subsidiary Trulia to stop separating homes for sale into two groups — those listed by brokers who belong to the National Association of Realtors and those listed by others. But contractual restrictions require Zillow to segregate the listings, the company said.

"REX's proposed injunction creates a substantial risk that Zillow's online platforms would lose access to listings data in markets across the country," Zillow said in court documents, adding that that "runs the risk that Zillow could lose access to the data entirely, irreparably damaging its business."


QUICK HITS

• America's forgotten history of supervised opioid injection sites.

• NBC News looks at how new census numbers will affect political representation:

Texas added two seats to bring its number of members to 38 and its electoral vote tally to 40. And five states—Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon—saw smaller gains, all adding one seat each.

And what the census giveth, it also taketh away. On the other side of the ledger seven states each lost one seat and one electoral vote.

• Politicians in the Texas city of Lubbock "voted Saturday to ban abortions within city limits and allow residents to sue abortion providers and anyone else who assists a person obtain abortion services."

• "Despite their professed goals, Democrats' pandemic policies have widened disparities between races, classes, and genders," writes Reason's Matt Welch.

• CVS and Walgreens have let a lot of vaccine doses go to waste:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March, three months into the country's effort to vaccinate the masses against the coronavirus. CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens was responsible for 21 percent, or nearly 128,500 wasted shots combined.

  • Columbus, Ohio, police get a rebuke from a federal judge, whose new order commands them "to stop using force including tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets against nonviolent protesters," NPR reports. "Judge Algenon Marbley of the Southern District of Ohio described the actions of the Columbus police as 'the sad tale of officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok.'"
Reason Roundup Coronavirus Public Health