What Happened to the Public Health Emergency?

People who were insisting that public gatherings, even for funerals, were grave, completely unacceptable threats to public health that must be harshly suppressed are supporting public protests over racism.


Remember when all the politicians and talking heads were telling us we had to listen to the allegedly unanimous opinion of public health experts that nothing, literally NOTHING, was more important that social distancing to prevent the spread of Coronavirus? And that anyone who raised objections to the scope or persistence of lockdowns was a misanthropic, anti-science troglodyte. That was yesterday. Today, protesting against racism is more important.

I agree that it's important (regardless of whether the particular incident of excessive use of force by police in question was a product of racism or just race-neutral police brutality). I also think that putting 30% of the public out of work is important, indeed more important, especially given that racism is a persistent issue that will create plenty of protest opportunities, whereas destroying millions of people's livelihoods was immediate with the lockdown.

Some of my social media friends have been insisting for some time that many of the hardcore lockdown/social distancing advocates were less concerned about public health and more about imposing their own value system against what they considered an unenlightened public, and some subset of those people actually welcomed the lockdown because they prefer people to live on the government dole that to allow "capitalist exploitation." I'm not, to say the least, a big fan of the political and public health establishment, but I nevertheless thought this was too cynical, and I did (and still do) think that many aspects of the lockdown were justified by public health needs.

Yet today we see Mayor DeBlasio arguing that protesting racism is more important than being banned from attending religious services indefinitely, and Governor Murphy of New Jersey stating that protests against racism may flout social distancing rules, but he's going to continue to enforce them against lockdown opponents.

Worse yet, Slate reports that:

Facing a slew of media requests asking about how protests might be a risk for COVID-19 transmission, a group of infectious disease experts at the University of Washington, with input from other colleagues, drafted a collective response. In an open letter published Sunday, they write that "protests against systemic racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported."… By Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,000 epidemiologists, doctors, social workers, medical students, and other health experts had signed the letter.

So much for the "expert public health community."

I don't think anyone who knows me would describe me as at all credulous, but I think I need to get even more cynical.

A final thought: For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion, and they don't want the Covid crisis to interfere with an important anti-racism ritual, protest. But when it comes to accommodating actual religion, like having a religious quorum at a funeral? Feh, that's not important.

(Cross-posted from Instapundit, with a few minor changes and additions.)

UPDATE: Just a few days ago, Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves, was literally accusing President Trump of "genocide" for not taking stronger measure to contain Covid-19. Today, he signed the "protests against racism are more important than stopping the spread of Covid-19" letter.

NEXT: Who will write the remaining major Supreme Court decisions?

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  1. The police should arrest people not for protesting but for getting too close to each other!

    1. That’d work….

  2. Racism is a virus worse than COVID-19.

    1. Even if we accepted the metaphor, fact is that short-term social distancing can actually largely defeat the virus. You’d have to be quite the Pangloss to believe that short-term social protest is going to largely defeat racism. And of course many religious people will think that missing out on many short-term opportunities for prayer will have all sorts of negative social consequences, and while DeBlasio obviously disagrees on the relative merits of protest vs. prayer, the Constitution denies him the power to enforce his opinion and allow people to gather to protest but not pray.

      1. DeBlasio is a criminal failure at protecting his city. His rantings are not worth listening to.

      2. The notion is pretty fanciful that any conceivable public policy choice would actually suppress these protests sufficiently to restore social distancing. I wish that were possible. The protests scare me, for the effect they are likely to have on how long I have to stay home. But a serious government attempt to suppress these protests would likely strengthen them instead.

        1. But of course that sigh of acceptance does not extend to the lock down protests. Those we must suppress as harshly as possible.

          1. ow harshly are the lockdown protests being suppressed? I haven’t read about anyone using tear gas, for example, to let a governor cross the street.

            1. People were being arrested for the lockdown protests.

              1. People are being arrested for these protests as well. And not just the violent ones.

                1. If you believe the gaslighting from the media, there weren’t any violent ones, the buildings burned themselves.

                  They’re even trying to tell us that the riot that took place in Trump’s path to that church was a peaceful protest. You know, with people peacefully throwing bricks and caustic liquids, the usual peaceful protest activities. How do people even have bricks and caustic liquids on hand for a peaceful protest?

                  We’ve reached the point where the only light many media outlets are shining on this situation IS gaslight.

                  1. Brett…it’s on tape. Multiple tapes. All peaceful.

                    Keep trying, buddy.

                  2. Just about in any protest in US history, against wars, the rigged economic system, or racism, the shadow government has infiltrates a trained goon squad into the protests and these moles are the ones who incite or start the violence. The strategy is to paint the protesters as violent, iligitimate, unlawful gangs who should be arrested and put in jail, thus neutralizing, diminishing and immediately putting out of mind, the injustice and systemic looting of regular citizens by the wall street oligarchs and their complicit government. The strategy is very effective and works all the time. No one respects looting, stealing and burning, not even black people.

                    1. Plagiarist! That paragraph is lifted verbatim from page 23 of the famous children’s book “Simple Answers for Simple Minds”, by Alex Jones. As Jones notes in the introduction, “Stuff is hard to understand. But conspiracy theories can explain it all without much fuss and book larnin’.”

          2. Á àß — Not as harshly as possible. I suppose we should all hope that tear gas will kill coronavirus, and thus ward off increased contagion. But even if that happy prospect comes to pass, we still should not suggest use of tear gas in churches.

        2. Depends how strong it is.

          I suggest facial ID-ing, followed by a $5,000 fine

    2. Oh, come off of it! Protection against the Covid-19 virus, imho, is far more important than risking one’s life and health attending large protests, where many people refuse to wear masks and to social distance. They not only put themselves at risk, but they put others at risk also.

  3. “People who were insisting that public gatherings, even for funerals, were grave, completely unacceptable threats to public health that must be harshly suppressed are supporting public protests over racism.”

    So the only conclusion is that “those people” are racist?

  4. “So much for the “expert public health community.””

    To be fair, it was signed by “social workers, medical students” who are not experts in anything.

    1. I have the letter in front of me, and while many of the signators have dubious public health credential, there are quite a few MDs (including infectious disease specalists), Phds in relevant fields, MPHs, and others who can reasonably claim to have at least some relevant expertise.

      1. Are they experts in weighing the importance of which items to forbid for otherwise similar behaviors?

        As of last night, at least 11 have been killed in the protests. Add to this those who will die from virus spread, and subtract the number who won’t die because of improvements to police policies.

        Of all the variables, the virus will dominate >> over the others put together. Ergo if some MD expert decides protests are worth it, but funerals and church are not, he or she is full of it.

        Didn’t think so.

        1. For the record, all should be allowed. But that’s not the result the standard sides want to take.

        2. So, basically, people are going to die from something, we can’t make life perfect and government sucks at making choices for people so people should be allowed to make choices for themselves as long as they don’t mess with other people’s choices.

      2. Have you considered the possibility that the signatories actually believe that COVID-19 is as deadly as they’ve been claiming all along, but they’re closet eugenicists who want the protestors to die like flies?

        Just a thought…


        1. Except that the virus isn’t deadly enough to cause them to die like flies. There are less than 400,000 deaths workwide as of today out of over 7 billion people. That’s not exactly dropping like flies.

  5. In two weeks or less we’ll see the spike in covid-cases. And from that we’ll estimate the number of deaths caused.

    Of course, activism is more important than public health with police state enforcement.

    1. Less. I’m already seeing a spike in the 1week averages (Source is JHU’s COVID data (link below). It gives a locality breakdown, so we’ll even be able to tell which cities are hurting more from this.


      1. These “spikes” (and they are really not all that much anyway) are due to increased testing – as predicted, expected and nothing to do with the riots or “opening” up (and as a practical matter it was never closed to begin with). The virus is widespread – everywhere and has been for a while – as far back as November – worldwide. The most susceptible, for the most part, have already succumbed to it – peaking in mid-April, and hospitalizations and death rates are dropping regardless of new case “spikes”. If ye test – ye will find and ye will pad the numbers. Case counts make a great political weapon.

        Now, a couple of new studies imply the virus has weakened or is in the process of doing so (respiratory disease virology 101) – and you will see more of these if not decried and suppressed by the media and medical top men.

        On top of it, large numbers were already exposed and developed antibodies with little to no symptoms or already have some bit of cross immunity from other coronavirus expose. Not so damn “novel” after all.

    2. Unfortunately, the spike in COVID cases will be called the “second wave” and blamed on states opening too early, Republicans protesting the closures, and racism (because the virus will disproportionately hit black communities)

    3. But when we see the spike, people will blame those idiot rednecks who insisted on going out to bars and salons. You won’t get any blame on the protests that were far larger gatherings and more likely to cause spread.

  6. Some people are more equal than others….

  7. Awesome. Prof. Bernstein is going off of Amos’s talking points now.

    I’m hearing plenty of stories about the upcoming COVID spike. I think this is less ‘I suddenly don’t care’ and more ‘pebbles don’t get a lot of say in an avalanche.’

    Dealing with violence, property damage, and, uh, ‘dominating the streets’ are being prioritized.

    1. “I think this is less..”
      I don’t understand what you are trying to say with that lien.

      1. That was “line” not “Lien”

        1. Well, tbf, this is occasionally supposed to be a law blog…

          1. Ah… then I used the right line. Than you for pointing that out.

      2. Replace less with ‘not’.

        So it’s not the double standard Prof. Bernstein is positing, it is the pebbles thing.

        1. What about Bam-Bam and Dino?

          1. Everyone always forgets Baby Puss

    2. Sarcastr0….It is a travesty that I cannot say Kaddish for a family member who died from Covid-19 in the month of APRIL. But I can go yell my ass off in a protest?


      1. Commenter_XY, it is not a travesty, it is a political reality. There does not appear to be any policy choice to be made. No policy available to suppress the protests would likely do anything but redouble them. Whatever evils they bring—and I expect plenty—would redouble with them.

        1. Might makes right?

          Let me see if I follow the logic: If we orthodox go wilding we can say Kaddish?

          1. Yes, the Haradim should storm Gracie Mansion and hold services in its ruins. Six feet apart of course.

            1. No, burn Gracie Mansion flat and then state that they intended to have their Kaddish and hope that they could do so “nonviolently.”

          2. Perhaps.

            It would be better if political leaders acknowledged the practical reality that they can’t stop the Floyd protests while also emphasizing the danger and that they prefer for them to wait until after that danger has sufficiently subsided.

        2. “No policy available to suppress the protests would likely do anything but redouble them.”

          That is not consistent with history. Military deployment is often a successful tool, especially with disciplined regular troops. Se 1992 LA riots for an example.

          The 2020 national guard is also totally different than the 1968 national guard. Much more professional, trained and experienced.

          You don’t want the protests suppressed because you perceive political benefits from them.

          1. Bob, these are terrorists engaged in an asymmetric war — and need to be dealt with as such.

        3. Stephen — what you are saying is that violence works.

          What happens when armed Jews decide to go say Kaddish while squeezing off random rounds? That’s what’s going to happen when the middle ceases to hold.

          What happens when the current one-sided race war becomes a two-sided race war? Ever think about that?!?

      2. Yes. He believes that prayer can be solitary, should be, must be, because he knows more than you.

        1. I said prayer has solitary modalities

          Your need for outrage has interfered with your reading skills. Again.

      3. “Sarcastr0….It is a travesty that I cannot say Kaddish for a family member who died from Covid-19 in the month of APRIL. But I can go yell my ass off in a protest?”

        The babylon bee has the solution.

        “Clever Churchgoers Avoid Arrest By Disguising Themselves As Rioters”

      4. My point is not about the advisability of your locality’s social distancing orders.

        It is specifically that the double standard that Prof. Bernstein is positing is not supported.

        1. Really Sarcastr0? You don’t think there is a double standard? I beg to differ.

          In NJ, the free exercise of religion has been suspended for over two months for groups of 10 or more. In fact, prayer groups are forcibly dispersed. You see, the risk is just too great. That is what we are told. We cannot attend weddings or funerals. And BTW, that restriction is indoors and outdoor.

          OTOH, if I am outraged at the death of George Lloyd at the hands of this murdering cop Chauvin, it is perfectly fine for me to exercise my 1A rights of peaceful protest with thousands of other people here in NJ. That risk….well I guess not so much, even though there are hundreds of people congregated together.

          No double standard Sarcastr0…sorry guy, that one doesn’t fly. There is a double standard and it is completely wrong.

          1. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you expect honest discourse from him.

            1. No, that has not been my experience. Sarcastr0 has a different lens he looks at things than I do. I’m good with that. He argues his point, and occasionally lives up to the ‘sarcastic’ aspect of his name.

              I just ignore the fact he is a lawyer. Heh heh. 🙂

              And on occasion, Sarcastr0 makes a comment that makes me laugh so hard that my sides hurt. A lot of the posters here do. They’re hilarious, JesseAZ. I sometimes wonder if they make those comments in court.

              1. Ain’t a lawyer anymore, Commenter, so never fear! I’m a bureaucrat…And thank you for the vote of confidence. Jesse’s got a thing for me; take that as you will.

                It seems to me that more than prayer groups have been dispersed. I don’t think any governors are super thrilled about the unrest either. But the reality is that it has a critical mass that prayer groups and the anti-lockdown protests did not. And I think it’s a quite clear that this must be weathered and a crackdown would be counterproductive, no matter how much Trump might rattle-sabers.
                Do you disagree?

                Now, there is a decent policy argument – eloquently illustrated by your clear anguish – that religious community should have a relaxed standard – but I continue to not see evidence of specific targeting or a double standard.

                1. “Ain’t a lawyer anymore, Commenter, so never fear! I’m a bureaucrat…”

                  My goodness. That is even worse.

                  1. That’s the joke.

                2. Sarcastr0…I agree that the looting and rioting must end, using whatever force necessary, including lethal means. We probably disagree on using lethal means, though. Looting and rioting are incompatible with civilized society.

                  My take on this is quite simple: The primary function of government is to protect our life, liberty and property. If they cannot do these three things, why have a government?

                  We have to agree to disagree on the free exercise question. I see an appalling double standard. And besides, our rights to worship are specifically enumerated. Tell me why the suppression of these rights is not subject to strict scrutiny. Seriously, if we orthodox just go ‘wilding’ [well, our version of wilding, which probably would look like Shavuot as we go wildingdance around the Torah scrolls] in Cherry Hill, we get to congregate in minyans – with police protection to boot? That has to be the most f’ed up logic I have ever heard. But this is the People’s Progressive Republic of NJ.

                  1. I may be the outlier between the two of us, Commenter – I’m really pretty extreme in how sacred I find human life, even among my fellow liberals. Governments using lethal means in the modern day should be in response to existential threats, not marginal ones.

                    The issue with respect to faith is a practical one. America has faiths of such ubiquity and variety that requiring strict scrutiny for not making an accommodation is just not workable; there would be too many. And as Scalia has noted, it does not appear to have been the Founders intent.

                    Is it *fair* that violence gets attention and accommodation? It is not. Reminds me of when I figured out that a-holes got a lot of free stuff to calm them down that I did not.

              2. You are clearly an Oldie. Back even before the WaPo days, when you had avatars on the blog, Sarcastr0 had a picture of Fidel. He would normally comment only by posting devastatingly sarcastic one-liners.

                I miss the old days.

                1. You are clearly NOT an oldie, dagmuddit.

                2. That sounds like I hate Sarcastr0. Quite the contrary. He’s one of the few substantive commentators left. And besides, us Southern boys gotta stick together.

                  I just liked Old Sarcastr0’s style, his verve, his joie de vivre, his etc. Bureaucrat Sarcastr0’s ok, too, though.

                  1. ::thumbs up::

                    Yeah, we age no matter how hard we may try.

      5. While I certainly sympathize, may I also suggest that, under the circumstances, you will be forgiven for saying Kaddish without a minyan.

        As we’ve discussed previously, to endanger your life, and that of others, to fulfill some requirements is not just discouraged, but prohibited.

        I think this principle is actually very wise.

        1. I know you mean well bernard11. Thank you.

  8. What do you think the Venn diagram looks like of people who (a) agree with statements like those of Gov. Murphy about the vital importance of purported racial justice and the comparative unimportance of the economic interests of mere “nail salon owners,” and (b) six months ago were nodding along vigorously with an article decrying the precarious economic lives many Americans lead (“one car breakdown away from homelessness” and such)? It’s just astonishing that some in the public health establishment have switched sides on the importance of social distancing so suddenly. I think the damage to public trust in scientific expertise caused by this will be catastrophic, and perhaps justifiably so.

  9. So much for the “expert public health community.”

    Is it possible that the expert public health community is not monolithic in its views what does or does not justify violating the lockdown/distancing rules?

    Anyway, it’s not as if no one in the community you so freely sneer at, scare quotes and all, has expressed concern over this.

    As for your social media friends, maybe it’s time to get some new ones.

    1. This letter is an embarrassment to the profession.


      It is a judgement on these people’s personal value OVER the professional judgement. There is ZERO doubt that these close-packed protests act a a mass transmission event for the corona virus. That epidemiologists who signed this are supporting the mass transmission event is…. an embarrassment to their profession, and basically destroys their professional opinion.

      1. The “good thing” is that the claims – one side ar the other – will be falsifiable by the ground truth. We just have to wait a couple of weeks.

        I’d look most carefully at CA data as the state is starting to enter a phase of non-linear growth of contagion. NY may have burned out its most susceptible population; so a spike not be as dramatic.

        1. New York State’s total cases to date is ~373k (source JHU) and had been down to 1300 new cases per day. New York city has substantially more people than that, so I doubt it’s burned out. CA has been running about 2500 cases per day recently (it’s been steadily increasing) so we’ll see how things go. Note: the JHU data includes a breakdown to the Locality level, so you can isolate the Cities in the data.


          1. Billy you missed the operative words. “Most susceptible”
            These are the folks with many contacts per Ro.. NYC burned through many of those in the first month.

            1. Also notice hospitalizations and deaths are dropping. Worst of it burned through in mid-April, pretty musch everywhere. It’s essentially over – there’s no “second wave”.

      2. Even so, I think the criticism should be directed at the individuals, rather than the entire profession.

        1. Would you support revoking their professional credentials over this letter? Or suspending them, for say, five years?

          1. No.

            Would you support disbarring a lawyer who said something foolish?

            1. “Would you support disbarring a lawyer who said something foolish”

              Depends on the context. Is the context that the lawyer was saying something in their professional capacity that was being used as a judgement on which thousands of lives would hinge? And you later found out that what the lawyer said ACTUALLY was entirely dependent on his personal beliefs, and their actual professional judgement was being disregarded?

              Then yes, I might support disbarring them.

              Because that is the situation that has been made.

    2. You mean …. (gasp) … the science is NOT settled?

      1. The “science” is apparently subject to the personal beliefs of the “scientist…” And they will willingly override the science with their personal beliefs and feelings when they want.

        1. Nobody is overriding science. The letter represents a policy judgment – one that I happen to disagree with, BTW – but it doesn’t claim that the science was wrong.

          Staying at home, social distancing, and public masking are effective at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. To the extent possible, we support the application of these public health best practices during demonstrations that call attention to the pervasive lethal force of white supremacy. However, as public health advocates, we do not condemn these gatherings as risky for COVID-19 transmission. We support them as vital
          to the national public health and to the threatened health specifically of Black people in the United States. We
          can show that support by facilitating safest protesting practices without detracting from demonstrators’ ability to gather and demand change. This should not be confused with a permissive stance on all gatherings, particularly protests against stay-home orders. Those actions not only oppose public health interventions, but are also rooted in white nationalism and run contrary to respect for Black lives. Protests against systemic
          racism, which fosters the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on Black communities and also perpetuates police violence, must be supported.
          Therefore, we propose the following guidance to support public health:
          ● Support local and state governments in upholding the right to protest and allow protesters to gather.
          ● Do not disband protests under the guise of maintaining public health for COVID-19 restrictions.

          ● Advocate that protesters not be arrested or held in confined spaces, including jails or police vans, which
          are some of the highest-risk areas for COVID-19 transmission.

          ● Oppose any use of tear gas, smoke, or other respiratory irritants, which could increase risk for COVID-
          19 by making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection, exacerbating existing inflammation,

          and inducing coughing.
          ● Demand that law enforcement officials also respect infection prevention recommendations by
          maintaining distance from protesters and wearing masks.
          ● Reject messaging that face coverings are motivated by concealment and instead celebrate face
          coverings as protective of the public’s health in the context of COVID-19.
          ● Prepare for an increased number of infections in the days following a protest. Provide increased access
          to testing and care for people in the affected communities, especially when they or their family
          members put themselves at risk by attending protests.
          ● Support the health of protesters by encouraging the following:
          ○ Use of face coverings.
          ○ Distance of at least 6 feet between protesters, where possible.
          ○ Demonstrating consistently alongside close contacts and moving together as a group, rather
          than extensively intermingling with multiple groups.
          ○ Staying at home when sick, and using other platforms to oppose racism for high-risk individuals,
          and those unable or uncomfortable to attend in person.

          ● Encourage allies who may wish to facilitate safe demonstrations through the following:
          ○ Providing masks, hand-washing stations, or hand sanitizer to demonstrators.
          ○ Providing eye protection, such as face shields or goggles, for protection against COVID-19 and
          chemical irritants used to disperse crowds.
          ○ Bringing wrapped, single-serving food or beverages to sustain people protesting.
          ○ Providing chalk markings or other designations to encourage appropriate distancing between
          ○ Supplying ropes, which can be knotted at 6-foot intervals, to allow people to march together
          while maintaining spacing.
          ○ Donating to bail funds for protesters
          ● Listen, and prioritize the needs of Black people as expressed by Black voices.
          These are strategies for harm reduction. It is our sincere hope that all participants will be able to follow these
          suggestions for safer public demonstrations, assisted by allies where possible and necessary, but we
          recognize that this may not always be the case. Even so, we continue to support demonstrators who are
          tackling the paramount public health problem of pervasive racism. We express solidarity and gratitude toward demonstrators who have already taken on enormous personal risk to advocate for their own health, the health of their communities, and the public health of the United States. We pledge our services as allies who share this goal.

          1. A “policy judgement”…based on an assessment of risks as according to their scientific judgement.

            It’s amazing how their assessment of the medical and epidemiological risks changes as according to the type of protest.

          2. They lost me at the pervasive leather force of white supremacy.

            1. Not sure about the leather, but no edit button available.

    3. It is weird you seek justification to violate lockdown orders but dont ask for justification of lock down orders. Wait, it isnt weird but consistent.

      1. I have no idea WTF your point is, as usual, probably because it’s stupid beyond belief.

  10. Thousands of Americans were forced to languish alone for weeks and die alone, with their family members prevented from seeing them in the hospital under this farcical debacle.

    A family friend died “from COVID” but it was a direct result of the blood thinner medication given to covid patients which led to internal bleeding. There is little doubt that this person’s final weeks would have been different if their children and spouse were not prevented from being there. Quite possibly, the end result may have been different with this person being mild-mannered and soft-spoken and having no family there as their advocate.

  11. “but I think I need to get even more cynical.”

    Absolutely. The egregious idiocy, mendacity and foolishness of our institutional establishments knows almost no bounds.

  12. Unlike lawyers, who have infinite time to work out what happened after the fact, public leaders have to solve problems in real tome. Often, the only choice is the lesser of two or more evils.

    The fact that they pick what they perceive at the time as the lesser evil over the greater evil does not prove that they don’t care at all about the lesser evil.

    1. Just as they are more susceptible to public pressure even if it oes not “follow the science.”

    2. Fine, but op-ed columnists have plenty of time to work out their thoughts. But I don’t see all the preachy scolding that I saw about those who protested the shutdowns.

  13. [irony alert] We just need to shut up and let our rulers decide what is best for us. I am waiting for my phone to sound off with the ALERT telling me that the 10:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew applies for tonight. I wonder if it will ever let up.
    I live in Columbus, Ohio. We have had a Democratic mayor since 2001. We have had absolute domination of the seven member city council since the 80s. I think the last time there was a single GOP member on the city council was in the late 90s. So why are the progressives so angry with the police? Why is the CPD herding people into confined areas and then gassing them? The city leaders mouth progressive sayings, but they rule like the caricature of GOP fat cats that they villainize.

    1. Off topic, but that sounds like great democracy. An entire city council made up of just a single party, that’s some Soviet Russia sh*t right there. And I know Republican-only councils exist as well in other parts of the country. Maybe have a look at a different election system?

  14. The current violence is largely an unintended consequence of the lockdowns. Cops have been murdering people forever without this level of response. This is one problem with the “just to what the epidemiologists say” approach. How could they have predicted something like this?

    And, I’d point out, police use of force tactics are developed by the finest experts in policing, and qualified immunity and the scared cop rule were created by experts in judging.

    1. Well, experts in something allright.

  15. He’s always had some spicy posts, but watching Prof. Bernstein further Trumpianize over this past year has been quite a ride.

    See his twitter for a more unfiltered trajectory.

    Where will it end?

    1. Really? I just unfollowed him on twitter for being a proto-never Trumper “c’mon guys” squish. His posts here are thoughtful enough, his twitter, well, the medium promotes foolish rhetoric and I will leave it at that.

    2. Hundreds of public health experts, whose grasp on the public trust was already tenuous, have just done a complete 180 on the importance of social distancing to promote a political cause they favor. The Mayor of New York explained that protesting racism is much more important than people not being able to go to church, synagogue, mosque, etc. for months. But yeah, Trumpianism is the underlying problem.

      1. Orange man bad, opinions I disagree with are bad, ergo disagreeing with me is supporting Trump.

      2. They’re an embarrassment to the profession.

        The rational consideration would be to revoke their professional certifications. Or at least suspend them for five years.

      3. Yeah, those guys seem dumb.

        Your generalization is just partisanship though.

        1. Why are you allowed to say they “seem dumb”? They’re experts in the field, aren’t they? Aren’t we supposed to TRUST their professional judgement here, because they’re experts? Why don’t you trust their “Science”?

          1. Their thesis isn’t a scientific one. This isn’t hard.

            1. Really? How so?

              When they said “people shouldn’t be allowed to go to church, due to the risks of the corona virus” was that a scientific judgement?

              When they said (essentially) “Despite the corona virus, the BLM protests should be supported and allowed” was that a scientific judgement?

              Are they making any scientific judgements here? Which ones?

              1. When they said “people shouldn’t be allowed to go to church, due to the risks of the corona virus” was that a scientific judgement?

                They didn’t say that. They just noted the risks. Politicians – policymakers – said that.

                Are they making any scientific judgements here?
                June.4.2020 at 7:04 am
                Their thesis isn’t a scientific one. This isn’t hard.]

                Still not hard.

    3. Presumably it will end with Bernstein denouncing Trump as a Dem shill because he refused to send in the army to shoot at all those black people.

    4. >Trumpianize

      One of these days, your knees are going to jerk so hard that you kick yourself in the face.


  16. “For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion”

    Liberals treat anti-racism like a religion.

    Conservatives appease and embrace bigotry and bigots.

    It is not difficult to predict the continuing course of American progress as our electorate improves (spoiler: conservatives get stomped).

    1. anti-racism really should be “anti-racism,” because there is usually no consistent opposition to any coherent understanding of racism, just an attempt to fit preexisting political views into a an “anti-racism” framework. Thus, one may be told that refusing to go to a gay rights festival in Tel Aviv is “anti-racism.”

      1. …and one may also be told that refusing to go to a gay rights festival in Tel Aviv is racism. (But I have no idea who would suggest such a thing.)

  17. I used to have some faith, no matter how small, that government could possibly do some things competently. But over the years I have seen so much incompetence, from Vietnam and Apollo to today’s CDC and lock downs, that I now no longer believe government is competent at anything — except violence, and even that is so poorly targeted that it doesn’t provide even as useful an incentive for changing people’s habits as the Mafia’s violence does.

    I therefore judge Prof Bernstein must be younger than me 🙂

    1. There are some governments in the world where the competent outnumber the incompetent. Singapore and Switzerland, for example. Don’t think I could name any others, though.


  18. “For many of the left, anti-racism is basically a religion”

    Is it just a coincidence that I linked the McWhorter video in the other thread yesterday?

    1. I didn’t watch it, so I guess so.

  19. In general, the protests are good to glorious. The protesters occupy the moral high ground. Progress is needed and work for change is required in that context. This is how American progress is forged.

    Using the protests to cover looting and vandalism is bad. The looters and vandals should be stopped. The protesters should not be stopped. Distinguishing admirable protesters from dishonorable criminals is the responsibility of the authorities. The cost of any inability of the authorities to perform that task should not be assigned to lawful protesters.

    The protests are bad when and to the extent they involve dangerous conduct during a pandemic. Masks, distancing, and the like should be encouraged by organizers, protesters, and authorities (who should be supporting the protesters rather than antagonizing them). Had authorities — elected officials, police — acted earlier to develop productive relationships with the protesters, that might have overcome the protesters’ natural opposition to police in the context of protests of abusive and bigoted policing, creating conditions that would improve order, discourage vandalism, and incline protesters to help police address the problems.

    Violence against lawful protesters is anti-American. Let’s hope responsible review of that conduct occurs before limitation periods lapse.

    People who oppose the protests are lousy people whose replacement will improve America.

    1. “The protesters occupy the moral high ground”

      Is that before or after they burn down your house?

      1. The moral high ground means destroying black housing, black businesses, and black communities. Don’t worry, the Democrats are ready to throw money at the problem, just make sure you vote for them again.

      2. I distinguish protesters from looters.

        It appears they all look alike to you, consequent to bigotry.

    2. What about the effects on the pandemic, RAK?

      1. I would strive to attenuate them.

        Masks, distancing, sanitation, other methods endorsed by experts. Respecting the protesters would promote sound conduct in many directions. Providing enough space, amplification, sanitizer, and other resources would be worthwhile.

        We will get progress, one way or another. We need leadership to arrange a good way.

    3. Your moral superiority is insufferable. So are you.

      1. Winning the culture war has consequences.

        So does losing.

        Carry on, clingers.

    4. And what will come of these protests? Nothing in my view. It’s just street theater. Will it end the War on Drugs? Not a chance. How about the cute little tactics employed in the WOD, like no-knock raids, ridiculously long sentences, militarized police? What about cutting the power of police unions? Nope because that would endanger the other public employee unions and they keep politicians in office. Well then maybe get rid of QI? Judges like cops and prosecutors generally. Same team.

      There will be lip service with more sensitivity training, hiring more minority cops, and elevating more black and brown people to run police departments. Wait, they have already been doing that. Oh well.

      1. Protests have given rise to change before.

        1. I don’t know about you but I have had no success in talking about the war on drugs with both intelligent liberal and conservative friends. Also as I think commenter Cyto pointed out focusing exclusively on racism does not address the solutions to the problems with police and the legal system.

          1. If I had to bet, I would guess marginal, largely local change. But also a change in public attention that you see in the polls already.

            That is where any change would occur.

            I’m optimistic, but I’m generally an optimist.

    5. Wow, this is the closest that I’ve ever seen Artie come to being a coherent poster. Good post, almost great.

      1. Back in the day this was more typical. That’s why I haven’t given up on him completely.

  20. I appreciate your outcry, but it’s a bit pessimistic.

    These protestors are giving us live, voluntary data on COVID spread that we could use to better understand the pandemic! We should be thanking them (but from a [great] distance).

  21. We all know because of the magic that is diversity and multiculturalism, the virus cannot spread during social justice events. Everyone knows this including the media. That is why they never mention it as risk when they talk about the protests. No need to do so.

    1. You must be watching and reading different media than I am.

      I tend to avoid RedState, FreeRepublic, Stormfront, Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, One America, and NewsMax.

  22. anti-racism is basically a religion

    I did not catch this.

    Prof Bernstein, are you reading The Federalist unironically?
    The religion of anti-racism proved itself the only force in American discourse powerful enough to end the lockdown.

    1. I believe it’s a reference to this John McWhorter piece from 2015:


      1. Actually, it’s from neither. Way, way back in 1999, I wrote the following in a law review article:

        There is a vigorous debate in the law review literature over whether the federal Constitution requires courts to apply the compelling government interest test to general laws, including antidiscrimination laws, that impinge on free exercise of religion. An analogous debate has occurred over whether Congress and the states should enact such standards legislatively. Antidiscrimination concerns have become a significant issue in this debate. Governor Pete Wilson of California vetoed the California legislature’s attempt to enact a state RFRA, partly because the bill would have limited the government’s ability to enforce antidiscrimination laws.
        Meanwhile, the ACLU has dropped out of a coalition supporting the Religious Liberty Protection Act, a replacement for RFRA, because of concerns about the bill’s potential effect on antidiscrimination law. This is evidence of dangerous backsliding in the ACLU’s commitment to civil liberties, as the ACLU had supported RFRA. Several Jewish groups also dropped out of the coalition because of antidiscrimination concerns, leading an unhappy Marc Stern of the American Jewish Congress to remark: “The principle of equality is taking on a quasi-religious status. Maybe for some people questioning civil rights is like questioning God.”

    2. It’s neither an original thought to me, nor did I get it from the Federalist.

      1. That is a relief.

  23. “Governor Murphy of New Jersey stating that protests against racism may flout social distancing rules, but he’s going to continue to enforce them against lockdown opponents.“

    And any lockdown opponent who is the subject of such an enforcement action should immediately sue Murphy under 42 U.S.C. 1983, because he is clearly engaging in disparate enforcement of the laws based on the content of speech, in violation of the First Amendment.

    1. Sadly, our state courts in the People’s Republic of NJ are closed.

  24. Service for Floyd in church packed with persons should-to-shoulder. Same for demonstrations – proving that the virus can’t find you if you are truly woke. :-0

  25. Well, the tagline is right about this: If funerals are a threat, they’re definitely a grave threat.

  26. This article really says it all, to me.

  27. Instead of worrying about whether you’re cynical enough, perhaps you should start by not being so fucking disingenuous.

    Here’s what else they had to say which you omitted because it makes you look the fool, and I was able to snip this after less than 10 seconds of skimming the article, so what’s your excuse?

    ““We should have a realistic awareness that we may be tasked with more cases,” says Pagkas-Bather. But she adds that the protests are “not happening in a vacuum.” They’re happening as states are relaxing stay at home orders, as largely white crowds head to pool parties and brunch. “We’re not going to be able to pin this on the protests,” says Pagkas-Bather.

    The letter outlines a number of ways that protesters can reduce the risk of spreading or catching the coronavirus, such as wearing masks, distancing, and, if they’re sick, staying home and donating supplies to others instead. But many of the risks of viral spread could be mitigated by law enforcement themselves. “I imagine this wouldn’t happen, but what a wonderful place this would be if law enforcement passed out masks to those that didn’t have them,” says Appa. Instead law enforcement is instigating violence that—beyond the direct harm of rubber bullets and tear gas itself—pushes people into close contact and induces coughing. Putting protesters on buses and in jail also increases the risk of spread, notes Appa. That is: Many instances of increased transmission at protests are stemming from racism itself. ”

    Seems to me that they have a valid argument that police brutality is a public health issue which is worth speaking out against, and that they realize COVID-19 isn’t gone either, and hope that protesters can find a way to manage both.

    I hope your argument here isn’t indicative of your capabilities as a lawyer.

    1. The protests as long as they don’t devolve are a good thing. The lockdowns were and are bullshit. 100 people at a pool party or white people having brunch are not comparable to tens of thousands of people gathering in the streets.

  28. Relax ….. our keepers assure us that any COVID-19 outbreaks may not/can not be blamed on the Floyd protesters.

  29. This article touches me deeply because it is exposing a media and medical hypocrisy that no one wants to discuss. Police violence is not a civil right’s struggle. When I am in danger, regardless of race or ethnicity, I call the police. So they can NEVER be the enemy. The real and true black struggle for equality involves young people busting their behinds in a trade school, college or university and then them voting in large enough numbers so that they influence government policy on all levels. Black youth in 2016 dropped their participation in the national elections and put Trump in. Those kids in the streets don’t vote and don’t care about school and are being patronized by old liberals. Do you think Barack Obama would let his daughter go unmasked to protest rallies one of those rallies/riots? “Other’s people children” is the disease on the left and the right. We see wrong behavior, but it’s not my kid, so what the hell, pat them on the head and let them engage in stupidity?

  30. This article touches me deeply because it is exposing a media and medical hypocrisy that no one wants to discuss. Police violence is not a civil right’s struggle. When I am in danger, regardless of race or ethnicity, I call the police. So they can NEVER be the enemy. The real and true black struggle for equality involves young people busting their behinds in a trade school, college or university and then them voting in large enough numbers so that they influence government policy on all levels. Black youth in 2016 dropped their participation in the national elections and put Trump in. Those kids in the streets don’t vote and don’t care about school and are being patronized by old liberals. Do you think Barack Obama would let his daughters go unmasked to protest at one of those rallies/riots? “Other’s people children” is the disease on the left and the right. We see wrong behavior, but it’s not my kid, so what the hell, pat them on the head and let them engage in stupidity?

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