1) I believe endorsing lockdowns was the first and only serious policy mistake of the Trump Administration. It came from a good place, the desire to protect American lives and was made based upon advice from highly respected experts, but a mistake it was.— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) April 16, 2020
2) We all make mistakes, especially in a crisis situation. The key is to recover from that mistake as I believe President Trump is now doing by leading the way on re-opening.— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) April 16, 2020
Business lockdowns are never the answer. I hope we remember that in the fall when COVID-19 returns.
The overwhelming majority of Americans do not agree with the libertarian and conservative tea baggers who are protesting for their right to spread the coronavirus.
“The Wall Street Journal reports that in Trump’s first task force meeting of business and political leaders, executives told the president that the administration must dramatically increase the availability of coronavirus testing “before the public would be confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments,” according to sources familiar with the call. …”
Even CEOs aren’t too keen on the idea of prematurely ending the half assed lockdown before testing is in place, allowing the virus to rebound, tens of thousands of people unnecessarily dying and being humiliated by the virus and forced into a second lockdown which will only drag this out even longer. It is better at this point to take the short term hit and smother the virus like China has done.
“President Donald Trump calls it “the biggest decision I’ll ever make.”
Voters say it’s an easy call: Don’t reopen the economy if it will enable the coronavirus to spread.
As Trump prepares to restart the nation’s economic engine — which was abruptly cut a month ago as the new coronavirus began to spread rapidly throughout the country — a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows the vast majority of voters support continuing the social-distancing measures that appear to be helping the U.S. hamper the rapid spread of Covid-19, the illness caused by the virus.
More than eight in 10 voters, 81 percent, say Americans “should continue to social distance for as long as is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus, even if it means continued damage to the economy.” Only 10 percent say Americans “should stop social distancing to stimulate the economy, even if it means increasing the spread of coronavirus.” Nine percent of voters have no opinion.
While Democrats (89 percent) are more likely than Republicans (72 percent) to say Americans should continue the “social distancing” measures, large majorities in all demographic groups say it’s more important to stop the spread of the virus than to resume economic activity that could undermine those mitigation efforts. …”
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans remain hesitant about resuming their normal daily activities amid the COVID-19 outbreak according to a Gallup question first asked in late March and repeated in early April.
When asked how quickly they will return to their normal activities once the government lifts restrictions and businesses and schools start to reopen, the vast majority of Americans say they would wait and see what happens with the spread of the virus (71%) and another 10% would wait indefinitely. Just 20% say they would return to their normal activities immediately.
These views are essentially unchanged from late March. …”
The average American is binge watching television shows and movies on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. It is a small fraction of 10% who are LARPing like it is 1776. Those people were also perceived as eccentric before this happened when they weren’t a danger to public health.
There are times when the common good outweighs individual liberty and collective action is required to defeat a common threat to the community. A pandemic is one of those exceptional situations. As Nassim Taleb points out below, if the airlines had simply been shutdown and bailed out with chump change in January until testing was available, we wouldn’t be in this situation. If we had inconvenienced a few people early on in this crisis, it would have saved tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.