Around 100 people have gathered in downtown Huntington Beach to say that they want the government to end the coronvirus shutdown immediately. Many here say it’s doing more harm than good to the country @KCBSKCALDesk @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/UkI0k8jmJ2— Chris Ercoli (@CErcoliCBS2KCAL) April 17, 2020
Jacksonville Beach reopened 26 minutes ago. This is a live picture. pic.twitter.com/tC6voQ3BAn— Travis Akers (@travisakers) April 17, 2020
For once, I agree with Rich Lowry.
“An irony of the coronavirus debate is that the more successful lockdowns are in squelching the disease, the more vulnerable they will be to attack as unnecessary in the first place.
A growing chorus on the right is slamming the shutdowns as an overreaction and agitating to end them. A good example of the genre is an op-ed co-authored by former Education Secretary William Bennett and talk-radio host Seth Leibsohn. It is titled, tendentiously and not very accurately, “Coronavirus Lessons: Fact and Reason vs. Paranoia and Fear.”
They cite an estimate that the current outbreak will kill 68,000 Americans. Then, they note that about 60,000 people died of the flu in 2017-18. For this, they thunder, we’ve imposed huge economic and social costs on the country?
This is obviously a deeply flawed way of looking at it. …
Consider the perversity of their reasoning a different way. If we had shut down the country a month sooner and there had been, say, only 2,000 deaths, then on their terms they’d have an even stronger argument, i.e., “We did all this, and there were only a couple of thousand fatalities?” …
New York certainly gets disproportionate media attention, but it is also, as all of us had no hesitation recognizing on Sept. 11, 2001, part of America.
If the disease struck smaller heartland cities such as Omaha and Wichita, would Bennett and Leibsohn hope that the story got ignored?
Bennett and Leibsohn neglect the key fact that the economy began to shut down before there were widespread official orders. People voted with their feet because they were fearful of a highly transmissible, virulent disease. And they acted rationally. If everything had gone on as normal, the outbreak would have been worse, and we would have eventually had shutdowns anyway. …”
Judging by the beaches in Jacksonville and Donald Trump’s tweets this morning about “liberating” swing states, we can conclude two things:
1.) First, it now seems unlikely that we are going to have the staggered and controlled return to normal life that was described in yesterday’s plan.
2.) Second, it seems lots of people have concluded that this was all one big conspiracy by public health experts against them because the virus was suppressed before it got the chance to hit them between the eyes and the coast is clear and there is nothing to worry about.
Rich Lowry has a different view from the vantagepoint of New York City. The vast majority of people who have died from this have passed away in a few hot spots.