What’s truly surprising is just how recent the theory behind lockdown and forced distancing actually is. So far as anyone can tell, the intellectual machinery that made this mess was invented 14 years ago, and not by epidemiologists but by computer-simulation modelers. It was adopted not by experienced doctors – they warned ferociously against it – but by politicians.
(Yesterday I read carefully the 2006 paper that Jeff mentions and that is co-authored by the late Dr. D.A. Henderson. It’s a calamitous shame that this paper’s recommend approach was ignored.)
They and their ideological supporters will claim, of course, that what they have done has saved us all. Don’t believe this implausible, fear-fed claim. There was a better way, a way that would have respected and employed the people’s freedoms and knowledge, but that way would not have satisfied the rulers’ lust for power. Indeed, it would have revealed that the less power they exercise, the better off is the general public.
My intrepid Mercatus Center colleague Veronique de Rugy never tires of pointing out in print and in personal conversation the following: even government agencies that should, in principle, be of some use to humankind never avoid in practice pursuing tasks that make these agencies destructive. For evidence that Vero is correct, see this piece by Eric Boehm.