Until recently, I was of the view that the lockdown was over. In all its essentials, I thought, life had returned to normal on May 17, when hotels, theatres, gyms, cinemas and sports stadiums reopened. Yes, there were still some irksome prohibitions. You can’t hold a big wedding, enjoy a fortnight on the Spanish costas or sit unmasked on a train. But these things, it seemed to me, hardly merited the name “lockdown”, and I was relaxed about the precise date on which they would be phased out. I have since come to realise that, as long as the Government mandates social-distancing rules of any kind, a certain kind of bureaucrat will see it as an all-purpose licence to cancel services. 
Today is the 40th anniversary of the first reported case of AIDS in the US. Since a certain NIH bureaucrat is doing a self-congratulatory victory lap for his claimed role in controlling the AIDS epidemic, here again is a reminder of what he actually said as the disease became known.
This article, which appeared 2 years later in the JAMA, was the most prominent instance of a government health official promoting the theory of regular household transmission. It generated headline-grabbing stories across the country the very next day, and led directly to the infamous wave of ostracism that AIDS victims faced throughout the 1980s.
I generally get the sense of a lifelong bureaucrat who implausibly found himself as the world’s most influential public-health official during the most dramatic upheaval in public policy in generations. He didn’t entirely know what to do with his new-found influence. It’s shocking to observe his complete lack of interest in the health and economic consequences of lockdown policies.
Maybe he believed they would work but it is hard to say because he was putting down the idea as late as February 25:
“You cannot avoid having infections since you cannot shut off the country from the rest of the world,” he wrote to CBS News. “Do not let the fear of the unknown…distort your evaluation of the risk of the pandemic to you relative to the risks that you face every day…do not yield to unreasonable fear.”
A few days later, he was pushing virus suppression via closures, human separation, and travel restrictions, while finding a good friend in “unreasonable fear.” Medical professionals from around the world wrote to him and begged him to stop this, that people were being bullied by cops all over the world in the name of a virus control method that could not and would not work. He read these and did not answer them.
“I think now with Fauci’s emails . . . it’s pretty clear that a lot of this stuff was fly by the seat of your pants guidance. This was not based on hard data,” DeSantis stated.
“This bureaucracy needs to be brought to account. You can’t have a bureaucracy that’s just going out and issuing these rules on the fly. They literally said, ‘If you’re sunbathing on a cruise ship you have to wear a mask.’ Really? I mean, give me a break,” he added seemingly in critique of the CDC.
The governor criticized legacy media’s strict adherence to the accepted COVID orthodoxy in 2020 and neglect of intellectual openness that might give way to other competing, compelling explanations. He lambasted the tech companies’ censorship of those who discussed the lab-leak hypothesis of COVID’s origin on the internet.
DBx: For the record, I do not agree with all that Ron DeSantis says and, as governor of Florida, does. But he’s a politician, and as my old friend Roger Garrison says, when a donkey flies, you don’t complain about the fact that it doesn’t remain airborne for very long. DeSantis is, in my view, downright heroic in keeping Floridians free of the statewide lockdowns and other Covid restrictions that were used to tyrannize most other Americans. My strong disagreement with some of his other stands is no reason for me to avoid praising him for keeping Floridians largely free of lockdown tyranny.