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On the Dangers of the Impossible Quest for Zero Covid

In tomorrow’s (August 5th’s) edition of the Wall Street Journal, Jay Bhattacharya and I discuss the dangers and irrationality of pursuing zero Covid. Two slices:

Among all countries, New Zealand, Australia and especially China have most zealously embraced zero-Covid. China’s initial lockdown in Wuhan was the most tyrannical. It infamously locked people into their homes, forced patients to take untested medications, and imposed 40-day quarantines at gunpoint.
Humanity’s unimpressive track record of deliberately eradicating contagious diseases warns us that lockdown measures, however draconian, can’t work. Thus far, the number of such diseases so eliminated stands at two—and one of these, rinderpest, affected only even-toed ungulates. The lone human infectious disease we’ve deliberately eradicated is smallpox. The bacterium responsible for the Black Death, the 14th-century outbreak of bubonic plague, is still with us, causing infections even in the U.S.

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