Steve Forbes: End the Lockdowns Right Now
"Were supposed to be a short-term solution to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Yet here we are"
The sweeping lockdowns imposed a little over a year ago, during the world’s worst pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918-20, were supposed to be a short-term solution to avoid overwhelming our hospitals. Yet here we are, over a year later, with restrictions of varying degrees still with us. They’re being lifted, but at a pace that’s far too slow, which is doing unnecessary damage to schoolkids in particular and the economy in general.
Soon, almost anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one. Moreover, for months we’ve had highly effective therapeutics with which to fight the disease when someone who contracts a severe case of Covid-19 is hospitalized.
This is why the lockdowns should be ended right away.
It was clear by late spring of last year that the best approach was to focus efforts on the most vulnerable parts of our population—that is, the elderly and those with serious preexisting conditions. However, instead of following the science, too many politicians and health officials imposed—and continue to impose—sweeping restrictions that have been useless, capricious or counterproductive.
The country has paid and—this is outrageous—continues to pay a fearsome price. Low-income households have been disproportionately harmed, as parents haven’t been able to work because they’ve had to stay home to take care of kids who couldn’t go to school.
The biggest scandal has been the way that teachers’ unions have kept public schools closed or on a hybrid system long past the time when facts showed that kids were the least vulnerable to Covid-19 and the least likely to transmit the disease. Private schools, with proper precautions, have been open for months, with virtually no ill effects.
The numbers for various forms of depression and addiction are way up, as are those for suicides and deaths from overdoses.
Compare the statistics in states that took an enlightened, scientific approach, such as Florida, with those that didn’t, such as New York. Florida, completely open today, has always been less restrictive after the initial lockdowns than New York. The Sunshine State has a lower death rate than the Empire State, even with its larger population of older people. Florida’s economy is booming, while New York’s is still struggling.
This is the blunt truth: The states that are more open are doing better in terms of health and economic performance than those that are more restrictive.
All of which makes perverse President Biden’s comment during his nationwide address in March, when he said that maybe on the Fourth of July—months from now—small family gatherings might be safe. C’mon, Mr. President: They’re safe—today!
The president should urge state governors to immediately cease these unnecessary restrictions and fully reopen their schools and economies. The general health of the nation would be immensely better off for it.