[May 17, 2020] The seriousness of the current COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overlooked. However, there is a small but building counter-argument that the lockdowns established and enforced by state and local governments may have been an overreach. Today, I’ll be listing a few observations on the pandemic that are trending from medical, political, and legal organizations.
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
I begin with this quote from Ronald Reagan because I think it embodies the capabilities and realities of government. There are those of us who look to the “government” to solve all our problems, provide us with a job, give us a handout when needed, and tell us what to do and not do. Others, including the Founding Fathers, believed only a small government would provide the most benefit to the United States. These competing visions of our country have influenced how we see the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
If you get any of the big government types or medical experts to be honest, I think they will give you a different view:
- Despite what is being said, we still don’t know enough about the virus to formulate good, long-term government policies on preventing its spread to uninfected people, developing a vaccine, or decreasing mortality rates.
- Early on, the intent of our federal government was to “flatten the curve” and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by large numbers of patients. We succeeded overwhelmingly – temporarily – but now the problem is too much bed-space and medical staffs are being laid off.
- The government cannot solve this pandemic, because it cannot be solved. Like other infectious diseases, the virus must run its course. This is true even if an effective vaccine were developed tomorrow.
- Lots of people are not accessing routine and non-routine health care services. This will have additional negative health consequences. For example, child vaccinations for known diseases are down significantly. The result will be increased mortality.
- Loss of jobs, family members, and other significant disruptions in family life will increase mortality rates. What that will be, is unknown.
- Fear is our greatest weakness; pandemic or not. We will forever not learn this lesson and we will forever suffer for it.
- Great nation-state leadership is not needed. But local leadership, provided by communities and those who make up our towns and cities are needed to step up and provide the guidance and assistance people need to get through the pandemic.
We are in the middle of a malaise moment. This should not be a time of a crisis of confidence (ala U.S. President Jimmy Carter). Americans don’t need the Oval Office to tell us that we are a strong nation because we already know. Remove the one-size fits all, mandated, top-down restrictions and let those who live here know that specific behaviors are dangerous and let us go about our lives.