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  • Op-ed published in RealClearPolicy

The Faulty & Irrational Arguments Behind the COVID-19 Shutdown

The following op-ed by Committee for Justice president Curt Levey was published in RealClearPolicy:

Shortages are not the only thing hampering a proper response to COVID-19. So are a series of questionable arguments being wielded to justify a more stringent response by the states than may be wise. Let's look at a few of those arguments in the hope of promoting rational decision making.

This crisis is unprecedented

This crisis is frightening but it's not unprecedented. Comparable viral outbreaks since the middle of the twentieth century provide helpful perspective.

Though the forecasts of American deaths from COVID-19 vary, a consensus of epidemiology experts anticipates about 200,000 such deaths this year. That's in line with the 100,000 to 200,000 deaths predicted by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. More recently, the most influential COVID-19 model's estimate of U.S. deaths was revised down to 60,000. Higher worst-case estimates abound but Fauci reminds us that he's never seen a disease for which "the worst-case scenario actually came out."

Fauci's numbers are grim but they're comparable to the 1957 pandemic caused by the novel and highly contagious H2N2 virus and the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic, which produced U.S. death tolls equivalent to 220,000 and 165,000 respectively after scaling up for our 2020 population. A decade ago, more than 60 million Americans were infected with the H1N1 virus, a novel strain for which there was no vaccine. And just two years ago, more than 60,000 Americans died during a bad flu season that few of us remember because there were no headlines about the 250,000 new cases per day nor the sad truism of "mounting death tolls."...


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