Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Take the shutdown skeptics seriously.

I have been holding back from doing posts on the current pandemic, since it completely dominates the popular press. However, I want to pass on this link to one sane piece done by Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer at The Atlantic. I will just paste in one key paragraph here, and urge you to read the whole piece.
If we knew that a broadly effective COVID-19 treatment was imminent, or that a working vaccine was months away, minimizing infections through social distancing until that moment would be the right course. At the other extreme, if we will never have an effective treatment or vaccine and most everyone will get infected eventually, then the costs of social distancing are untenable. We don’t know where we sit on that spectrum. So we cannot know what the best way forward is even if we place the highest possible value on preserving life and protecting the vulnerable.
That uncertainty means, at the very least, that Americans should carefully consider the potential costs of prolonged shutdowns lest they cause more deaths or harm to the vulnerable than they spare.


  1. Actual skeptics with reasonable arguments are one thing; the people who are grabbing the most headlines thought are better described as denialists.

  2. Conor's sources are pretty feeble e.g. Heather MacDonald comparing a pandemic to a plant closure. There's a lot of hand-wringing about unquantifiables and a lot of assertions about connections that aren't known or proven. Just sayin'...