Progressive Democrats keep insisting that the nation remain in lockdown until someone, somewhere comes up with a vaccine that will banish the threat of the Coronavirus for all. To open the economy prematurely must, they believe, risk tens of thousands of lives. Some have gone so far as to advocate a lockdown that could go on for a year or more presumably knowing that such a lockdown would destroy what’s left of the US economy.
To make their case, they have continually redefined the purposes of the lockdowns. They were originally proposed and put into place because of a fear that the nation’s hospitals could be overwhelmed by a wave of Coronavirus patients. The lockdowns were designed to “flatten the curve” and did just that pretty effectively. Partly because of the lockdowns and partly because many of the early model based predictions of how the pandemic was likely to develop the feared wave never materialized. Most hospitals today are under rather than over utilized and seem quite capable of handling the cases coming in. (RELATED: Us-Vs-Them Lockdown Mentality Meets Conservative — and Progressive — Resistance)
“Flattening the curve” is a far different goal than actually defeating the virus. It’s goal was to slow the pace of infections rather than to prevent them and assumed that unless a vaccine was discovered before they ended, they might not have an appreciable effect of either the ultimate number of people infected or even the death rate for those who are infected. In fact, absent a vaccine, most assume that public safety will only be achieved through the development of what the experts term “herd immunity” when a significant enough percentage of the people have developed antibodies through surviving infection and developing antibodies that make it difficult for the virus to spread. The lockdowns will slow this process as they “flatten the curve” and in an ironic twist extend the period of danger for all of us.
The rhetorical defense of continuing the lockdowns has shifted in recent days as advocates of continuing them talk of using them to actually defeat the Coronavirus which they simply won’t do.
Why then risk the consequences of shutting down the economy and keeping people in isolation in search of an unreachable goal when experts are beginning to believe that more people are dying as a consequence of the lockdowns themselves than from the virus. Suicides have skyrocketed and many hospitals have denied patients suffering from heart attacks, strokes and cancer the care that could save or extend their lives.
Meanwhile, progressive politicos spend their time blaming everything on Republicans in general and President Trump in particular as the 2020 elections approach. They may believe what they say, but one suspects some of them at least are cynically promoting policies that they believe will hurt the President’s re-election prospects. They know that Donald Trump’s prospects were dependent upon the economic boom that benefited so many Americans before the pandemic and that unless the economy is in recovery by early fall, he won’t be able to argue that people will be better off by re-electing him.
They must know that some analysts believe that the economy could, indeed, recover more quickly than the doomsayers are predicting if the lockdowns end and people are allowed to go back to work. In a recent Politico article, Harvard economist Jason Furman, former President Barack Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors is quoted predicting (or warning) that with the reopening of the economy “we are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country” and suggesting that “the months preceding the November election could offer Trump the chance to brag – truthfully – about the most explosive monthly employment numbers and GDP growth ever.”
A former Obama White House official asked by the reporter about the level of concern among Democratic leaders about the political consequences of the Furman prediction said simply “It’s high – high, high, high, high.”
No wonder some Democrats want to keep the public in lockdown. Giving them back their freedom (and their jobs) could mean Donald Trump will win a second term!