Can we please recognize the real costs of COVID-19 policy?
I am so tired of the lack of nuance on both sides of the debate over locking down the economy to slow the spread of COVID-19. Those who support lockdowns support tyranny, and those who oppose lockdowns want people to die. It is very boring. I saw this in the comments for my letter to the editor last week.
I was not equating automobile deaths with COVID-19 deaths, but obviously a comparison is appropriate here. Things do not have to be equal to be compared. My point is that we as a society accept a certain level of risk by allowing certain things, when we know people will die as a result of not prohibiting those things. This is obvious to everyone. This applies not only to automobiles, but alcohol and tobacco as well. By not prohibiting those things, we know we are causing people to die.
Furthermore, I explicitly said in my letter that "temporary 'stay at home' orders to prevent the medical system from being overwhelmed are wise," so I am not sure what point one commenter was making regarding giving the medical system a chance to respond to the virus. Did he actually read my letter?
So let me clarify my position once again: I support the lockdowns. I have supported the lockdowns from day one. I have urged my fellow Christians to submit to the civil magistrate's health orders regarding temporarily closing churches, because Romans 13 teaches that authority is given to the civil magistrate by God, and because we want to save lives. I also believe the lockdowns cannot go on forever, and at some point we have to accept a certain level of risk to open up the economy. My nuanced position is based on facts.
The point of my letter is that in the long run a lockdown is unsustainable. If we are going to wait for a vaccine, we might be waiting for over a year, and keeping the economy closed for a year is simply not sustainable. In fact, if the virus mutates (and there are reports it already has mutated) then a vaccine may be impossible. The point of the lockdowns was was to slow the spread of the virus, not to stop the spread. It is impossible to stop the spread. You might as well try to stop the earth from rotating.
One commenter said that we should "let science respond with... a vaccine." But he also said in a separate comment that "the US Military does not believe there is any immunity." Well, that logic applies to a vaccine also. If we cannot get herd immunity through exposure to the virus, then we cannot get herd immunity through a vaccine. The two statements cannot both be true.
The reality is this: There are human costs to this lockdown and people will die as a result of it. This is not just deaths of despair, but potentially millions of people will die if we ignite a man-made famine in very poor nations. Those lives matter every bit as much as the lives lost to the Communist Virus. This has never been a question of lives against the economy. This is about saving lives on both ends. The question is which policy - staying locked down or opening responsibly - will save the most lives.