Time to End COVID Lockdowns and Mask Mandates
Draconian lockdowns invoked by governmental fiat with little basis in science are nonsensical and unconstitutional. I live in Washington state and I have a mustache. I went to my barbershop when they were first allowed to open on a limited basis and got a haircut and mustache trim. Last week, they were able to cut my hair but not my mustache.
We the people, should not blindly follow these mandates and surrender our civil rights without question.
State public health agencies during outbreaks of epidemics do have limited police powers to isolate or quarantine people who are sick or are coming from foreign areas that have highly infectious and deadly diseases. The federal government has the same power for people entering the US and traveling between states. These diseases were smallpox, typhoid, cholera, and the plague with high death rates. It was routine to quarantine sailing ships coming into port and to isolate those who were sick in the community. In some cases people who refused to comply were involuntary isolated, like Typhoid Mary.
Our public health quarantine laws are antiquated and require updating. Notwithstanding their antiquity, one thing is obvious; there is a right of due process and equal protection.
. . . under the Constitution, individuals have rights in quarantine and isolation conditions. Under the 5th and 14th Amendment’s rights of Due Process and Equal Protection, public health regulations used to impose such conditions can’t be “arbitrary, oppressive and unreasonable.”
The initial lockdown’s stated purpose was to keep hospital ICUs from being overwhelmed until the new virus's nature, and risks were better understood. These lockdowns were to be short-term. But some states have extended the lockdowns for months based on criteria that are arbitrary, oppressive, and unreasonable. A good case can be made these actions under the guise of public health are actually political in nature to affect the 2020 Presidential Election.
We were told the lockdowns and the wearing of masks by everyone would protect those most at risk by COVID-19. But over time, the condition placed on lifting these measures morphed into somehow eradicating the virus. This lie was spread by the radical left and a complicit media by disinformation, hysteria, and evoking fear. On the advice of unelected "governmental experts," who waffled over time, governments implemented these measures with the force of law and regulatory action, i.e., yanking business and professional licenses of those who did not comply. These measures are arbitrary, capricious, oppressive, not equally applied, and have little basis in science -- church services were prohibited, and the police arrested some who attended. Yet, public protests, rioting, and arson of public and private property were tolerated.
The so-called "flattening of the curve” has nothing to do with actually eradicating the virus. No amount of testing, on and off again lockdowns, and/or mask-wearing will do that. These measures will only delay the spread of the virus until there are effective vaccines for COVID-19, antivirals, better treatment protocols, and or until herd immunity is reached in a given population. Until then, under the long tail of the flattened curve, the same number of people will be infected.
Focusing on positive tests as a criterion for releasing these restrictions is purely subjective. The horses are already out of the barn. Actual deaths due to COVID-19 are a more realistic tracking measure. It is clear from the graph below that Washington state is about done with COVID-19, and yet many counties, including Spokane, where I live, are still locked in Stage 2. Gov. Jay Inslee is still refusing to allow counties to open up based on cases per 100,000 residents. See Spokesman-Review, “COVID-19 activity plateauing statewide . . . “
This graph is one of many graphs created and updated by Dr. Douglas G. Frank. It clearly shows COVID-19 in Washington is on the wane. Dr. Frank has commented extensively on the fallacy of relying on the number of positive cases as the basis of setting public policy.
Requiring masks as a matter of public policy is also fallacious. Except for N95 masks in negative pressure hospital rooms with other PPE that are immediately disposed of after each entry into the room, requiring the use of masks is spurious at best. See the extensive debate thread on the use of masks on Dr. Franks’ Facebook page [Note: Click label icon “masks”]. See Dr. Franks’ bio here.
Dr. Ted Noel also says, “. . . an anesthesiologist with 36 years [sic]experience wearing masks in operating rooms explains why masks don’t work.” Some disagree with Dr. Noel’s opinion, but only if the masks are worn in a proper manner, which is a lot to expect of the general public.
What are the public policy ramifications of the governmental actions and responses to COVID-19?
Many states' current actions are driven by fear of the unknown, not based on objective scientific research. Further, the COVID-19 emergency was weaponized for political agendas
From a relative risk analysis, the “cure” has been worse than the virus itself. The risk of dying in any one year from COVID-19 is relatively small compared to the cures' impact on the US population. See this article in the NY Times, “Putting the Risk of COVID-19 in Perspective:”
The CDC’s data on COVID Survival Rate by age group:
0-19 years 99.997%
20-49 years 99.98%
50-69 years 99.5%
70+ years 94.6%
The US economy tanked. The airline and tourist-related industries were severely affected, as was the manufacturing sector. Restaurants, bars, and small businesses were closed, and many have since gone under. Schools were closed. We have loosed the “Karens” on the population who do not conform, arrested people (here and here) for noncompliance with governmental fiats.
We have induced undue stress on the population in general with little benefit. The Seattle Times: “As we near 6 months in Washington’s stay-home order, mental health experts warn that things may get worse.”
A more prudent way forward is to acknowledge the real risks of COVID-19 in terms that people can understand, educate the people, let the people decide what level of risk is acceptable to them, and what mitigations they are willing to do.
Life is not risk-free. Every day, we take prudent risks, i.e., leaving the house, walking down the street, going to work, driving a car, flying in a plane, seeing a doctor, having surgery, and many other everyday activities. Nanny state mandated intervention has many unintended consequences that result in the cure being worse than the virus’s impact on society.
Live free or die!
Ron Wright is a retired detective from Riverside, CA PD. BA in political science CSUF, M. Adm. University of Cal, Riverside. Facebook at Ron T. Cop.