The coronavirus fix is too politically incorrect to implement
Suppose there were a deadly virus that disproportionately attacked Jewish people, akin to Tay-Sachs disease, but was contagious via the air through sneezing, or via direct human-to-human touch, or indirectly, via cardboard or metal. What would the proper procedure be to reduce its spread? Would it be to quarantine everyone, given that this sickness affected virtually only members of the Jewish faith? Of course not; it would be to isolate and protect Jews alone.
Suppose there were another virus that disproportionately attacked black people, similar to sickle cell anemia, with the same characteristics. Again, the policy to limit the spread of this disease would be to isolate, for their own benefit, black Americans and only them.
If this were the case, and thank God it is not, there would be cries to the heavens about Anti-Semitism or anti-black racism. Would our society support the implementation of this partial isolation strategy? Probably not, given the power that the of political correctness now enjoys.
Why does it make sense to approach these issues from the point of microeconomics, focusing only on the victims, and not macroeconomics, taking virtually everyone out of circulation? That is because there is more than one way to die, and if the labor force is almost entirely depleted, starvation, death by exposure, will ensue. We want to minimize total unnecessary deaths, not only those that emanate from COVID-19.
These are made up examples. But the coronavirus is a real one. It disproportionately attacks the elderly.
The evidence in this regard is stark. In South Korea, for example, the recent death rate on the part of those afflicted with this dread disease aged 80 and over was 10.4% and, for those in their 70s, 5.35%. It was 1.51% for patients 60 to 69 and 0.37% for the 50-somethings. Those 29 and younger registered no deaths whatsoever.
A similar result ensued in China. Eighty-plus: a death rate of 18% of patients; 70–79: 9/8%; 60–69: 4.6%; 50–59: 1.3%; 40–49: .4%; 30–39: 0.19%; 20–29: 0.09%; 10–19: 0.02%; and 0–9, less than 0.01%. An unknown percentage of fatalities from the coronavirus was attributed to patients with weakened immune systems due to heart conditions, diabetes, emphysema, asthma, and other such afflictions.
Young people, with a cutoff point of 60 years old, are almost guaranteed not to perish if they contract the coronavirus at least in small doses, assuming they have no other medical difficulties. If they are allowed out of isolation, and contract the disease, the better for the overall human race at very little risk to themselves — herd immunity and all that.
But no. This antidote will be summarily dismissed by the forces of political correctness on the grounds of, wait for it, ageism! It would appear that the social justice warriors place a higher value on their "principles" than on life itself.
The sooner the rest of us awake from our doldrums, and become willing to engage in a bit of medically required age discrimination, the sooner the threat of this illness will be wrestled to the ground.
I abstract from the normative question of whether compulsory quarantines are required, or justified, and focus only on the positive question of which is the policy most likely to reduce deaths, other things equal. If this phenomenon afflicted farmyard animals, the rancher would certainly implement this strategy.