Lockdown Supporters Never Have to Say They're Sorry for Getting It So Wrong

Lockdown Supporters Never Have to Say They're Sorry for Getting It So Wrong
AP Photo/Adel Hana

Liberals have the memories of a fruit fly. Since fruit flies only live a few days, they don’t have to remember anything for very long. In these trying times when walking on eggshells around strangers, hoping you don’t get called out for being racist, or not wearing a mask, is the norm, the one constant is that the moralists and virtue-signalers are going to be wrong about everything.

Welcome to America in the Age of Floyd and the coronavirus pandemic, where memories aren’t only fleeting, they disappear at the most convenient times.

Take a story published in the New York Times in early May. The Times breathlessly reported a study from the White House itself that said by June 1, three thousand Americans a day would be dropping dead of COVID-19, which would raise the national death toll from the disease to over 200,000. As bad as that sounds, the Times pointed out that reopening the economy would make it worse.

They said, “the projections confirm the primary fear of public health experts: that a reopening of the economy will put the nation back where it was in mid-March, when cases were rising so rapidly in some parts of the country that patients were dying on gurneys in hospital hallways.”

That was not the situation in the U.S. in mid-March. And no one was “dying on gurneys” in hospital hallways unless they arrived in a near-death condition. If that were the case, all those “field hospitals” put up by Governor Cuomo would have been busy treating patients. The USS Comfort hospital ship would have been full. Instead, as it turns out, New York weathered the crisis just fine as most of the field hospitals ended up treating few patients and Governor Cuomo didn’t need “30-40,000 ventilators.”

They were wrong. But they were wrong because they had a choice of believing several scenarios about the course of the pandemic and chose the direst predictions.

There was a political advantage for believing in catastrophe. They were able to skewer the governors in Florida, Georgia, and Texas for supposedly reopening their economies “too soon.” They called Republicans members of a “death cult” — until their fervent beliefs and hopes were dashed by reality.


The projections that supposedly confirmed that fear were widely cited by people who argued that states such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas were inviting a public health disaster by lifting their lockdowns too soon. But the projections turned out to be wildly off, predicting more than three times as many daily deaths as we have seen so far in June, nearly twice as many total deaths as of June 1, and nine times as many daily new cases.

The study, published in May by the Times, was not the work of the White House. It was written by Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, under a contract with FEMA. Here’s what Lessler had to say about his own study.

The day after the Times story appeared, NPR interviewed Lessler, who described the projections as “preliminary work” that was “always intended to be shown to people who were fully aware that this was work in progress, not a final result.” NPR noted that the projections reported by the Times were “based on only about one-third of the scenarios that Lessler will be including in the final projections.” It explained that “the incomplete projection published in The New York Times of more than 200,000 new cases and more than 3,000 new deaths per day by June 1 is just one of many possible scenarios.”

Poor Dr. Lessler fell victim to the Times’s Trump Derangement Syndrome. They never apologized to the doctor, of course, nor did they offer an apology to their readers for printing “news” that wasn’t “fit to print.” They were counting on the story disappearing into the vast maw of memory where all inconvenient liberal stories that are proven wrong end up being too good to be true.