Joe Biden has some awful ideas for those of us living in Georgia, Florida, or South Dakota. For now, these states still feel like America despite COVID-19. I can speak to Georgia specifically. We have no statewide mask mandate, and leaders are not allowed to mandate them at the local level. Businesses are open, with some requiring masks for service.
Other than that, life is 94% back to normal. We have college football starting in the SEC with limited stadium attendance. Outdoor festivals are back, and restaurants are operating indoors and leaving it up to patrons to determine their distancing preference. We are going to the gym, and the kids are back in school. If we stopped testing asymptomatic people, they would be highly likely to stay in school.
Even with continued misleading testing, our positive tests are declining, and deaths appear to be peaking. It is essential to note that the PCR tests do not test for a live virus capable of causing an infection. They amplify pieces of the viral RNA present in the nasal passages. To call a positive test a “case” is misleading and inaccurate in the absence of symptoms.
There is also great news out of the research community regarding long-term immunity, or T cells, being reactive to COVID-19 in some portion of the population. These levels seem to vary from county to county. Given the size of the U.S., we should be analyzing this regionally to inform public policy as quickly as possible. Germany has found reactive T-cells in 81% of their population. For states that appear to have peaked, understanding T-cell reactivity could guide reopening.
Enter Joe Biden’s terrible, awful idea. In his first joint interview with Kamala Harris on ABC, he announced he would shut down the entire country to fight COVID-19.
Biden: “Every single American should be wearing a mask when they’re outside, for the next three months, at a minimum.”
Biden: “I would shut it down.”pic.twitter.com/dJJIySlzdz
— Steve Cortes (@CortesSteve) August 22, 2020
He invoked saving lives. If he were serious about this, he would acknowledge what terrible outcomes shutdowns are causing. As our Townhall colleague Brad Slager noted recently, doctors worldwide are recording more deaths due to lockdowns than COVID-19.
Biden’s assertion that we can’t get the country moving until we “control” the virus is absurd. South Dakota has never shut down. Georgia and Florida were early movers to reopen. Our states are moving forward just fine, and people are making responsible decisions without government mandates. For the most part, economies that have refused to shut down again are doing better.
With the notable exception of Florida, which relies heavily on the hospitality industry, the lightest-touch COVID-19 restriction states have lower unemployment rates. Heavy-handed states, such as New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California have the highest. The South generally reports more businesses open in some capacity and reports no permanent closures, according to a Met-Life small business study published in July.
For someone who says he is worried about constitutional norms, the idea that Biden thinks he can shut down states or require a national mask mandate is just absurd. Any attempt to do so will lead to a faster fracture in terms of some states refusing to enforce national mandates. Blue states set the standard by refusing to enforce federal immigration laws. That is a legitimate federal responsibility. Red-state governors need to be prepared to reject these kinds of national mandates should Biden win.
However, what should be concerning to voters is that Biden’s comment shows a complete lack of leadership. Biden has no science to back up his policy of a national shutdown. Worse than that, he seems to be willing to hand over decision-making to so-called “experts” in the bureaucracy with a narrow view on a particular situation.
Effective leaders will always take a multi-disciplinary approach to a problem and get input from a range of perspectives and specialties. It is then up to the leader to balance the risks and rewards to create effective public policy. The fact that Biden would even make this assertion in light of emerging research demonstrates he is stunningly ignorant of the latest scientific information.
Even French President Emmanuel Macron is ruling out shutdowns. Before meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss policy regarding a COVID-19 resurgence in Europe, he said:
“We cannot shut down the country, because the collateral damage of confinement is considerable,” Macron said in an interview with Paris Match magazine ahead of his meeting with Merkel at Fort Bregancon in the Mediterranean.
An astute follower of mine may have summed it up best with this quote from C.S. Lewis:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
Unfortunately, the ability to reason may not even enter into this calculation for many citizens. As Tucker Carlson noted last week, many Americans have a completely inaccurate view of the actual risks presented by COVID-19. This phenomenon seems to be more common among Democrats:
If the real history of the pandemic is ever written, Democrats and their allies in the media should rightly bear responsibility for the misery and economic destruction placed squarely in their laps. Their constant panic-porn and misinformation campaign are both shameless and inexcusable. Unfortunately, we won’t understand the true magnitude of the damage they have caused, all for political gain, for years to come.