By Mike Whitney | 14 May 2020
THE UNZ REVIEW — In a pandemic, there is no substitute for immunity, because immunity provides the best protection against reinfection. That’s why Sweden set its sights on immunity from the very beginning. They crafted a policy that was designed to protect the old and vulnerable, prevent the public health system from being overwhelmed, and, most important, allow younger, low-risk people to interact freely so they’d contract the virus and develop the antibodies they’d need to fight future infections. That was the plan and it worked like a charm. Now Sweden is just weeks away from achieving herd immunity (which means that future outbreaks will not be nearly as severe) while the lockdown nations– that are just now easing restrictions– face an excruciating uphill slog that may or may not succeed. Bottom line: Sweden analyzed the problem, figured out what to do, and did it. That’s why they are closing in on the finish line while most of the lockdown states are still stuck at Square 1.
As of this writing, none of the other nations have identified immunity as their primary objective which is why their orientation has been wrong from the get-go. You cannot achieve a goal that you have not identified. The current US strategy focuses on stringent containment procedures (shelter-in-place, self-isolation) most of which have little historical or scientific basis. The truth is, the Trump administration responded precipitously when the number of Covid-positive cases began to increase exponentially in the US. That paved the way for a lockdown policy that’s more the result of groupthink and flawed computer models than data-based analysis and nimble strategic planning. And the results speak for themselves. The 8-week lockdown is probably the biggest policy disaster in US history. Millions of jobs have been lost, thousands of small and mid-sized businesses will now face bankruptcy, and the future prospects for an entire generation of young people have been obliterated. The administration could have detonated multiple nuclear bombs in the country and done less damage than they have with their lunatic lockdown policy.
At present, 24 states have begun the process of reopening their economies. There is no uniform criteria for lifting restrictions, no standardized approach to opening one sector over the other, and no plan for dealing with the inevitable surge of new cases and deaths. It all looks like another disaster in the making but we’ll reserve judgement until the results are in. What we know for certain is that no one in the Trump administration gave the slightest thought to the problems that might arise from eventually lifting the restrictions. We know that because we know that there was no “exit strategy”, just make-it-up-on-the-fly and hope for the best. […]