It’s a shift worth marking. New York Magazine is featuring an article called “COVID Lockdowns Were a Giant Experiment. It Was a Failure.” The authors are two excellent journalists, Joe Nocera and Bethany McLean, who have also written a new book called “The Big Fail,” which I have not read but intend to. The ascent of the book and thesis is hugely important, if only to further blunt the impact of Michael Lewis’s “The Premonition,” which came out in 2021 with the purpose of valorizing the absolute worst of the lockdowners.
The worry at the time was that Lewis’s book, like “The Big Short,” would become a major movie that would codify lockdowns as the right way to deal with infectious disease. That does not seem to be happening, and the cleverly titled book by Nocera and McLean seems to assure that this will never happen. Thank goodness. This is progress. Be grateful when we see it. It is also a tremendous credit to all those who have been pushing the Nocera/McLean thesis since the spring of 2020.
Lockdowns were always an impossible means of pandemic management. We knew that from a century ago. It was not even controversial. The orthodoxy in public health survived even up to a few weeks before the lockdowns began.
Out of nowhere, settled wisdom was completely upended. Suddenly, as if straight from Orwell, lockdowns became “common sense mitigation measures.” Meanwhile this country and most other countries around the world were being utterly tortured by a crazed bureaucracy determined to master the microbial kingdom by bullying people and wrecking their businesses, schools, churches, and lives.

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