By Eugene Kontorovich and Anastasia Lin, March 25, 2022
China this month reimposed harsh lockdowns on tens of millions of citizens in its relentless quest for “zero Covid.” In Changchun and Shenzhen, only one person per household is permitted to go out, every other day, for essential supplies.
The steps come two years after much of the U.S. followed China’s lockdown lead. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the first statewide U.S. stay-at-home order on March 19, 2020. All U.S. states and most other countries have long since abandoned lockdowns as oppressive, ineffective and exorbitantly expensive. But why did free countries adopt such a strategy to begin with?
In the decades before Covid-19, U.S public-health officials had prepared for a possible global pandemic, informed by past examples such as the 1918-19 Spanish flu, which killed 3% of the world’s population, the flu pandemics of 1958 and 1968, and SARS in 2003.