COVID-19 Lockdowns Can’t Last Without a Massive Social Program
I’ll do my best to make this brief. The present response to COVID-19 in the USA is that people should stay in their homes indefinitely while the authorities try to figure out how to respond, in order to avoid overburdening the medical system. This is a good plan, but in the absence of a significant social investment on the part of the government, it is not going to be possible.
I am not a Republican, and I am in no way a supporter of Donald Trump. I believe that COVID-19 is real. I know that it’s a serious disease that’s killing people, and it’s important to take it seriously. I am washing my hands significantly more often than I did prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and doing my very best to stay at home and wear a mask when I have to go to the grocery store. I would never blockade the entrance to a hospital, nor brandish a swastika flag; let alone do both at the same time. At the same time, I am deeply dissatisfied with the simplicity of the line I’m being fed about the Lockdown. There’s one faction of the government, the Trumpists, whose message is characteristically unclear but boils down to the idea that we should hurry up and re-open businesses and public places so people can get back to work. That’s obviously a bad idea — more people will get sick before the doctors and scientists have a chance to figure the virus out. There’s another big faction, let’s call them the Centrists, whose message seems to be: Close all the businesses, stay inside your home, maybe wear a mask, definitely wash your hands, and we’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out. That’s the message that’s being broadcast the loudest in my circle. I agree that we should shelter in place as much as possible for the time being, but that’s not a plan in and of itself.
Think about it. How are people supposed to survive if they can’t work? Most people in the United States are one paycheck away from disaster, with no savings, owning basically nothing, in debt up to their eyeballs. If they can’t work, they won’t be able to keep up their monthly bills, and they’ll get kicked out of their homes. The government makes vague promises of mailing $1200 checks and delaying utilities shut-offs for a month or two. How long can you survive on $1200? What happens when the two months are over and the electric company comes for their back…