The public health case against coronavirus lockdowns

An interview with Lyman Stone, who argues that forcing people to stay at home isn't the best way to fight the novel coronavirus

A lock.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

The framing of the lockdown debate as the novel coronavirus spreads has consistently been a trade-off between economic health and physical health: Either you ruin the economy or you kill tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of people. It's a miserable choice.

I've argued for prioritizing lives over dollars because I can't see a way to accepting the ethics of the standard case for reopening the economy now. But what if long-term lockdowns aren't necessary to flatten the curve? What if they can even be counterproductive? What if there's a well-informed, prudent, and, crucially, humane argument for a different approach?

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