Now that Joe Biden’s COVID policies are being unmasked, those who voted for him may be coming down with bad cases of buyer’s remorse.
It has been hard to pin down exactly what prospective President Biden would do about the pandemic given the chance. Back in August, he said he would “shut the country down” if coronavirus cases resurged. Then in September, Biden backtracked, saying, “There’s going to be no need, in my view, to be able to shut down the whole economy.” Now he has settled on the talking point that he will “follow the science,” which is a non-answer because science can diagnose the problem but cannot determine the details of public policy. Setting and implementing policy requires less following and more leading.
Biden’s choice of coronavirus advisers focuses more light on what the country could expect should the former vice president enter the Oval Office. For example, Dr. Michael Osterholm believes that a four-to six-week hard lockdown could get the virus under control. He said that the government could easily “pay people to lose their jobs” by leveraging the increased savings that Americans have scrimped together during the crisis, and that we could “bring back the economy” by the second quarter of 2021. Yes, Osterholm’s plan is to force the country into another recession, then loot personal savings to pay our way out of it, amassing trillions of dollars of government debt in the process. And those who remember the slogan “two weeks to flatten the curve” should be highly skeptical of Osterholm’s four-to six-week lockdown timeline.
To be fair, task force member former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes that a broad national lockdown would be a mistake, because “we are going to exacerbate the pandemic fatigue people are feeling, you’re going to hurt jobs and the economy, you’re going to shut down schools and hurt the education of our children.” Of course, this is also President Trump’s argument against a national lockdown, not that team Biden would ever admit it. Others in the Biden camp who praise communist China as a model of success in fighting the disease should know that Beijing stopped reporting COVID numbers back in the spring, so we really have no idea what is going on there or how many people have died.
Biden has also enlisted the advice of Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who has argued that people should really not live past the age of 75. Setting aside for the moment that Joe Biden is 77, shouldn’t Emanuel be celebrating the coronavirus, since it mainly causes fatalities in age groups that he believes are past any meaningful existence anyway? If we follow his science there could be more Gov. Andrew Cuomo-like policies of placing infected people in nursing homes for maximum impact. It’s also worth noting that Biden’s designated Chief of Staff and former Obama Ebola Czar Ron Klain was one of the people encouraging others in late February to “go to Chinatown” to “buy a meal, go shopping” because apparently he believed virtue signaling made you immune to the virus.
Biden has promoted a national mask mandate, and Dr. Anthony Fauci suggests that even with a working vaccine America may have to stay masked until 2022. Fauci helpfully added that those concerned with too many government restrictions on their freedom should “do what you’re told,” so he would fit right in with the authoritarian tone of a prospective Biden regime. Speaking of which, the Biden camp is proposing a “national supply commander” to “take command of the national supply chain for essential equipment, medications, and protective gear.” If you don’t think this type of centralized control and burdensome extra layer of bureaucracy will in fact increase shortages, you don’t know your Soviet history. But Democrats tend always to see more government as the solution, so Americans should stock up on supplies now before the “supply commander” empties the shelves again.
Critics scoffed at the line in President Trump’s stump speech saying Democrats wanted to cancel Thanksgiving. But a few weeks later, here we are, with Thanksgiving gatherings being made misdemeanor offenses in some jurisdictions. California’s Thanksgiving rules were particularly detailed and nettlesome, down to banning singing and chanting, mandating disposable plates instead of the family china, and only allowing gatherings outdoors, for two hours or less. Of course not everyone wanted to do what they were told – for example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was forced to cancel a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the small number of newly elected Democratic members of Congress after she came down with a case of bad optics.
The surge in new COVID-19 cases is concerning, but if we can follow the science for a second, there is conflicting data regarding the efficacy of lockdowns. The current spike in COVID cases is taking place globally, in countries that have had lockdowns, like France, Italy and Germany, and countries that haven’t like Sweden. The new surge may be just the natural course of the disease, like the 1918 Spanish Flu, which also surged in the winter. Prudent, targeted policies to limit the spread and effects of the virus are warranted, but not radical measures that will abort the economic recovery and impose further misery on those least vulnerable to sickness. If Biden becomes president, he may bring along quack policy cures that are worse than the disease.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. He is a former military intelligence officer.