Here's a good (anti-)joke for you: What do Julius Caesar and America as we knew it have in common? Both died on the Ides of March (aka March 15).
What is the cruelest April Fools joke in all of recorded history? "Fifteen days to flatten the curve", which began on March 16, 2020 (and by it's very own definition, should have ended April 1, 2020.)
And six months later, in most of the country we are still not anywhere close to being back to normal, despite having "flattened the curve" months ago. Not the New Abnormal, but rather the true normal. America is almost a completely different country now than we were just a little over six months ago.
Keep in mind that the original strategy of "flatten the curve" was a very modest and short-term one: to slow the spread of the virus just enough so that the same number of patients will arrive at the hospital but staggered out over a longer period of time rather than all at once, so hospitals would not be overwhelmed. DONE. Then, by early April, in a swift moving of the proverbial goalposts and mission creep, the strategy morphed into a suppression and elimination ("zero COVID") strategy. Which is unrealistic once the proverbial horse is out of the barn, of course. Ditto with trying to suppress it until the vaccine, which may take years or never come at all, and will most likely not be the silver bullet that people hope it is.
All at a truly massive social and economic cost, the likes of which have not been seen since the 18...nevers. For a disease which, for the most part, is in the ballpark of a strong seasonal flu in terms of deadliness and overall severity. We may very well see that lockdowns and related measures will have actually caused more deaths than COVID itself ever could, making the "cure" far worse than the disease.
In any case, there were really only two choices: transmission now, or transmission later. Or more likely, a bit of both. And many countries got the worst of all worlds by choosing lockdown. When it comes to viruses, you can run, but you can't hide. At least not for very long, as nature always finds a way, even if such ways may not always be fully understood. The ox may be slow, but the Earth is very patient indeed.
Thus, as the ever-insightful Dr. John Lee notes, the only viable strategy at this point is learning to live with the virus, kinda like we do with the flu and stuff like that. That way the pandemic will simply end the same way others before it have ended, with herd immunity and attenuation (weakening) of the virus itself, after circulating so much. Meanwhile, as we noted in a previous post, we have also learned how best to treat the disease and prevent the very worst outcomes for the most part. And the virus is currently fizzling out on it's own all over the world as we speak, including the USA, as we are already in the endgame now. ("Casedemics" from increased testing, false positives, and lagged legacy deaths notwithstanding.)
Apparently a lot of people don't like the term "herd immunity" because it contains the word "herd". No problem, we can simply call it "population immunity", "community immunity", "collective resistance", "community resistance", "heterogeneous group resistance", "saturation", or perhaps our favorite, "The Final Countdown", named after that famous Swedish song from the 1980s. Either way, it is not a "strategy" so much as an inevitable fact, kinda like gravity. And delaying it for too long ultimately hurts the vulnerable in the long run, by increasing their chances of exposure, to say nothing of the very harmful effects of extended isolation and loneliness.
And such wrongheaded measures to delay it also end up disproportionately hurting the poor and working classes, a fortiori for people of color, who are bearing a disproportionate share of not only the massive social and economic costs of lockdowns, but also the inevitable burden of building collective immunity as well, while the elites easily "shelter in place" and work from home in their ivory towers.
Thus, it's long past time to lift or phase out the many authoritarian restrictions (which were largely ineffective) put in place that would've been unthinkable as recently as February 2020. That is not to say that people should not continue taking precautions to one degree or another, but the time for such top-down coercion has come and gone long ago.
Let America Be America Again!
P.S. This is NOT a left-wing vs. right-wing thing, so let's not fall into that trap. In fact, our position is really the only genuinely progressive position there is overall, especially when combined with other progressive priorities like UBI and Medicare For All.