At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I defended the economic lockdowns on a temporary basis. There was a lot we did not know about the pandemic, and it was wise to shut things down to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. I was wearing a mask indoors in public places before it was mandatory, and I have defended the mask mandate. Many of my conservative friends were strongly opposed to both.
Contrary to a fraudulent comment on my letter to the editor, I never once said “Govenrment (sic) is bad but it’s my right to act irresponsibly.” I defended pandemic mitigation policy, so suggesting I oppose it because I disagree with one specific policy is shamefully dishonest. Furthermore, what facts in my letter were wrong? Point to specific claims, and cite sources that prove what I said was factually wrong.
What I do not agree with is a severely restrictive order limiting private gatherings to 15 people. Because I am not in 100% perfect agreement with their theology, the cult of COVID-19 has declared me guilty of heresy and witchcraft. I will not be repenting of either.
If the risk of transmission is low enough to open the schools, allow people to stand in line to vote, attend church services, go to a restaurant or shop at the grocery store, there is no justification for a 15 person limit on private gatherings, including church ministries like home fellowship groups and Bible studies. Me attending a home fellowship group in city limits does not cause anyone to get sick, especially if they are not part of my group. Your fear and paranoia does not justify taking away the First Amendment.
COVID-19 is a serious disease, and we should take it seriously. That is why I defended pandemic mitigation policy. But government’s authority to implement policy is not and should not be unlimited. We do have the First Amendment right to freedom of assembly and freedom of religion, and I stand by my position that most people can be trusted to behave responsibly.
The fatality rate for COVID-19 is as follows.
- 0-19 years: 0.003%
- 20-49 years: 0.02%
- 50-69 years: 0.5%
- 70+ years: 5.4%
Which means the survival rate for COVID-19 is as follows:
- 0-19 years: 99.997%
- 20-49 years: 99.98%
- 50-69 years: 99.5%
- 70+ years: 94.6%
If you do not feel safe doing certain things, then by all means avoid doing so. But we need to have a sense of proportion. This is not Ebola, which is fatal up to 90% of the time. As I have said dozens of times, some restrictions were and are wise – especially to protect the most vulnerable. We certainly need to protect nursing homes and senior living facilities. However, the fatality rate for COVID-19 does not justify draconian restrictions on First Amendment rights implemented in perpetuity, with no end in sight.