Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Efforts to enforce social distancing by the state are picking up steam in the USA. From the perspective of epidemic management, they may be effective at flattening the curve, as they say. The people who suggest it seem to be smart and knowledgeable, and they may be right. We will see.

That said, I have a dread in the bottom of my gut that these measures are going to turn into an electoral disaster in the USA where the issue was politicized from the start - regardless of the effect on the actual progress of the disease. If ANYONE gets sick and dies, then it's far too easy to say that everything was a waste of time, and that line of argument is going to be pretty damn convincing to overwhelming masses of voters who are sick of all this disease stuff and just want things to go back to normal.

In a way, the more effective they are at preventing absolute disaster, the worse the backlash is going to be. If people see dead bodies on the streets and have their entire family die, well, they will realize just how serious the situation actually was ... but a disaster minimized through draconian measures will just leave everyone convinced that it wasn't such a big deal in the first place.

It's a lose-lose that can only be survived, politically, by avoiding it in the first place, by having a political culture in which these sort of things are just not politicized, in which the warning of epidemic prevention experts are not dismissed and/or attacked as partisan sabotage, and in which people are routinely advised by everyone in any position of power and by the media to trust expert advice. That ship sailed thirty years ago, and now doom is inevitable.

by Zwackus on Fri Mar 20th, 2020 at 05:17:28 AM EST

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