Quote for Today – 08.28.20

A vocal minority argues that Covid-19 is not much worse than the influenza we ignore every winter, so both mandatory lockdowns and voluntary precautions have been unnecessary.

A glance at the data gives that argument a veneer of plausibility. The UK has suffered about 65,000 excess deaths during the first wave of the pandemic, and 25,000-30,000 excess deaths are attributed to flu in England alone during bad flu seasons. Is the disparity so great that the country needed to grind to a halt?

The flaw in the argument is clear: Covid was “only” twice as bad as a bad flu season because we took extreme measures to contain it. The effectiveness of the lockdown is being used as an argument that the lockdown was unnecessary. It is frustrating, but that is the nature of a self-defeating prophecy in a politicised environment.

Rats, mazes, and the power of self-fulfilling prophecies https://timharford.com/2020/08/rats-mazes-and-the-power-of-self-fulfilling-prophecies/