(Ryan McMaken, Mises Institute) The US state with the fastest growing covid-19 caseload is a state that has experienced some of the harshest and longest lockdowns and covid restrictions: Michigan.
As of April 20, the seven-day moving average for new covid cases in Michigan was 790 per million. This is higher than any other US state, and it is several times higher than the case rate for Michigan a year ago. It is comparable to what it was at the beginning of cold and flu seasons last fall, when Whitmer issued orders for a new round of business closures.
In other words, if Whitmer were using the same metrics she was using to justify lockdowns in the past, she absolutely would be imposing very strict lockdowns now. Frankly, the case numbers in Michigan are terrible by the standards of those who use case numbers to push more covid restrictions.
At the moment, Michigan is under a partial lockdown, with restaurant capacity at 50 percent and a plethora of rules still in place over the size of domestic dinner parties and backyard barbecues. Mask mandates are everywhere. Yet, in spite of the clear upward trend in cases, Whitmer is resisting calls from the Biden administration and the CDC to force yet another stay-at-home order on the people of Michigan. Whitmer now says that Michigan residents can be trusted to use their own common sense and good judgment:
Policy change alone won’t change the tide…. We need everyone to step up and to take personal responsibility here.
This is certainly the opposite of what she was saying a year ago. Last spring, allowing people to exercise “personal responsibility” was absolutely out of the question, and “policy change” was the most important thing in the world. For Whitmer and the lockdown enthusiasts, lockdowns were synonymous with successful control of the disease, pure and simple. Personal discretion on the part of ordinary citizens was absolutely not to be tolerated.
Indeed, during much of 2020, Whitmer appeared to delight in lambasting violators of her many decrees, and lecturing Michigan taxpayers almost daily about the need to stay home and avoid all travel. To not heed her words, the narrative went, was to “kill grandma.”
So why has she changed her tune? The fact is, public attitudes about covid are rapidly changing, and Whitmer wants to stay in office. After all, this was never “about the science.” This was about governors giving the mob what it wanted…
Among the more committed government officials, like Fauci, the story remains unchanged: it is gospel that lockdowns reduce covid cases and covid deaths. Yet this assumption has proven to be based on no actual evidence, and as we look around the country, we see that states with the strictest lockdowns often have some of the worst outbreaks of covid.
For example, let’s look at covid case numbers as of April 20. In Texas, the total new cases (seven-day moving average) on April 20 was 3,004. That comes out to approximately 103 per million.
Now, let’s look at Michigan, where a variety of strict mask mandates and partial lockdowns continue. In Michigan, the seven-day moving average for new infections as of April 20 was nearly eight times worse than in Texas.
It has also consistently been the case that many states with strict and long-lasting lockdowns—e.g., New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts—have fared the worst when it comes to covid cases and deaths. It’s easy to see this data and come away with a very plausible conclusion: lockdowns and covid deaths aren’t actually correlated very much at all.