The Pernicious Folly of Pursuing Zero Covid – Areo

The objections to the new CDC guidance reflect the new, egalitarian medical ethics that some want to impose on us. We are told that, despite the undeniable achievements of science and medicine, COVID is not universally manageable and, until no one remains vulnerable to it, the pandemic can never be declared over. Certain health-policy advocates demand a world where no one gets seriously ill, dies or suffers long-term harm because of COVID. They paint vivid pictures of the consequences of catching Covid for the most vulnerable among us, and they urge the rest of us to continue to make sacrifices to shelter the vulnerable from this fate. In doing so, they are forgetting that there have always been and will always be medically vulnerable people among us—people for whom even an ordinary common cold could mean a dire prognosis. And doctors have always counselled them, and those who deal with them directly, to take special precautions, rather than expecting the rest of the world to make extravagant adjustments to their circumstances. This prescription for society is not only unrealistic but disregards the achievements of those who were responsible for developing the tools we all rely upon, while unjustly scorning those of us who seek to resume our social and professional lives, pursue our values and flourish.

When an individual decides to live in society among other humans, there will always be a risk of respiratory (and other) pathogen transmission. We implicitly agree to assume that risk when we voluntarily interact with each other and when we choose to live in cities, towns or villages. While those who are overtly contagious are advised to refrain from social contact, many respiratory viruses have mild or unapparent symptoms, making it impossible to know who may be contagious at any given time.

When it comes to COVID and future communicable disease threats, what we need is a fully informed approach that permits each of us to pursue our long-term rational self-interest, respect the individual rights of others and calculate our own risk, in accordance with our own unique level of risk tolerance.

The Pernicious Folly of Pursuing Zero Covid – Areo