Why is Quillette, which positions itself as a pro-free speech classically liberal publication and supported by classically-minded liberals, moderates, and libertarian-leaning conservatives, so pro-quarantine and pro-shutdown? Are quarantines and shutdowns compatible with classical liberalism? That seems to have more of an authoritarian vibe to it. The consequentlist argument however can be invoked that the suspension of individual rights in the short-term is needed to maintain it in the long-run. Having a bunch of people die of a virus means more total human suffering, versus fewer deaths but more inconvenience.
Quillette risks its credibly by publishing articles that make basic logical and factual errors and assumptions.
Here is a recent example:
Denmark’s Weapons Against COVID-19: Early Action, High Trust—and a No-Nonsense Queen
Corona is like the literal affluenza judging by how these wealthy, tiny countries have been hit so hard on a per-capita basis. Being wealthy and liberal is a major risk factor it would seem.
The first confirmed case in Denmark was on February 27th. Within eight days, Frederiksen had restricted all gatherings to a maximum of 1,000 people, which meant cancelling a number of highly anticipated sports and music events. (The 1980s-era band Simple Minds, having sold 1,500 tickets to a 40th anniversary show, split its local crowd in half, and generously played two separate concerts.) On March 11th, the number permitted to gather was cut to 100; and on March 18th, it went down to 10. Libraries, museums, gyms, and state churches were closed. Few cared about the churches, but there was a great deal of anguish about the gyms.
The premise of this article be refuted as easily as going to worldometers.info and looking at the case data. The US, which is criticized by the likes of Quillette for not being aggressive enough and or acting too late, has the SAME per-capita infection rate as Denmark, at around 440/1 million people as of 3/30/2020, although a shortage of tests in the US may also play a role too . Although Denmark saw a dip from as many as 200 cases/day on March 10th to as few as 40/day a week later, it has now climbed back to 200/day.
So why haven’t these preventive measures, such as closing large events (sometimes also known as social distancing), not worked that well, whether in Denmark or elsewhere? The likely reason is, as I speculate in my 4-part series on social distancing, is that that radius of Covid19 exposure is small, around 6 feet for a carrier. So whether an individual in a large crowd or a small one makes little difference provided there are the same number of people in the 6-foot radius. This is demonstrated by the empirical evidence in Denmark that reducing maximum crowd size from 1000 to 10 did not help. The only thing that would help is keeping everyone separated, like eggs in a carton, but few would voluntarily submit to such extreme measures in a democratic society.