COVID-19 lockdowns must end for the sake of our overall health

Outside a store in Wisconsin earlier this month

By John Ruberry

Who else besides me is fed up wearing a mask when shopping at a supermarket?

Or at work?

Or a restaurant? 

I haven’t eaten inside an Illinois restaurant–or in a tent–since Governor JB Pritzker instituted his first lockdown in March. I’ve picked up take-out meals only.

Who has had enough of lockdowns?

As a person with a strong libertarian bent I don’t like being bossed around, pestered, or nagged. 

But I’ve been coping with all of that for months. 

I know ten people who’ve contracted COVID-19. Only two of them told me they were very ill. Two were asymptomatic. All of them are still with us–in fact, they’ve all returned to their jobs as if nothing happened. 

Last month the Centers for Disease Control released the survival rates for those who have contracted COVID-19.

  • Age 0-19 — 99.997%
  • Age 20-49 — 99.98%
  • Age 50-69 — 99.5%
  • Age 70+ — 94.6%

So if you are over 70, and most people already know that seniors are more prone to death from COVID-19 than everyone else, you have a 94.6 percent of surviving. President Trump is one of those septuagenarians who has recovered. Yes, COVID-19 is serious, because those stats also say those 70 and over have a slightly higher than 5 percent chance of dying from it. 

Here’s another situation where that percentage, 94 percent, comes in to play. Nearly two months ago the CDC said of those deaths from the novel coronavirus, 94 percent had “multiple chronic conditions.” In other words, they were already unhealthy. Every death is tragic. But part of life is getting sick, getting injured, getting old, and yes, passing away. You can fool, perhaps, your neighbors or co-workers about your true age with hair dye and plastic surgery, but never can you hoodwink Father Time. 

Humans are intensely social animals, as are all primates. It’s in our genetic makeup. The most watched television shows and movies are centered on personal interactions. One of the most popular TV programs ever aired is “Friends.” There is not a show entitled “Hermits,” there is no interest in producing such a program because few people would want to watch it. 

The death rate from COVID-19 is very low for the very young. Yet many of our schools are closed except for cold and impersonal Zoom sessions.

Usually our first and most lasting impressions with others of our species is by way of their faces. But the mask requirements in many states, especially blue ones like mine, take those connections away from us.

The lockdowns have led to an increase in drug overdoses and possibly suicides. Among young people, the CDC says, the death rate for young people is higher for overdoses and suicides than for COVID 19.

That wave just might be beginning. For instance, Chicago, which is just south of where I live, just instated another curfew because of an uptick in COVID cases. All businesses deemed non-essential for the next two weeks must close between 10pm and 6am. Bars and restaurants, already reeling from being closed down this spring, will be hit especially hard. Some of these businesses, especially those struck by looting this summer, will never re-open. Which means of course more people will be prone to suicide and drug and alcohol abuse. The workforce in the food and beverage industry is disproportionately young.

Mrs. Marathon Pundit was an early victim of the COVID-19 lockout layoffs. She’s fine–she has a new job in a different field. But her former boss was forced to downsize his business, which I believe his home mortgage was tied into. He sold his home this summer and moved into a much smaller residence.

There are millions of former business owners facing similar situations across America. And not all workers, such as Mrs. Marathon Pundit, will be able to land on their feet. 

One “fix” to the drop in revenue for brick-and-mortar restaurants is to set up plastic tents next to them. Diners instead of eating indoors will be eating, sort of, outdoors in these tents, but still breathing each other’s air. Alongside them in cold weather climates, in the winter, will be space heaters, which are a well-known fire hazard. 

Follow the science. 

Take a deep breath before reading this next paragraph.

Based on my current age, overall health, and family history, I’ll probably live another 25-years. I do not want to spend those years wearing a mask. I don’t want to go running outdoors–and this really happened–as I run 50 yards past a couple who, in horror, hurriedly put their masks over their faces as I move, maskless, down the street that I live on as if I am Typhoid Mary. According to federal government data, there have been 624 positive cases of COVID-19 in the town I live in, Morton Grove, which has a population of 23,000.

Who frightened that Morton Grove couple? Not me, well not initially that is.

Will the mask mandates return–if they ever go away–when a more virulent than usual strain of the flu strikes?

Follow the science. 

This is not a distress from me call but instead a call for action. For the sake of our overall health–while maintaining strict safety controls in places such as senior homes and hospitals–these lockdowns must end. But I suspect many politicians–such as Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago–don’t want the lockdowns to end. They are too in love with power. Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker told us we needed the lockdowns to “flatten the curve” in the spring so hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Now they want to prevent all of us getting sick, which as we know is not possible.

The goalposts keep moving.

Years ago I read in a book about marathon training that stated that distance running, all things being equal, does indeed lead to a longer life expectancy. But more importantly, those extra years on this planet for runners usually mean they are enjoyable years. Who is going to sign up for an additional ten years of life if those years will consist of living in a nursing home in need of 24-hour care?

The quality of life for myself and millions of others is diminished because we are ordered to wear masks and to avoid each other.

End the lockdowns.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Tariffs on Cruise Lines?

The Pride of America, the only US flagged cruise ship, in Hawaii. Image from Wikipedia.

Cruise ships haven’t had good news in 2020. Many of the first COVID patients in the US, including the people in my area, caught the disease while onboard a cruise vessel. Then cruise lines wanted federal money under the CARES act, even though they aren’t incorporated in the United States, and thus don’t pay US taxes. Combined with the difficulty in cleaning a ship while underway, and cruise lines are facing a difficult return to normal. If stock price is any indication, Carnival Cruise line plummeted from 50 dollars a share in January to almost 8 dollars in April, and is currently sitting around 17 dollars.

Cruise lines have found unique ways to evade US laws and taxes. All but one cruise ship is flagged outside the United States. The flag of the cruise ship allows it to sail in international waters, and dictates what sort of domestic laws apply while onboard. Most cruise ships are flagged in Liberia, Bahamas or Panama. Each of these nations have weak labor laws with limited ability to enforce them. Cruise lines don’t have a minimum wage and get away with significantly lower safety standards. Worse still, if a crime is committed onboard, its notoriously hard to prosecute. A study from the University of Florida found that:

The Cruise Line International Association claims that cruise ships are inherently secure because ships offer a controlled environment with limited access. “However, there has been some startling statistics between 2003 and 2005: 24 people were reported missing and 178 people reported a claim against sexual assault. Additionally, the FBI has opened investigations on 305 cruise-based crimes, from 2000-2005” (Porter, 2006, p.597). The CLIA compares these statistics to U.S. crime rates and harps on being the safest form of transportation and inherently secure. They fail however, to examine the context to which these statistics apply.

Given that Americans make up nearly 75% of cruise line passengers, it seems unfair to have Americans financing a system that is exploiting workers and dodging taxes. The tax dodging makes it easy to undercut any US company trying to start a competitive cruise line. Given the negative attention on cruise lines, its probably time for President Trump to threaten tariffs on the cruise industry.

Cruise ships pay a docking fee and port tariff, based on tonnage, when they dock in a US port. An easy way to encourage better behavior is to raise the port tariffs on non-US flagged vessels, as well as providing a discounted tariff to cruise lines that voluntarily follow US employment and criminal laws. You could have a high tariff, with a discount if the ship pays minimum wages, and a further discount if they follow proper US criminal proceedings. The result is a carrot and stick approach, either getting more money from the industry or enforcing better behavior on the part of the cruise line. Given that cruise lines are struggling, now is the time to negotiate a better deal.

Cruise lines have benefited from America for years under flags of convenience. Perhaps its time they follow the same rules the rest of the United States does.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Five One Liners Under Other Bloggers Fedoras Instapundit, Right Wing Granny, Fisherville Mike, Adrinenne’s Corner and The Lid

IF I WERE THE GOP, I’D JUST RUN CLIPS OF THE DNC DURING THE RNC:

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit:

Nothing hurts the Democrats more than people seeing them as they are


Sudan (and the other Arab countries) have to make a choice–do they want to submit to Iran or make peace with Israel and remain as independent countries? 

From Right Wing Granny:

The very idea that Sudan is even considering peace with Israel is completely surreal.


But instead of watching sports in June and July, TV viewers watched Fox News.

From Fisherville Mike

I can’t wait till the next round of negotiations for TV contracts for the four major sports takes place.


This is not how we’re supposed to live.

From Adrienne’s Corner

The more I’ve seen of Americans submitting to the mask lie the less I’ve been confused as to how people fell for Communism and Fascism in the 20th century.


It’s not racist to insist that everyone learn to use the same language, it is racist to say that one group doesn’t have the brains to learn the same language as everyone else.

From The Lid

I’m old enough to remember when it was only white supremacists who insisted Black Americans were incapable of achieving at the level of others.

(fyi He’s always be the Yid with Lid to me)