The State Has Seized Many New Powers. It Won’t Let Go of Them Easily.

by Andrei Znamenski

“Restaurants sit empty in Chinatowns. Parents keep children home from school in Toronto. Asian hotels and airlines reel at dramatic drops in bookings. Just as the media recently gave us a new and particularly intimate experience of war, we’re now getting a new and particularly fearsome experience of a public health crisis….It is one of a large number of viruses that suddenly infect the human population….Given what’s happened thus far, the appropriate response is to pursue targeted and aggressive public health measures, while the 99.9% of us not conceivably at risk go on with our lives. This is where China’s shocking cover-up has proven so costly. In any viral outbreak, early identification and containment is essential.” If you think that this is the news from the trenches of the unfolding coronavirus warfare, you will be mistaken. This is an excerpt from a 2003 Wall Street Journal article by David Baltimore, one of the leading American epidemiologists and a Nobel laurate.1 His paper deals with the contemporary SARS epidemic (who remembers it now?) and the short-term panic it unleashed.2

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