The extraordinary shutdown, if continued, will have harmful consequences that go far beyond the economy. A short period of decisive action to buy time to prepare may be prudent. But ongoing measures of mass mobilization are likely to do severe damage to our society.
The Wall Street Journal editorial “Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown” warns of the economic consequences of a prolonged lockdown. We could be heading toward a drastic decline in GDP. This will dislocate the lives of tens of millions and exact human costs, not just economic ones. Already, federal officials are gearing up to spend one trillion dollars. Central banks have committed nearly two trillion dollars to stabilize markets. These extraordinary measures indicate how perilous the situation has become.