Monday, October 26, 2020

Lakers Fans, Global Bureaucrats Oppose Lockdowns

Lakers Fans, Global Bureaucrats Oppose Lockdowns

Fans celebrate near the Staples Center after the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship on Sunday.


Dylan Stewart/Zuma Press

As Covid-19 fatality rates fall, a growing world-wide coalition is rejecting Covid-19 mandates imposed by governments. On Sunday night thousands gathered in Los Angeles neither to pray nor to protest, but simply to salute their favorite basketball team and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow fans.

Josh Peter reports in USA Today:

Fireworks exploded.

Horns blared…

It has been a decade since the Los Angeles Lakers won their last championship, but their fans haven’t forgotten how to party.

Thousands spilled into the streets near Staples Center on Sunday night, and the festivities began shortly after the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 and captured their first NBA title since 2010 and 17th overall.

Some revelers wore masks, others did not. The young people who comprised most of the crowd have likely figured out by now that they face little risk of Covid mortality and the goal is to avoid infecting the vulnerable, primarily the elderly.

Last week this column noted the thousands of medical professionals and researchers who have signed the Great Barrington Declaration, which says that simple “hygiene measures, such as hand washing and staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone to reduce the herd immunity threshold.” But the declaration does not rule out attendance at “sport and other cultural activities” and does not call for mask mandates.

This column would like to call Sunday’s celebration in Los Angeles mostly peaceful, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reports:

Seventy-six people were arrested and more than 30 buildings and businesses were damaged when a downtown celebration turned chaotic after the Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th National Basketball Association championship, police said Monday…

Eight officers were treated for injuries and three members of the crowd were taken to hospitals… The celebration by about 1,000 people was initially largely peaceful but “unruly individuals” mixed into the crowd and threw glass, bottles, rocks and other projectiles at officers, police said.

Most of the individuals at Sunday’s celebration remained ruly, and a growing global coalition of the ruly is thinking that extreme restrictions on liberty are not sustainable.

The Journal’s Drew Hinshaw reports that public-health experts—and what would we do without them?—are increasingly “worried that the general public won’t cooperate with another monthslong, generalized lockdown against a disease whose transmission is now much better understood.” In this instance the experts are right. Mr. Hinshaw reports on the current view of the World Health Organization:

“What we want to try and avoid, and sometimes it’s unavoidable, we accept that, but what we want to try to avoid are these massive lockdowns that are so punishing to communities, to societies and everything else,” Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO health emergencies program, told reporters on Friday.

This represents great progress for Dr. Ryan and his colleagues at the WHO, which is a politicized agency of the United Nations. A June editorial in the Journal noted the WHO’s failure to quickly sound the alarm during the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup of the early spread of infection.

Given the history, this column’s most celebrated alumnus would likely warn against an appeal to the authority of the WHO. But if even the global public-health bureaucracy is taking a harder line against ruinous lockdowns, more politicians may soon be ready to allow liberty and personal responsibility. Lakers fans won’t be the only ones cheering.


Mr. Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China and American Revival.”


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Mr. Freeman is also the co-author of “Borrowed Time.”

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