As the Covid-19 epidemic burns through the US and Europe, the cynics who initially rejected calls for a global lockdown, arguing that “the cure mustn’t be worse than the disease”, are slowly losing their voice.

The poster child for this lobby is US president Donald Trump. In early March he dismissed calls for a US lockdown, saying the country doesn’t shut down for seasonal flu (which kills 37,000 Americans every year), so why do it for a virus that had caused just 22 deaths at that stage?..

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