The ZeroCovid Movement: Cult Dressed as Science

The ZeroCovid Movement: Cult Dressed as Science by Jenin Younes for American Institute for Economic Research

This past year has given rise to some strange and novel methods of disease containment, including lockdowns and mask mandates. It is unsurprising that the natural next step in this progression has been the development of a movement known as “ZeroCovid.” Its growing influence is, perhaps, predictable given that for nearly a year we have been inundated by the views of so-called experts seeking to legitimize their myopic worldview that public health is determined solely by prevention of Covid-19.

Rather than acknowledge to a weary public that their approach has been a failure, they are doubling down and attempting to save their reputations by claiming that the problem is not that lockdowns do not work, but that they have not gone far enough.

There is, apparently, some diversity of opinion among the ZeroCovid crowd as to whether the term is to be interpreted literally, as some of its most impassioned and vocal proponents argue, or whether it simply means a more extreme version of the ideology that has dominated societies around the globe for the past year: the belief that suppressing the coronavirus is a singularly important goal, to replace all others and to be pursued with no or only minimal consideration of the effects of doing so.

ZeroCovid promoters appear to agree that much stricter border controls, lockdowns, and mask mandates are needed than exist in most nations today. Sam Bowman, one of the most prominent ZeroCoviders, claims for instance that the only way to address the coronavirus problem is with “lockdowns, school closures, travel bans, mass testing, contact tracing, and masks.” Likewise, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair’s think-tank has stated that the only way to avoid another lockdown is to bring coronavirus cases to zero. China, Australia and New Zealand are portrayed as successesby ZeroCovid proponents, and prove that suffering now brings with it the promise of eventual freedom.

While marketing themselves as theoretically opposed to lockdowns, ZeroCovid adherents actually aspire to implement a totalitarian-style state, which we are supposed to believe will exist only temporarily. For example, Devi Sridhar, one of the movement’s most public faces in the United Kingdom, has claimed that the only way out of endless lockdown is a “crude, harsh, catastrophic lockdown” now, the first phase. Given that the third phase of Sridhar’s plan entails an “East Asian and Pacific model of elimination” that prohibits travel abroad, I can only imagine precisely what sort of totalitarian nightmare Sridhar envisions during phase one.

Those who follow this philosophy fail to recognize the glaringly obvious truth that suppression tactics have not succeeded because they run contrary to human nature (as well as basic cell biology) and entail severe deprivations of human rights and liberties. They also do not acknowledge the fact that if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) managed to eliminate the coronavirus (a questionable assumption given the CCP’s tenuous relationship with the truth), it did so using tactics that prima facie constitute human rights violations.

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