Jackson's 11 p.m to 5 a.m. curfew to curtail COVID-19 infringes on our liberty and makes no medical sense. There is no evidence that such curfews have any effect on the spread of disease (see below.)
First of all, by limiting when people can shop, the curfew will have the opposite effect, forcing more people into stores during fewer hours. This is just common sense.
Second, driving in a car late at night has zero impact on the transmission of disease. There are many reasons a person may need to travel late at night, for instance, to check on an elderly family member during an emergency.
Third, out of hundreds of Mississippi municipalities, only a handful have imposed curfews.
Fourth, there is no medical evidence that a curfew would have any impact on the spread of COVID-19.
Take for instance, a recent study by the National Academy of Sciences, a private organization of experts chartered by the United States Congress.
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The Institute of Medicine held a workshop of leading experts and produced a publication from these workshops titled, Ethical and Legal Considerations in Mitigating Pandemic Disease. The panel of six included four PhDs from the Center of Disease Control.
Regarding social distancing, the experts concluded:
“Societies faced with pandemics have often closed public places (schools, childcare, workplaces, mass transit) and canceled public events (sports, arts, conferences). As fear rises, the public itself may shun public gatherings. Predicting the effect of policies to increase social distance is difficult, as infected persons and their contacts may be displaced into other settings, and individuals may voluntarily separate in response to perceived risk. For these reasons, additional research needs to be conducted on behavior during epidemics and the effects of social distancing on transmission.
Social separation, particularly for long durations, can cause loneliness and emotional detachment, disrupt social and economic life, and infringe individual rights. Community restrictions raise profound questions about the government’s right to interfere in such areas as faith (by, for instance, limiting religious gatherings), family (with, for example, restrictions on funeral attendance), and protection of the vulnerable (e.g., by making it more difficult to visit vulnerable individuals and provide them with food, water, clothing or medical care).
One fear is that governments might put into effect restrictions on personal liberties that are unnecessary — implementing restrictions before they are needed, extending them past the end of the crisis, or enacting restrictions that do nothing to decrease influenza transmission. In such situations, closings would not meet the appropriate standards for either necessity or proportionality. Furthermore, it is important to remember that the cost of restrictive policies will be borne most heavily by those with the fewest resources, so errant social-distancing actions have distributive-justice implications. A final worry is that governments might use social distancing in a discriminatory fashion, scapegoating ethnic or religious minorities, or that governments might use social distancing as a pretext to crack down on dissidents who assemble to protest.”